The sales pace of new single-family homes rose 6.6 percent in September from a record low in July and August, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Census Bureau announced today.

The agencies estimated that last month’s sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 307,000, up from August’s estimate of 288,000 but down 21.5 percent from September 2009.

Regionally, the West fared the worst in September: the region saw the biggest year-over-year drop, down 33.3 percent to 64,000, and was the only region to see a month-to-month drop, down 9.9 percent.

The South, which made up the bulk of new-home sales at 160,000, saw the sales pace rise a modest 3.2 percent month-to-month, and saw the smallest year-over-year decrease, 16.2 percent.

The Northeast, which had the nation’s smallest share of sales at 30,000, saw sale increase 3.4 percent month-to-month, but drop 18.9 percent year-over-year.

The Midwest accounted for much of the country’s increase in sales from August. The region saw the highest month-to-month increase in September, up 60.6 percent to 53,000. The region also saw the second-biggest year-over-year drop, however, down 20.9 percent.

Unsold inventory was at an eight-month supply at the current sales pace, a 7 percent drop from August but a 3.9 percent increase compared to the September 2009 rate.

The median sales price of new homes rose 1.5 percent month-to-month and 3.3 percent year-over-year in September, to $223,800. The average sales price fell 1.2 percent month-to-month and 11.3 percent year-over-year, to $257,500.

The largest share of homes, 38 percent, sold for between $200,000 and $299,000 in September.

Existing-home sales also rose month-to-month in September, and also experienced a double-digit percentage drop compared to September 2009. The National Association of Realtors attributed the drop to buyers "ramping up" before the original November deadline for the federal homebuyer tax credits last year.

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