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State of the Union

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National homes sales were up 3.1% in July, which should be cause for celebration, except for the fine print: "At least a third of properties bought in July involved foreclosed homes snapped up at bargain-basement prices or homes sold at a loss by owners who had no alternative, according to the private National Association of Realtors." The distressed sales meant that prices of previously owned home were 7.1% lower in July than a year earlier. [NYT]