August 26th, 2009
10:18 AM ET

Financial Dispatch: New home sales soar

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

There are new signs today that a modest economic recovery may be starting to take shape.

Sales of newly constructed homes jumped unexpectedly in July to the highest level since last September.

New homes sold at an annualized rate of 433,000 during the month, up 9.6% from June. The news follows other positive housing market reports earlier this month, including spikes in existing home sales, home prices and affordability.

Economists point to low mortgage rates, big price reductions and a first-time homebuyer tax credit as catalysts for the real estate rebound.

(Check the latest home prices in your city by clicking here.)

Durable goods orders surge

New orders for long-lasting manufactured goods recorded their biggest gain in two years in July, buoyed by a surge in aircraft orders.

Durable goods orders jumped 4.9%, the largest advance since July 2007, after falling by a revised 1.3% in June.

Orders for transportation equipment, which rose more than18%, drove the overall increase. Excluding transportation, orders rose 0.8%. That was the third straight increase, but just below analysts' expectations.

Nearly 700,000 ‘clunkers’ permanently parked

The final numbers are now in on just how many “clunkers” are headed for the scrap heap.

The Department of Transportation says that nearly 700,000 old cars and trucks were traded in for new ones under the “Cash for Clunkers” program. Shoppers had until 8 p.m. ET Monday to buy a car under the program and dealers were given until 8 p.m. Tuesday to file their paperwork on-line to request a government voucher.

Auto dealers submitted total of 690,114 requests for vouchers, said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Those requests totaled about $2.9 billion, or just under the $3 billion that had been allocated for the program.

Under “Clunkers,” which launched July 27, vehicles purchased after July 1 were eligible for refund vouchers worth $3,500 to $4,500 on trade-in cars and trucks with a fuel economy rating of 18 miles per gallon or less.

Toyota sold the most vehicles under the program, the DOT said, with more than 19% of all “Clunker” sales. General Motors was second with just under 18% and Ford was third with about 14 of sales.

Among the most popular vehicles purchased under the program were the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Ford Escape, Nissan Versa and Hyundai Elantra.

The most traded-in vehicles included the Ford Explorer SUV, Ford F-150 pick-up and the Dodge Grand Caravan minivan.

Follow the money… on Twitter: @AndrewTorganCNN

Filed under: Economy
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Annie Kate

    I can believe that the Ford Explorer SUV was the most traded in vehicle – we had one for a while and its mileage was DISMAL. I hated that car with a passion every time we stopped at a gas station which seemed to be constantly. Glad a lot of them are gone now.

    August 26, 2009 at 3:00 pm |