>The number of vacant homes — including foreclosures, properties for sale and vacation properties — jumped to a record 19.1 million in the first quarter as the recession sapped demand for real estate, the U.S. Census Bureau said in a report Monday. The number of homes that stood unoccupied rose from 18.6 million a year earlier. The U.S. financial crisis and falling prices have shattered the confidence of homebuyers. The percentage of people who said they plan to buy a home in the next six months dropped to a 26-year low in March, according to the Conference Board in New York, Bloomberg reported.
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