House prices posted double-digit gains in half of the covered metropolitan statistical areas in 2005, but "the overall pace of growth has cooled slightly," according to the National Association of Realtors.The NAR's fourth-quarter metro area home price report shows that 72 of 145 MSAs had double-digit annual increases in median existing-home prices, setting a new record. The previous record was 69 MSAs in the third quarter of 2004. The NAR also reported that the national median resale price stood at $213,000 in the fourth quarter, up 13.6% from $187,500 a year earlier. "Although home sales have eased, the tremendous momentum in price appreciation was sustained in the fourth quarter because tight inventories still favored sellers," NAR chief economist David Lereah said. "The good news is that the supply of homes on the market has been trending up, and we are entering a period of a more normal balance in supply and demand." The NAR can be found on the Web at http:/www./realtor.org.

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