Existing home sales rise 5.5% in September, prices fall to lowest since early 2004
* Sales rose 5.5% to 5.18 million units (at a seasonally adjusted annual rate) from 4.91 million in August. That was also up from 5.11 million units a year earlier.
* The inventory of homes for sale dipped 1.6% to 4.266 million units from 4.335 million. The combination of a decline in raw homes for sale and a pickup in sales helped lower the "months supply at current sales pace" indicator of inventory to 9.9 months from 10.6 a month earlier.
* Home prices fell sharply, with the median price of an existing home dropping 9% from a year earlier to $191,600 from $210,500. It was also down 5.7% from August's $203,100. Home prices are now at their lowest level since April 2004 ($186,500).