Miami-area home sales hit a five-year high for the month of September, increasing 15.1% from the same month a year earlier as price reductions and low mortgage rates helped sales gains. In September, 8,546 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow, down 11.3% from 9,638 the previous month, but up from 7,427 the same month in 2010. That is the highest level for a September since 2006, when 11,892 homes sold, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. A drop in sales is normal for the season, partly because many families try to close escrow and move before school starts in late summer. On average, sales have fallen 9.5% between August and September since 1997, when DataQuick’s complete Miami-area statistics begin. September’s total sales fell 19.5% below the average September sales tally of 10,621 since 1997. However, if newly built homes are excluded from the sales mix, then the number of homes that closed escrow in September was 9% below average for a September. Although the Miami region’s new-home sales rose 25% in September from a year earlier, they were still the second-lowest on record for that month. In the overall market, the median price paid for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Miami region in September was $130,000, down 1.5% from $132,000 in both August and the same month a year earlier. It was the lowest level for the median since April this year when it was $125,000. The September median stood 55.2% below the peak $290,000 median in June 2007. The Miami metro area encompasses Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties. Cumulative pending home sales in Miami-Dade County rose 11% in September to 11,296 from 10,219 a year earlier, according to the Miami Association of Realtors and the Multiple Listing Service systems. However, in Broward County, cumulative pending home sales fell 0.3% to 7,693 from 7,719 a year earlier, and dropped 3% from the previous month when there were 7,894 pending sales, according to the Broward Council of Miami Association of Realtors and the MLS systems. Write to Justin T. Hilley. Follow him on Twitter @JustinHilley.