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Local, state home sales rise while U.S. sales fall

MANATEE — Sales of existing single-family homes and condominium units continued to climb in February, according to figures released today.

Realtors closed 747 sales of single-family homes in the Sarasota-Bradenton market last month, a 32-percent increase from the same month in 2009, Florida Realtors said in its monthly sales report.

The median price was $154,500, up 7 percent from $144,000 in February 2009 — the apparent bottom of the three-year housing slump. But last month’s median price was down from January’s $156,700, a sign that the market is still treading the bottom.

Local Realtors also closed 258 condo sales in February, a 48-percent increase from February 2009’s tally of 174 but only slightly better than January’s reading of 243 sales.

The median sales price continued to rise incrementally, from $137,900 in January to $141,400 last month. It was $120,000 in February 2009.

Statewide, single-family home sales rose by 59 percent while prices slid another 15 percent to a median of $92,200 last month, the statewide Realtors group said.

Nationally, existing home sales fell for the third straight month, the National Association of Realtors said.

Home purchases dropped by 0.6 percent to a an annual rate of 5.02 million units, the lowest level in eight months. The median price declined 1.8 percent from February 2009, the group said.