Florida home sales slowed in the fourth quarter, while prices soared into double-digit territory, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.

A statewide total of 54,633 existing, single-family homes sold during the fourth quarter, down 2 percent from the 55,748 homes sold during the same quarter in 2003.

The statewide median sales price reached $193,200 in the fourth quarter, a 22 percent increase over the median price of $158,900 in fourth quarter 2003, the association reported. For fourth-quarter 1999, the statewide median sales price was $106,700, which marks an increase of 81 percent over the five-year period, FAR records show.

As one of the larger Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the state, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater reported the biggest number of homes sold for the quarter, with a total of 11,215 homes changing hands compared with 10,649 homes sold during the final quarter of 2003, for a 5 percent increase. The median sales price rose 18 percent to $168,500; it was $142,300 in fourth quarter 2003.

Jacksonville, another large MSA, also had strong resales activity in the fourth quarter compared to the previous year, with 3,641 homes sold for an 8 percent gain. The market’s median sales price was $162,800 for the quarter, a 15 percent gain over fourth-quarter 2003.

Among the state’s smaller markets, the Naples MSA posted a 16 percent increase in existing-home sales for the final quarter of last year. A total of 1,046 homes changed hands compared with 901 homes sold during fourth-quarter 2003. The median sales price rose 17 percent to $360,700; it was $307,400 in the final quarter of 2003.

Other smaller markets reporting double-digit gains in resale activity for the final quarter of 2004 include: Pensacola, where 1,551 homes sold for a 20 percent gain; Tallahassee, where 1,058 homes sold for a 20 percent increase; and Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay, where 1,782 homes changed hands for an 18 percent gain. The median sales price in those markets also rose compared to the previous year: in Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay, 32 percent to $180,500; in Pensacola, 20 percent to $141,000; and in Tallahassee, 12 percent to $156,300.

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