Durables Down, New Houses Up

New orders for durable goods, generally big-ticket items such as airplanes and appliances that are designed to last at least three years, fell 2.1% in Sept. to $207 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on October 27. Sept.'s decline, a reversal from Aug.'s 3.8% increase and greater than economists generally expected, was in part a product of a strike, since settled, at Boeing Co.'s commercial aviation division.

However, even excluding the transportation category, of which commercial airplanes are a part, new orders for durables were down 1%.

Meanwhile, sales of new single-family homes were rising by 2.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.222 million in Sept., the Commerce Department and the U.S. Department of Hosing and Urban Development jointly reported. The median sales price of new homes sold last month was $215,700; the average sales price was $285,700.

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