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Home sales dropped 3.5 pct. in July, hit 2011 low
Third decline in 3 months puts sales pace behind last year's totals, a 13-year low
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' Fewer people bought previously occupied homes for the third time in four months.

The National Association of Realtors says home sales fell 3.5 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.67 million homes. That's far below the 6 million that economists say must be sold to sustain a healthy housing market.

This year's pace is lagging behind last year's total sales. The 4.91 million sold last year were the weakest sales figures in 13 years.

Falling home prices have kept many people from selling their houses and taking new jobs in growing areas. They have also made people feel less wealthy and that has reduced the consumer spending that drives about 70 percent of the U.S. economy.

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