The Commerce Department Monday morning reported a 2.7% rise in sales of new single-family homes in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 464,000, still 33.1% below the same month last year. Analysts on Wall Street were expecting an annualized sales rate of 450,000.
The announcement came on top of the National Association of Realtors report on Friday of a 5.5% increase in existing home sales for September that was also driven by strong gains in the West region. However, the September new home numbers were measured against an 11.5% reported decline in sales from July to August, and the August sales figure was revised downward from an annual pace of 460,000 to 452,000.
Prices fell to levels not seen since the fall of 2004. The median sales price of new houses fell to $218,400 from $220,400 in August. The average price dropped to $275,500 from $264,100.
Inventory fell 7.3% to 394,000, a 10.4-month supply at the current sales rate, down from 11.4 months in August. Inventory was down 25.4% in September compared to the same month last year.
Regionally, the West drove the national increase with a month-to-month gain of 22.7%, but the region remains down 37.9% from year ago levels. The Northeast was down 21.4% month-to-month and 65.1% year-over year. The South was up marginally by 0.7% but remains down 23.8% from a year ago. And the Midwest was down 5.8% and 37.5% respectively.