The median price of new houses sold in September dropped 9.7 percent and the sales rate fell about 14.2 percent compared to September 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported today.

Sales of new single-family houses in September 2006 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 1.08 million, which is 5.3 percent above the revised August rate. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of September was 557,000. This represents a supply of 6.4 months at the current sales rate.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate is a projection of one month’s sales over a 12-month period, accounting for seasonal fluctuations that can impact sales.

The median sales price of new single-family houses sold in September 2006 was $217,100 and the average sales price was $293,200. The median price fell 9.3 percent from August to September, while the average price dropped 6.6 percent since August and was down 2.1 percent from September 2005 to September 2006.

Regionally, new-home sales dropped 36.6 percent in the Midwest, 13.6 percent in the West, 7.9 percent in the South and 6.6 percent in the Northeast in September compared to September 2005.

Statistics are estimated from sample surveys, the agencies noted, and are subject to sampling variability and nonsampling error including bias and variance from response, nonreporting, and undercoverage.

Changes in seasonally adjusted statistics can show irregular movement. It may take six months to establish a trend for new houses sold, according to the announcement. Preliminary new-home sales figures are subject to revision. The survey is primarily based on a sample of houses selected from building permits. Since a sale is defined as a deposit taken or sales agreement signed, this can occur prior to a permit being issued. On average, the preliminary seasonally adjusted estimate of total sales is revised about 3 percent, the agencies noted.

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