January 25, 2010 6:30 PM

Existing-home sales took nose dive in December

After increasing for three straight months, existing-home sales took a steeper-than-expected dive in December, as spooked first-time homebuyers put the brakes on purchases, fearing that a generous government tax credit would expire at the end of November. It was the greatest monthly decline in 40 years, yet still 15 percent higher than sales in December 2008.

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