Sales of newly built single-family homes fell 3.6 percent from August to September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 402,000, a 7.8 percent decline from a year ago, the Census Bureau said today.

It was the first month-over-month decline in new-home sales since March, although builders were still able to chip away at the inventory of new homes on the market, which fell 4 percent from August to a seasonally adjusted 251,000 units.

That represented 7.5 months of supply — unchanged from August, thanks to the slower pace of sales — down from a recent peak of 12.4 months in January, when there were 340,000 new homes for sale. Housing analysts consider six months of supply to be a healthier balance between supply and demand.

At $204,800, the median sales price of new homes sold in September was down 9 percent from a year ago.


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