October sales of new single-family homes dropped to the lowest annual pace since January 1991, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported today, and fell about 40.1 percent compared to October 2007.

The median price of new single-family homes dropped to the lowest level since September 2004.

Sales hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000 in October — this rate is based on the projection of the monthly sales total over a 12-month period, adjusted to account for typical seasonal fluctuations in sales activity.

The sales rate is off 68.8 percent from a record rate of 1.39 million in July 2005, according to government statistics.

Earlier this week, the National Association of Realtors reported (see Inman News) that sales of U.S. resale homes fell 1.6 percent year-over-year in October, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million, and the median price of U.S. resale homes fell 11.3 percent.

According to the new-home report, the median sales price of new single-family homes sold in October was $218,000, down 17 percent from a record peak of $262,600 in March 2007 and down 7 percent from October 2007.

Regionally, the pace of new-home sales dropped about 44.5 percent in the Midwest, 41.5 percent in the Northeast, 39.7 percent in the West and 38.5 percent in the South in October 2008 compared to the same month last year.

The months’ supply of new single-family homes for sale reached 11.1 months in October, up from 8.6 months in October 2007. This supply level is a projection of the amount of time it would take to sell off all of the for-sale homes on the market in October, based on that month’s sales pace.

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