Sales of new one-family houses in September 2008 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 464,000, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This is 2.7 percent above the revised August rate of 452,000, but 33.1 percent below the September 2007 estimate of 694,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in September 2008 was $218,400; the average sales price was $275,500.
The median price of a new home decreased by 9.1 percent from a year earlier, to $218,400--the lowest since September 2004. Sales were down 33 percent from September 2007, the Commerce report showed.
``Builders are seeing the light,' Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com said in a Bloomberg Television interview. ``They are cutting prices more aggressively.' Still, ``there may be more cancellations than normal in September.'
On a positive note, builders cut inventories at a record pace. The number of homes for sale fell to a seasonally adjusted 394,000, the fewest since June 2004. The 7.3 percent decline from August was the biggest since record keeping-began in 1963.
The supply of homes at the current sales rate fell to 10.4 months' worth from 11.4 months. A five to six months' supply is often cited as signaling a stable market.
New residential sales data for October will be released Nov. 26 at www.census.gov/newhomesales.