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Closed sales of single-family existing homes during the month of March 1989 climbed considerably above sales of February 1989 and slightly over one year ago, according to the monthly sales report released by the New York State Association of Realtors.

Across New York State, a total of 4,700 homes were sold during March 1989, while 3,867 were sold in February 1989, reflecting a substantial increase of 21.5 percent in the number of closed transactions. March 1989 closed sales were also up by 1.5 percent compared to the 4,633 sales of one year ago.

As demand for, and sales of homes increased, so did the average price. The average selling price of a home in New York state during March 1989 reached $130,588, climbing 2.7 percent above the $127,133 average last month and increasing 4.9 percent over last March, when the average price of a home was $124,545.

"The increased closed sales is a result of those who went to contract anywhere from 30 to 90 days ago, but closed in March. Therefore, we are talking about buyers who agreed to purchase when interest rates were in the 10.5 percent-10.8 percent range -- buyers who accelerated their decisions to acquire a home before the interest rate increased."

Staro said interest rates have increased steadily since the beginning of the year, rising from 10.5 percent in January to 11 percent in March.

Figures for upstate New York reveal an increase in closed sales as 3,628 sales were reported in March 1989, a 22.4 percent jump over the 2,963 sales during February and 1.5 percent above the 3,573 sales during the same time last year.

The association reported a solid appreciation in upstate homes over the last month and year.

The February to March price increase was 5.2 percent, while the year to year appreciation reached 8.5 percent. An upstate home sold for $114,539 during March 1989; $108,681 during February; and $105,600 one year ago.

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