WASHINGTON (Associated Press) – Nationwide, sales of new homes fell 3.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 402,000 from August to September, according to the Commerce Department.

Last month’s decline was the first since March and was off 7.8 percent from a year ago. However, the market has improved 22 percent from its bottom in January.

The median sales price of new homes, $204,800, was down 9.1 percent from September 2008, but up 2.5 percent from August’s $199,900.

Sales declined nearly 11 percent in the West and 10 percent in the South while they remained unchanged in the Northeast and increased 35 percent in the Midwest.