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Real estate sales grow in Florida

Realtors post 45,768 closed sales in 2003 fourth quarter

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A total of 45,768 existing single-family homes were sold in Florida in the fourth quarter of 2003, a 12 percent increase compared with the final-quarter figure of 40,901 homes in 2002, according to the Florida Association of Realtors. The association attributed the results to a strong housing market along with rising consumer spending, exports and business purchases that boosted the economy in Florida and nationwide during the three-month period. The median sales price in Florida rose 11 percent to $167,700. A year ago the median sales prices was $150,500. Interest rates below 6 percent for most of the quarter prompted renters to buy their first homes and other homeowners to purchase larger residences, the association said in a statement. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.92 percent for quarter, according to Freddie Mac. The Sarasota-Bradenton area reported a double-digit increase in both the number of homes sold and the median sales price for the fourth quarter of 2003...