Page last updated at 17:53 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

US new home prices at 2004 level

Home for sale in America
New-home sales in the west and south defied a predicted overall-sales drop

New homes in the US changed hands at their lowest price in four years during September, official figures showed.

The median price of a new single-family home was $218,400 (141,870) according to the US Commerce department.

Sales were up 2.7% on the previous month, beating economists' predictions, although total sales for the month were 33% below last year's figures.

The boost follows news of the biggest monthly gain in five years for existing US homes sales in September.


The median price of a new home in September was 9% less than it would have cost last year - and at its lowest level since September 2004 - when house prices were rising rapidly during a five-year housing boom.

The unexpected rise in new home sales followed a 12.6% drop in month-on-month sales in August, after a 3.6% rise in July.

September's sales were actually down 21.4% in the north-east of the US, and 5.8% in the Midwest.

But the overall rise was fuelled by a 22.7% rise in sales in the west and a 0.7% rise in the south.

Meanwhile, the number of unsold new homes, which stood at 394,000 at the end of September, remains near historic highs, bolstered by a large number of US home foreclosures adding more properties to the market.

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