Prices and sales jumped in December for existing single-family homes in Lee County, according to statistics released today by Florida Realtors.

The median sales price was $92,500, up 3 percent from November’s $89,800. There were 1,322 houses sold, up 29 percent from 1,022 in November.

Sales include only those assisted by a Realtor.

For the entire year of 2010, prices were up 4 percent to $93,700 from 2009’s $90,400. Sales fell 6 percent from 16,260 to 15,207.

Statewide, the number of sales in 2010 was 170,848, up 5 percent from 162,873 in 2009. The median price was $136,500, down 4 percent from $142,500 in 2009.

According to a separate survey released today by the National Association of Realtors, the number of people who bought previously owned homes last year fell to the lowest level in 13 years. But home sales in December jumped to fastest pace in seven months.

The association says sales dropped 4.8 percent to 4.91 million units in 2010. That was slightly lower than 2008, which had been the weakest level since 1997.

Home prices have been depressed by a record number of foreclosures and high unemployment. Many potential buyers held off on purchases last year, fearful that prices hadn’t bottomed out yet.

The poor year for sales ended strong in December. Buyers snapped up homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.28 million units, an increase of 12.8 percent from November and the strongest sales pace since last May.

Still, many economists believe it will take years for sales to rise to a normal level of around 6 million units a year. And some say 2011 will be even weaker than last year because more foreclosures are expected and home prices are likely to keep falling through the first six months of the year.
Story Courtesy Of the Ft. Myers News-Press— The Associated Press contributed to this report.