Compared to August, the pace of new-home sales rose 2.7 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted rate of 464,000 homes, the Census Bureau said today.

However, activity levels still remain significantly below last year’s, with September 2008’s pace falling 33.1 percent compared to a year ago. Not surprisingly, inventories of new homes remain high, with 394,000 homes available for sale, or 10.4 months of supply at current sales rates. That does represent a reduction of one month from August 2008, though, when builders had 11.4 months worth of new homes ready to sell.

New homes that do sell are taking longer and longer to do so, with these homes sitting on the market a median of 9.1 months after completion. Median new-home sales prices also dipped 1 percent, to $218,400.

Alison Rice is senior editor, online, at BUILDER magazine.