Housing recovery is looking a lot shakier than expected

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New homes sales fell to a record low in January, extending a two-month slide; both pending and existing home sales were down in the most recent month; home builder sentiment in January fell back to where it was last June, and mortgage applications have fallen three of the past four weeks,

“The data is telling us that it is weaker than we’ve been anticipating,” says Pat Newport, a housing analyst at Global Insight. “What the housing market has needed all along is a better economy.”

Even the optimists never expected a traditional housing recovery with unemployment stubbornly high, the consumer balance sheet still in repair mode and credit conditions stingy, but right now there’s palpable worry about momentum—especially given a string of solid months in mid- to late-2009.

Full story: Housing Recovery Is Looking A Lot Shakier Than Expected – CNBC