Beating earlier predictions, Minnesota’s Twin Cities housing market set an all-time record with 56,528 home sales in 2003, up more than 10 percent compared to 2002’s record-breaking 51,212 home sales, according to the Saint Paul Area Association of Realtors.

Median sale price in the 13-county metropolitan area increased 8 percent to $199,900 in 2003.

John Lockner, president of the Saint Paul Area Association of Realtors, noted a 143 percent increase in downtown Saint Paul home sales, the highest sales increase of any other area of the Twin Cities. Other neighborhoods and cities topping the home sales charts in 2003 include the St. Louis Park (75 percent increase in home sales); Belle Plaine (46 percent); Hopkins (41 percent); University (37 percent) and Phillips (37 percent) neighborhoods in Minneapolis.

Citing three years of record sales volumes, Realtors predicted that low-interest rates and a gradual decline in price increases would make 2004 the second-best year on record.

“A home is the most important purchase of many people’s lives,” said Jerry Koch, president of the North Metro Realtors Association. “The housing market will continue to provide a strong foundation for our economy as other sectors improve in 2004.”

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