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US Home Prices, Consumer Confidence Fall

An open house sign is displayed in front of a new home being readied for sale in Little Rock, Arkansas, August 22, 2011.
An open house sign is displayed in front of a new home being readied for sale in Little Rock, Arkansas, August 22, 2011.

US consumers concerned about poor job market, possible impact of Europe's debt crisis, and falling home prices U.S. consumer confidence has fallen to the lowest level in more than two years, while home prices have dropped over the past year.

Tuesday's report from the Conference Board shows that in October, U.S. consumers were worried by a poor job market, the possible impact of Europe's debt problems on the American economy, and falling home values.

Economists track consumer attitudes for clues about the consumer spending that drives most U.S. economic activity.  Worried consumers are less likely to spend money on cars, clothing, or homes.

A separate report on home values showed prices in August were down by 3.8 percent from the same month a year earlier.  Severe problems in the housing market played a key role in sparking the financial crisis that began in 2008.  Experts say falling home values are still hampering economic recovery.

With housing problems in mind, President Barack Obama Monday outlined a program to help some troubled homeowners refinance their mortgage loans at lower interest rates.  While re-vamped loans will save some homeowners a lot of money and reduce the chance they will default on mortgages, the program is expected to have a modest impact on the overall economy.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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