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Single-family homes still top choice for home buyers

A nationwide survey of some 5,200 home buyers shows that detached single-family homes remain the most popular housing choice by a wide margin. The National Association of Realtors, a trade organization representing more than 600,000 individuals involved in every phase of the real estate industry, conducted the survey.

Almost three-fourths of the respondents chose the detached single-family home. Eleven percent chose apartment condos, and 8 percent said they preferred townhouses. The remaining 5 percent chose to buy two- or three-family homes, or other types.

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Prices for detached single-family homes, according to the survey, varied from an average of $163,500 in San Francisco to $57,000 in Tampa-St.Petersburg, Fla. Average size of these homes is 1,560 square feet.

Among the 14 metropolitan areas represented in the survey, the average cost per square foot was $55 for a detached single-family home. Los Angeles, San Franciso, and Oakland, Calif., were the most expensive, with costs exceeding $80 a square foot. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Tampa, Nashville, and Atlanta offered the most living space for the dollar, with costs of about $40 a square foot.

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