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Housing market has a tough month

NEW YORK — Raising some concern that the nation's vibrant housing market, a major driver of the U.S. economy, may be a bubble waiting to burst, all three gauges of housing activity tumbled in January.

Existing home sales, by far the largest slice of the housing pie, fell by 5.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted level of 6 million units, its lowest level since last June, the National Association of Realtors reported.

Suggesting that home builders are growing a little more queasy, housing starts, a forward-looking indicator, fell even further, dropping by 7.9 percent, to a seasonal level of 1.9 million units, the Commerce Department said.

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