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GALVESTON Island home sales last year rose 9.1 percent, nudged largely by an era of cheap loans and the city s proximity to Houston, hardly touched by recession, industry trackers said.

Islandwide, 573 single-family homes and condominiums sold in 2012, compared with 525 the year before, according to Galveston Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service data compiled by Sand N Sea Properties. But many more island properties sold last year than reflected in the data, which doesn t include sales by real estate agents or developers not posting in the Galveston Multiple Listing Service.

Buyers, many from the Houston area, where the unemployment rate was at 5.8 percent last month compared to the national rate of 7.8 percent, are expressing more confidence in the island housing market, said Pamela Gabriel, past president of Galveston Association of Realtors and one of the 2012 Top 10 Realtors on the island.

Click here to read more at the Galveston County Daily News.

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