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LI home sales up 13.4 percent in a year

Home sales in the Northeast rose in February as the economy showed signs of recovery.

The National Association of Realtors also said Tuesday that Northeast sales were 13 percent higher on a year-over-year basis, the biggest improvement in any of the four U.S. regions.

For Long Island, sales in February were 13.4 percent higher than a year ago, said the association, which did not release the actual local sales numbers.

Last year at this time, home sales on the Island were stagnant. Wall Street had recently crashed, the spring house hunting season hadn't arrived and the federal home buyers' tax credit had just been approved.

But with the home buyers' tax credit and interest rates at historic lows, first-time buyers have broken the stalemate here. Many Long Island real estate brokers have been saying sales are up from a year ago, as prices keep falling. Long Island's median home price of $375,400 last month was down 1.8 percent from the $384,200 a year ago and just a slip from January's $377,800, the National Association of Realtors said.

Nationwide, home sales were up 8 percent from February a year ago, without adjusting for seasonal factors.

The improved sales activity in the Northeast region helped drive up prices. The median sales price of $254,700 for an existing home was almost 8 percent higher than February 2009, making the Northeast the sole region to show a price increase from last year. The national median sales price of $165,100 was down almost 2 percent.

Realtors were split on the impact of winter storms that buried the mid-Atlantic states.

From staff and wire reports

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