If previous patterns held, sales of new homes would be seeing a healthy bounce right about now, notes the New York Times. After all, the economy is showing a little life, rates are low, and demand has been pent-up for a while. The reality? Sales of new homes were down a staggering 80% in February from the boom times of 2005, and there's no end in sight. In fact, a fundamental shift might be under way in home shopping.
"Instead of wanting the biggest and the newest, even if it requires a long commute, buyers now demand something smaller, cheaper and, thanks to $4-a-gallon gas, as close to their jobs as possible," writes David Streitfeld. "That often means buying a home out of foreclosure from a bank." The stats confirm: These days, four out of 10 sales of existing homes are either foreclosures or something like it. (Read more home sales stories.)