With existing home sales up 24% in January, the 5th month in a row of year-to-year increased sales activity, 2009 FAR President, Cynthia Shelton, says, “Many people are looking at today’s market and seeing opportunities to find the home or business they’ve always wanted. With a range of available housing options, historically low mortgage interest rates and affordable prices, buyers who may have been hesitant before should take a closer look at the current opportunities for homeownership. As real estate professionals who know all aspects of their local market conditions, Florida Realtors are here to help counsel consumers making sound long-term decisions for their homes and their businesses.” Existing condos had a 13% gain in statewide sales. Inventories, nationwide, fell to a 2-year low. NAR Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, says, “It appears some buyers are taking advantage of much lower home prices. The higher monthly sales gain and falling inventory are steps in the right direction, but buyers will continue to have an edge over sellers for the foreseeable future.” Median (midpoint) sales price for existing homes last month was down 33% from a year ago from $206,900 to $139,500, and NAR attributes the significant downward price distortion to discounted sales, including foreclosures.