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Consumer Confidential: Home sales, recliner recall, Monopoly money

Here's your mystically Monday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--Some unexpectedly good news for a change: Sales of new homes jumped 24% in June from the month before, indicating the buyers have gotten over their remorse about the end of a government tax credit and are getting back into the game. That's well ahead of what economists had been expecting and suggests the housing market is gaining some much-needed traction. The lowest mortgage rates ever also appear to finally be encouraging buyers to pull the trigger. On the other hand, still plenty of foreclosures out there.

--Heads up: Portable baby recliners -- sort of like lounge chairs for little ones -- are being recalled after the death of an infant. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says 30,000 Nap Nanny recliners manufactured by Baby Matters are being pulled from the market. A 4-month-old Michigan girl died in a Nap Nanny that was being used inside a crib. She was found hanging over the side of the foam recliner, caught between the Nap Nanny and the crib's bumper. The commission says there have been 22 reports of infants, mostly under 5 months old, falling over the side of the Nap Nanny despite most of the babies being strapped into the harness on the recliner.

--On a significantly lighter note, our friends at Hasbro are giving away free money. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the mother of all modern board games, Monopoly, the game maker will give away the equivalent in real cash of the play money used for wheeling and dealing properties. Quick: How much play money is used for the game? Turns out it's only $20,580, which won't be enough to purchase much real-world real estate and railroads. But it's still a nifty pile of dough. To enter the contest, go to www.monopoly.com and submit a story of 75 words or less telling how you'd spend the winnings. Others will vote on the best story. The deadline to enter is Sept. 2.

-- David Lazarus

 
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