WASHINGTON - Median existing-home prices in most metropolitan areas increased at double-digit rates in 2000, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The group's metro-area home price report, which covers changes in 121 metropolitan areas, showed that 34 areas had double-digit increases in median existing-home prices and only 11 had declines last year. A majority had gains well above the rate of inflation, which was 2.4% annualized in the fourth quarter.

The national median existing-home price was $139,600 in the fourth quarter, up 4.9% from the year-earlier period, the association said.

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