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Mass. Home Sales Up In July

Sales of single-family home in Massachusetts jumped in July for the first time in six months when compared to the year-ago period, an encouraging sign for the state's real estate market.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) reports Tuesday that sales of single-family homes jumped more than 14 percent from July 2010. The Warren Group, a Boston-based publisher of real estate data, reported a 7 percent increase. The organizations use slightly different methods of calculation.

The president of the realtors group said sales were spurred by affordable prices and low interest rates, although some people may have been scared away from entering the market because of uncertainty over the debt ceiling debate.

But The Warren Group's Cory Hopkins does not put much stock in the rise.

"Last year, 2010, was such a weird year," Hopkins said, "and then a pretty dismal second half."

That’s because the federal homebuyer tax credit juiced home sales during the first half of the year, and led to a downturn once the credit expired.

Both MAR and The Warren Group said the median price of a single-family home decreased slightly when compared to the previous July.

Hopkins said the skewed demand makes it hard to tell how the housing market is doing now.

WBUR's Curt Nickisch and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This program aired on August 23, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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