ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud area home sales are down by about 17-and-a-half percent for the first half of the year.

But, that's no real surprise to Russ Portele who is the branch Vice President for the Coldwell Banker Burnet office in Waite Park. He says last year's numbers were artificially inflated because of the $8-thousand first-time home-buyers tax credit.

One figure that is concerning to Portele is the average sale price. He says there are still a number of foreclosed and short sale properties on the market that are keeping traditional home prices down.

Portele says year over year numbers show the average price for foreclosed properties went from $110-thousand to $86-thousand.

Even so, Portele says there has been good activity this summer and with near-record low interest rates, home sales have been stronger than anticipated so far this year.