Sales of new single‐family houses in September fell 5.5% from August to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 553,000, down 13.2% from the same time last year, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The losses were most pronounced in the Northeast, the region with the smallest new-home market, which plunged 40.6% to a pace of 19,000 sales. Data for that region is notoriously fickle. But the pace in the West was off 12%, with the South off 1.5% and the Midwest up 6.9%.

The median sales price of new houses sold in September 2018 was $320,000, up marginally from August but down from $331,500 a year earlier. The average sales price was $377,200, down from $384,000 in August and $379,300 in September of last year.

The seasonally‐adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of September was 327,000. This represents a supply of 7.1 months at the current sales rate.

Joel Kan, AVP of economic and industry forecasts for the Mortgage Bankers Assocation, analyzed the data.“New home sales in September dropped to its lowest sales pace since December 2016," said Kan. "Additionally, the year-over-year drop ... was the first since August 2017 and the steepest drop since April 2011. Sales activity last month was impacted heavily by declines in the South and West, with Hurricane Florence likely driving the South’s numbers. As far as the West is concerned, we have started to see some moderation in home price appreciation in recent months, and this is a further sign that certain markets may be starting to cool off because of affordability challenges.”