New home sales fall 3.6 percent

October 28, 2009 7:09:52 AM PDT
Sales of new homes dropped unexpectedly last month as the effects of a soon-to-expire tax credit for first-time owners started to wane.

The Commerce Department says sales fell 3.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 402,000 from a downwardly revised 417,000 in August. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected a pace of 440,000.

It was the first decline since March. Sales in September were down 7.8 percent from a year ago.

The median sales price of $204,800 was off 9.1 percent from $225,200 a year earlier, but up 2.5 percent from August's level of $199,900.

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