Existing-home sales in North Carolina were higher in January than the year-ago figures, but slower than the pace set in December 2003, according to statistics compiled by the North Carolina Association of Realtors.

According to NCAR, 5,932 residential units were sold in the first month of 2004, an 11 percent increase over sales in January 2003. Total sales registered $1.07 billion and the cost of an existing home averaged $181,477.

While unit sales were up from those posted a year earlier, they were down sharply from the 7,341 units sold in December 2003. January’s slower pace comes after several back-to-back record-breaking years for the resale market. Last year’s existing-home sales were 16 percent higher than sales reported in 2002, and that year’s sales were 8 percent higher than sales posted in 2001.

Home sales are expected to remain strong in 2004 with the help of continued low mortgage interest rates and a growing economy.

North Carolina Association of Realtors is a state trade association with more than 29,000 members.

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