How can home prices rise as sales sink?

A look at the difference between median, average values

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DEAR BOB: I have been selling homes successfully for about three years. In 2005, I earned over $100,000 in sales commissions. But my earnings in 2006 will be much less due to the slowdown in the home-sales market. However, I'm not making as many sales as last year. As I read the newspapers and real estate trade journals, I'm wondering why the national home sales prices keep going up but the number of home sales is dropping. What is your view on today's home sales market? --Susan R. DEAR SUSAN: You raise very challenging questions. The number of closed sales of houses and condominiums determines home sales volume. In most cities, that number has dropped in 2006 compared to 2005. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. Nobody knows with certainty the reason. The modest rise in mortgage interest rates from the 5 percent to 6 percent range reduced buyer demand. Also, 2005 was a record year for home sales volume so those buyers aren't in today's market. The increase in resale and new-home invent...