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Facebook Inc. says it is launching the newest version of the app Thursday. Rather than add a slew of new features, the company says it rebuilt it from scratch to make it speedier and less clunky.

At a recent demonstration at the company’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, the new app loaded about twice as fast as the older version on the iPhone. Photos and comments also load faster, and users can now “like” comments on photos.

Mobile is Facebook’s biggest challenge as well as its biggest opportunity. That’s where its user base is growing the most, but the company has only recently started showing ads there.

REAL ESTATE

New-home sales rise to match 2-year high

Sales of new homes in the United States rose 3.6 percent in July to match a two-year high reached in May, the latest sign of a steady recovery in the housing market.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that new-home sales reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 372,000. That’s the same as in May, which was the highest since April 2010.

The report is “the latest in a series of data points suggesting a durable housing recovery is underway,” Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist at BTIG LLC, a brokerage firm, said in a note to clients.

In the past 12 months, sales have jumped 25 percent. Still, the increase is from a historically low level. New-home sales remain well below the annual pace of 700,000 that economists consider healthy.

The housing market is making a modest but steady recovery in part because homes are more affordable: Mortgage rates have fallen to near-record lows. Housing prices are about one-third lower than at the peak of the housing bubble in 2006. Those trends have helped lift sales of both new and previously occupied homes.

Sales of previously occupied homes increased in July from June, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. Sales have jumped 10 percent in the past year.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports