Last week in the News – Economic Update!

Compliments of American Home Mortgage Investment Corp.

Sales of new homes slumped 3% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 1.13 million units, the first drop in four months, the Commerce Department reported July 27. Although smaller than the 4.8% decline economists had expected, slackening demand raised the inventory of unsold homes to a record high of 566,000 — a backlog that would take six months to sell. The median price of a new home was $321,300, up just 2.3% from a year ago and down by 1.5% from May.

Meanwhile, sales of existing homes in June dropped 1.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.62 million units. The decline, which matched economists’ predictions, was the eighth in the past 10 months. The median price of an existing home sold last month was $231,000, up just 0.9% from June 2005.

The Federal Reserve Board’s latest survey of economic conditions, referred to as the Beige Book, said the economy logged decent, but slower growth in the early summer, and that overall inflation remained fairly moderate. The Fed will use the Beige Book and other economic reports to determine the future course of interest rates at its next meeting, August 8.

Orders to U.S. factories for large manufactured goods rose 3.1% in June, much better than the 1.7% gain Wall Street watchers had expected. The rebound for durables — goods expected to last three or more years — was powered by strong demand for commercial aircraft.

The labor market remained strong as the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell by 7,000 to 298,000.

This week look for updates on construction spending on August 1 and factory orders on August 3.

San Diego Proven Top Real Estate Pick for 2006

Monday July 24, 6:24 pm ET

SAN DIEGO, July 24 /PRNewswire/ — With 70 miles of pristine white sand beaches, record number of sunny days and multitude of fine culture offerings, real estate analysts say San Diego is the perfect place to purchase vacation property this year. Second-home buyers wanting their own piece of San Diego paradise have made Barratt American’s opulent Seahaus neighborhood in La Jolla, just 15 minutes north of downtown San Diego, into one of the most sought after communities in San Diego’s thriving real estate market.

Citing a long list of qualifications including its proximity to both the coast and mountains, year-round amicable weather and extraordinary cultural and outdoor recreational activities, Escape Homes, the premiere online marketplace for second homes and resort properties, identified San Diego in their 2006 list of top ten places to own a second home.

With dynamic cliffs edging the luminous Pacific, it’s no wonder why La Jolla’s first residents named it “the jewel.”

Home to surfers and college co-eds as well as business moguls and families, La Jolla is just a short drive from downtown and a stone’s throw from the prestigious University of California San Diego. The pedestrian-friendly city boasts beautiful beaches with a plethora of surfing spots, exclusive art galleries, golf courses and fine dining establishments.

Homeowners looking for a luxury home in the ultimate California location have flocked to Seahaus with 131 of the total 138 homes sold. From atop a bluff overlooking the ocean, Seahaus homes take advantage of mesmerizing coastal views through expansive windows in almost every room. The neighborhood incorporates several fountains on beautifully manicured grounds and recreational amenities such as swimming pool, spa, firepit, barbecue grills and fitness center.

When Seahaus debuted, two-story townhomes, large elegant flats, single-level oceanview condominium homes and sprightly loft studios were offered in five distinct product lines: The Studios, The Rowhomes, The Colony, The Cottages and The Breakers, with prices ranging from the $400,000s to more than $1 million.