Amid the national housing boom, the District of Columbia had the strongest increase in home buying for the 12 months ending June 30, with home sales there up 49.3% from a year earlier.

The National Association of Realtors reported Texas ranked second with a 31.1% jump in home sales. Virginia, North Dakota, and Maryland rounded out the top five.

Increasing demand is putting pressure on home prices, which are also rising nationwide. Charleston, S.C., led the pack with a 19.6% increase in median home price from a year earlier, to $121,100.

Bradenton, Fla., was second with an increase of 16.5% from a year ago, to a median price of $104,900.

"There's still some strong migration to the South," said Fred Flick, vice president of economic research for the group. "Economies are still developing down there in urban areas."

The increase in home prices in the South also reflected that "their prices have someplace to move," Mr. Flick said. "The South has a relatively lower cost of housing stock," he said.

According to the group's survey of 132 metropolitan areas, the national median home price is $131,000. San Francisco is the most expensive market, with median prices at $329,400, while Ocala, Fla., is the cheapest at $69,100.

Low interest rates and a strong economy continue to fuel a booming housing market nationally, the association said.

During the three months ended June 30, home buying nationwide increased 16.2% from a year earlier, while home prices rose an average of 6% in metropolitan areas, the group said.

"Consumers are finding it easier these days to make such a large financial commitment, especially in light of the nation's current economic conditions and the availability of an array of federal and private financing products in today's market," said R. Layne Morrill, president of the Realtors.

The group said it expects that Congress' recent approval of an expansion of the Federal Housing Administration limits will increase home sales. The FHA "has not kept pace with home price increases," and "is not as effective as it could be," Mr. Morrill said.

The increases will "help make the American dream a reality for more families," he said.

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