Ohio-based Real Living, the fifth-largest residential real estate company in the United States, announced that it surpassed its first quarter sales from last year, closing more than $1 billion in sales during the first quarter of 2004.

Harley E. Rouda Jr., CEO and managing partner of Real Living, attributed the firm’s results to low mortgage interest rates in the first quarter and the firm’s robust statewide media buy, which included radio, television, print and billboard advertising that drove consumers to online for-sale homes listings.

“So far in 2004, our Web trends show that consumer traffic to our Web sites is on the increase, which is a great indicator that consumer interest in home buying will continue to be strong into the 2nd quarter and beyond,” Rouda said in a statement.

In related news, the central Ohio chapter of the Public Relations Society of America recently awarded Real Living top honors for its Web site, e-newsletter and intranet.

The company also today announced a partnership with Volpini Realty Group in Poland, Ohio, in an effort to extend market exposure in Mahoning, Trumball and Columbiana counties.

Real Living has 5,000 sales associates and employees, and more than 100 offices in the Midwest and Florida.

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