Existing-home sales in North Carolina posted another month of double-digit gains in March, rising 20 percent from a year ago, the North Carolina Association of Realtors reported.

According to statistics compiled by NCAR, 12,022 residential units were sold in March, up from 9,984 reported in March 2005.

The average existing-home sales price dipped 1 percent in March to $207,318, compared with $209,421 posted a year earlier.

There were 29,775 residential units sold during the first three months of 2006, up 17 percent from the same period last year.

Brevard (76 percent), Catawba Valley (41 percent) and Jacksonville (48 percent) lead the state in positive growth, posting the strongest year-to-date increase in total sales dollars, which totaled more than $6 billion, according to NCAR. Unlike 2005, which saw the strongest price appreciation along the coast, 2006 is shaping up to be the year of the mountains. The largest year-to-date price appreciation was seen in Brevard, Hendersonville and Haywood County at 26 percent, 21 percent and 18 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, previously hot coastal areas are cooling down in both unit sales and prices.

With more than 36,000 members, the North Carolina Association of Realtors is one of the largest associations in the state.

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