The Commerce Department says new-home sales fell 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 295,000. That's less than half the roughly 700,000 that economists say must be sold to sustain a healthy housing market.
This year could be the worst for sales since the government began keeping records a half century ago.
New homes represent a fraction of home sales, but they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs and about $90,000 in taxes, according to the National Association of Home Builders.