REAL ESTATE

U.S. home sales

drop in March

Sales of existing U.S. homes fell in March after a huge gain the previous month, held back partly by a sharp slowdown among the most expensive properties.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that home sales fell 4.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million, down from 5.48 million in February. The drop followed an 11.2% gain the previous month, the largest in more than three years.

Home sales are struggling to rebound after slumping in the second half of last year, when a jump in mortgage rates to nearly 5% discouraged many would-be buyers. Spring buying is so far running behind last year's healthy gains: Sales were 5.4% below where they were a year earlier.

 

TECHNOLOGY

New Samsung phone

release put on hold

Samsung is pushing back this week's planned public launch of its highly anticipated folding phone after reports that reviewers' phones were breaking.

The company had been planning to release the Galaxy Fold on Friday. Instead, it says it will run more tests and announce a new launch date in the coming weeks.

Several journalists reported issues with the phones last week while testing review copies. Some said the phone's inside screens stopped working. Others removed an outer plastic layer that was meant to stay on and which protected the screen from scratches.

Samsung says there could be issues when pressure is put on the hinges that open and close the phone. It plans to find ways to better protect the screens.

The Galaxy Fold has a $2,000 price tag.

 

SMALL BUSINESS

Sales decline

in first quarter

The boom market in small businesses is showing signs of cooling.

The number of small business sales counted by online market BizBuySell.com fell 6.5% during the first quarter from the same period of 2018, following a 6% fourth quarter drop. BizBuySell.com reported 2,504 first-quarter transactions, down from 2,678 a year earlier.

Sales remain very strong, and the first-quarter total is close to the record for a January-March period, according to BizBuySell.com, which compiled its results from a survey of brokers who arrange small business transactions. But a number of factors is likely contributing to a slight diminishing of owners' desire to sell and potential buyers' interest in acquiring firms, Jeff Snell, chairman of the trade group International Business Broker Association, said in a statement. Among them: Low unemployment, which indicates that many people are satisfied in their jobs and not looking to switch to entrepreneurship.