Virginia real estate made gains in sales and prices during February from the same month a year ago, the Virginia Association of Realtors reported today.

Closed home sales increased 4.2 percent in February to 7,134, compared to 6,847 for February 2003. So far this year, 14,095 transactions have closed, up 1.4 percent over last year’s 13,896 for the same period.

Thirteen areas of the state reported increases in closed contracts for the month. Areas of greatest increases (more than 10 percent) included Fredericksburg, Greater Piedmont, Prince William, the New River Valley, Staunton/Augusta County, South Central Virginia and Hampton Roads/Peninsula.

The median sales price was $163,858 in February, up 8.7 percent over February 2003’s $150,695. The median is the midpoint, which is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less. The national median existing-home price was $168,100 in February, up 5.7 percent from February 2003 when the median price was $159,000.

“Last month’s average mortgage interest rate was the fourth lowest on record since 1971,” said VAR President Nathan Booth, of Alexandria. “And with our national economists speculating that the market could defy expectations of a slight decline this year, it’s certainly possible that we could see another year that rivals previous record-breakers. Our population continues to grow as the economy recovers, so we’re looking forward to more Virginians becoming homeowners this year.”

With 28,000 members, the Virginia Association of Realtors is the state’s largest individual membership trade association.

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