New home sales rose 5.7% in September thanks to strong purchase activity in the South and West, according to government figures released Wednesday morning.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that sales of newly constructed homes rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 313,000 units in September from a 296,000 rate in August.

Overall, new home sales are off just 1% from a year ago.

However, new homes are still a hard sell for builders. Despite a record low inventory of 163,000 units for sale, the reading represents a 6.2-month supply based on the current run-rate.

Meanwhile, new prices continue to fall, reaching a median of $204,500 in September, compared with $228,000 a year ago.

Overall, new home sales jumped 11% in the South and 10% in the West during the month. On a sequential basis, sales fell 12% in the Midwest and 4% in the Northeast.

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