The number of people who bought new homes fell for the third straight month. Sales this year are on track to finish as the worst on records dating back half a century.
The Commerce Department says sales of new homes fell nearly 1 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000. That's less than half the 700,000 that economists say represent a healthy market.
Housing remains the weakest part of the economy. Last year was the worst for new-home sales on records dating back a half century.
While new homes represent less than one-fifth of the housing market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs and $90,000 in taxes, according to the National Association of Home Builders.