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ORLANDO-Existing condominium sales rose 29% in the second quarter from the same period last year, while prices have declined 38% in that time, the Florida Association of Realtors reports. This marks the third consecutive quarter for increased statewide sales.

In the year-to-year quarterly comparison for condo sales, 14,742 units sold statewide between April and June, compared to 11,459 during those same three months in 2008. Yet over that same time period, the statewide median sales price for existing condos fell to $111,100 from $179,800 a year earlier.

Twelve metropolitan areas showed gains in condo sales through the second quarter, Orlando-based FAR reports. Miami, a national focal point for condo sales, posted a 37% increase over the year with 1,758 units sold, though the median price fell by half over the year to $138,700.

Cynthia Shelton, FAR president and director of investment sales with Colliers Arnold in Orlando, points out that an 83% majority of Americans still view homebuying as a good financial decision. “Many homebuyers are realizing that this is the time to buy,” Shelton says.

Affordable pricing, low mortgage rates and a good selection of housing inventory have spurred buyers lately, though solid financing options and government programs are keys to returning stability to the housing market, Shelton says. Examples include the $8,000 federal credit for first-time homebuyers toward down payments or closing costs, along with the Florida Homebuyer Opportunity Program, she says.

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