August sales of new single-family homes fell dramatically from a year ago while the median price dipped at a more modest pace, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

At a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 460,000 units, new-home sales were approximately 11.5 percent below July’s rate and some 34.5 percent below the 702,000-unit pace in August 2007.

The median price of new houses sold in August — $221,900 — dropped 6.1 percent from $236,500 a year ago.

According to the data, the seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of August was 408,000, which represents a supply of 10.9 months at the current sales rate.

A report from the National Association of Realtors Wednesday revealed August sales of existing homes were off 10.7 percent from a year ago to 4.91 million units (seasonally adjusted), while the median home price declined 9.5 percent to $203,100. The supply of existing homes for sale at the end of August was reportedly 10.4 months.

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