By
updated 10/26/2011 10:17:11 AM ET 2011-10-26T14:17:11

Sales of new U.S. homes rose in September after four straight monthly declines, largely because builders cut their prices.

The Commerce Department says sales rose 5.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 313,000 homes. Still, that's less than half the 700,000 economists say must be sold to sustain a healthy housing market.

The median sales price of a new home fell 3.1 percent to $204,400 — the lowest since October 2010. The number of new homes on the market was unchanged at 163,000, a record low.

Sales of new homes fell for four straight months before September and hit a six-month low in August. This year could be the worst year for sales since the government began keeping records a half century ago.

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