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What You Should Know / February 24, 2010

new homes2 -- New-home sales plummeted 11 percent to a record low in January, creating more concern about the hard-hit construction and housing market — and the economic recovery.The Commerce Department says new-home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted 309,000 units in January, the lowest level in almost 50 years.In 2009, new-home sales declined to the previous record low of 374,000, a 23 percent drop from 2007. More than a million homes were sold annually from 2003 to 2006, the Commerce Department said.The decline nationwide has construction officials and economists worried. Economists had expected a 5 percent increase last month compared to December, according to an Associated Press report.

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