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Published: Saturday, 4/28/2007

For 6th straight quarter, home vacancy sets record

The percentage of homes for sale sitting vacant reached a record for the sixth straight quarter in the first three months of 2007.

Some 2.8 percent of houses for sale were unoccupied last quarter, up from 2.7 percent in the final three months of 2006, the Commerce Department said. The rate of homeownership fell to 68.4 percent, the lowest since the third quarter of 2003, from 68.5 percent.

A glut of unsold homes on the market will probably contribute to lower prices in coming months and lengthen a construction slump that s already lasted six quarters, economists said. A report this week showed sales of existing homes in March fell to the lowest level in almost four years.

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