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January 25, 2010

CHANGE: December home sales down nearly 17 percent: Home sales plunge nearly 17 percent in December after tax credit deadline extended. “Sales of previously occupied homes took the largest monthly drop in more than 40 years last month, sinking more dramatically than expected after lawmakers gave buyers additional time to use a tax credit.” More dramatically than expected, eh? That keeps happening . . . . Plus this: “Many experts project home prices, which started to rise last summer, will fall again over the winter. That’s because foreclosures make up a larger proportion of sales during the winter months, when fewer sellers choose to put their homes on the market.”

UPDATE: Bill Gates Says Recovery Will Take Years: “Although there have been signs of economic improvement in recent months, as well as a collective sense of optimism in the IT industry that spending could rebound this year, there’s little concrete evidence to indicate that this is anything more than wishful thinking. And if unemployment remains high, the dreaded ‘S’ word — stagflation — could begin to creep into discussions about the economy. Gates said even when the economy does improve the government will have to institute systemic changes in order for any real rebound to take root. “The budget’s very, very out of balance and even as the economy comes back, without changes in tax and entitlement policies, it won’t get back into balance.”

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