New homes sales increased 6.6% in September to an annual rate of 307,000, but hit a 2010 low. According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development Wednesday, only 24,000 houses sold last month. Year-to-date, 257,000 new homes have been sold, down 11.7% from the same period in 2009. New home sales are down 21.5% from September 2009 and at the lowest level they have been all decade. Market inventory also fell to the lowest level seen year-to-date. As of September, there were 204,000 homes for sale, down 1% from August and down 19% from one year ago. The average price of a home fell to $257,500 last month from $260,500 the month previous. September marked the second lowest average price of 2010. Only the July average price of $248,800 was lower. According to the survey, 38% of homes purchased in September were priced between $200,000 and $300,000 while 21% were priced above that. More homes sold in the South than any other region of the U.S. — a total of 160,000 — followed by the West (64,000 homes ), the Mid-west (53,000) and the Northeast (30,000). Write to Christine Ricciardi.