Home sales in the Twin Cities, Minn., metro area fell for the third consecutive month in December, taking total 2005 sales down from the previous year, according to the four metro Twin Cities Realtor associations.

December home sales totaled 3,638, down nearly 16 percent from the year-ago figure of 4,327. The 13-county metro median home sales price, however, gained 4.5 percent in December from a year ago, climbing from $219,900 to $229,900.

Although 2005 sales reached their second-highest level on record, the 57,283 closed transactions reported was a decrease of 1.6 percent from the previous year. The median home sales price for the combined 12-month period of 2005 was $228,000, an increase of 6 percent from the previous year.

“Although it is difficult to follow the strongest year ever, housing in 2005 did not disappoint,” said John Broback, president of the Southern Twin Cities Association of Realtors. “Demand and supply have come into better balance and home-price appreciation slowed to a more sustainable pace.”

The four Twin Cities-area Realtor associations are comprised of 20,000 members representing all aspects of the real estate industry. Statistics include single-family detached, condominiums, townhouses and twin homes, based on existing homes sales reported by the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota Inc.

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