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Pittsburgh-area home sales jump in January

| Monday, Feb. 21, 2011

Sales of new and existing homes jumped 8.2 percent in January over the same month last year, indicating a stronger housing market in the region for 2011, according to a new report.

There were 1,474 home sales last month compared to 1,362 a year ago, according to RealStats, a South Side-based company that tracks housing activity in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

"The year-over-year jump is significant because a homebuyer tax credit was in effect one year ago and is not now," said Daniel A. Murrer, RealStats vice president.

With one more business day last month compared to January 2010, the increase was closer to 3 percent, still a healthy sign, Murrer said.

There was a 58.1 percent increase in the sale of newly built houses — 147 last month compared to 93 — while existing house sales were up 4.6 percent, with 1,327 last month vs. 1,269 a year ago.

Average home price also was up, $148,148, compared to $147,496 last January, an increase of 0.4 percent.

Median price was up 8.5 percent, at $115,000 compared to $106,000. The median price is the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less.

NVR Inc., the parent of Ryan Homes, paced the January new construction market with 43 sales, followed by Heartland Homes Inc. with 24. Solara Ventures 4 LLC, with sales at its Otto Milk condominium complex in the Strip District, tied Maronda Homes Inc. for third both with 17.

In January 2010, NVR had 26 sales, with Heartland Homes at 23.

RealStats' figures are based on recorded sales of homes, townhomes, and duplexes, with a price of $10,000 or higher.

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