The rate of new home sales dropped 3.6% from August to September, according to the latest data released jointly by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Census Bureau. Sales of new single-family houses in September 2009 were at a seasonally adjusted rate of 402,000, down from the revised August rate of 417,000 and down 7.8% from the September 2008 rate of 436,000. The median sales price for new homes in September was $204,800, up from $195,200 the previous month. The average was $282,600, up from $256,800 in August. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of September was 251,000, representing a 7.5-month supply of homes at the current monthly sales rate. In August, the national inventory was 262,000, a supply of 7.3 months at last month's sales rate. Write to Austin Kilgore.