ANOTHER DROP: Sales of new homes fell for the third straight month in July. If the pace continues, 2011 could be the worst year for new-home sales on records dating back half a century.

THE NUMBERS: Sales fell nearly 1 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The pace lags behind last year's total sales, which were the fewest on records going back to 1963.

ECONOMIC WOES: Plunging stocks, renewed concerns about job security, and fears of another recession likely weighed on many would-be buyers' minds, analysts said.