The number of homes sold in Oklahoma this year remains higher than last year but for the first time in a number of years, the total has declined for the third quarter.

The Oklahoma City Journal Record reports Realtors closed 14,997 home sales in July, August and September. By comparison, residential closings were 15,401 for the same three months of 2005.

The first two quarters showed positive gains. For the first quarter, sales were up 14.8 percent. Second quarter sales were up 4.4 percent.

Overall, the numbers remain positive. The newspaper reports the 21 Oklahoma Association of Realtors agencies that share closing information show 41,922 homes sales from January through September compared to 40,216 in 1995.

The cost of those homes is up about 4 percent, reflecting continued strength of the market. But the third quarter dip could represent a softening of Oklahoma's economy or just unfounded concerns over the shrinking housing bubble nationwide.

In Norman, new home building remains strong for the quarter. In September, permits for 35 homes were issued. August numbers were 45 and July brought 77 permits.

Tulsa sales, formerly the beacon for the state, dipped 0.3 percent for the quarter. Sales activity in greater Tulsa remains more than 10 percent above the 2005 numbers.

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