Sales declined 5 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, leaving a record backlog of 528,000 newly built single-family homes that remain unsold. The nation's new-home market cooled significantly in January despite unseasonably warm weather in most of the country, the Commerce Department reported today.
Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisers, said in a statement ``The housing market is coming back to earth,'' and added ``While there is no free-fall, when the big push comes in the spring and buyers see they have some power for the first time in years, there could be some major impacts on prices.''
However, here in the West, sales were up 11.3 percent in January after climbing 6.3 percent in December. Sales declined in the Northeast, Midwest and the South.
Reports said that search engine giant Google is testing a new online payment service that lets buyers use credit cards to pay for goods with a small number of sellers on Google Base. The company said on its Google Base blog that ``We hope this feature will make it even easier for people to use Google Base to post and distribute a wide range of content, whether information for sharing or goods for sale.''
Analysts saw it as stepped-up competition with Internet rivals such as eBay, which operates the PayPal payment service, Google described the test as an expansion of its existing payment system for ads and other products and services.
UBS analyst Ben Schachter said in a note to clients, according to a Bloomberg News report, ``This is a clear shot across PayPal's bow,'' and added ``Through expanding payments, Google may create a significant new revenue stream.''
Software behemoth Microsoft said today that it will sell six versions of the latest edition of its market-dominating operating system, letting consumers to choose which version of Windows Vista will be right for you?
One version, Windows Vista Starter, will be sold in emerging markets. Two versions, Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Enterprise, are designed for business customers.
Windows Vista Ultimate combines business, mobility and home entertainment features into an all-in-one package, and you'll undoubtedly want a brand-new, speedy computer with a 64-bit, dual-core processor for this version. One of three consumer versions, Windows Vista Home Premium, will let users record and play television programming. Windows Vista Home Basic, meanwhile, will provide simplified Web surfing, e-mail and document creation.
Microsoft says on its Web site, ``With Windows Vista Ultimate, you don't have to compromise.''