Sales of new single-family homes rose by 2.7% in September from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 464,000 units but the median price of a house fell to the lowest level in four years — $218,400, according to new government figures.

On the surface the sales figure looks promising but the comparison is to the prior month.

Compared to the same month a year ago new home sales are down a stunning 33%. The Northeast and Western regions suffered the most with declines of 65.1%, and 37.9%, respectively, compared to September 2007.

The median price of a new home sold in September declined by 9.1% from the year ago. Meanwhile, the inventory of unsold existing homes remains near historic highs thanks to the huge increase in foreclosures.

Subscribe Now

Access to a full range of industry content, analysis and expert commentary.

30-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Access coverage of the securitization marketplace, including breaking news updated throughout the day.