Sales of new homes in September rose slightly and hit a six-year high even though purchases in August were not nearly as strong as the government initially reported. New homes sold at an annual rate of 467,000 in September, compared to a revised 466,000 in August, the government said Friday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast sales to fall to a seasonally adjusted 455,000. Previously the Commerce Department had said that new home sales reached 504,000 in August, but the monthly report is notoriously volatile and often subject to sharp revisions. Still, new home sales in September were the highest since July 2008. And sales of new homes are 17% higher now compared to the same month in 2013, a sign that the housing market continues to gradually improve. Sales jumped 12.3% in the Midwest and rose 2% in the South. Sales were flat in the Northeast and they fell 8.9% in the West. The median price of new homes sold sank 8.9% to $259,000 last month, marking the lowest level in a year. The supply of new homes on the U.S. market, meanwhile, was flat at 5.3 months at the current sales pace.
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