Old Furnishings For New Digs

Here's a puzzle: Although sales of new and existing homes soared some 22% between April and September, sales of furniture, appliances, and building supplies--which usually closely echo home purchases--actually slowed.

One explanation proposed by Citibank's Economic Week is that many recent home buyers have been people who just barely managed to qualify for a mortgage with the latest drop in mortgage rates. Such purchasers, say the bank, may not have had much left over to spend on extras. And sluggish income and job growth may be prompting other recent home buyers that do have the wherewithal to hold off until the economic outlook brightens.

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