Prices for single-family homes increased in 89 percent of U.S. cities in the first quarter as the housing market extends a recovery from a five-year slump. And Westport is no different.

The median sales price rose nationally from a year earlier in 133 of 150 metropolitan areas measured, the National Association of Realtors reported this week. A year earlier, 74 areas had gains. Through April, Westport has recorded a 7 percent increase in median sales price.

In Westport, the number of sales compared to last year increased 42 percent in February, 35 percent in March and 32 percent in April.

Total sales prices increased over last year 49 percent in February, 10 percent in March and 42 percent in April. Sales volume January through April is up 47 percent over last year.

Buyers returning to the housing market are bidding up prices for a tight supply of listings. The national median price for an existing single-family home was up 11.3 percent from the same period last year. That was the biggest gain since the fourth quarter of 2005, according to the Realtors group. Westport housing inventory to sales has been consistently down by nearly 50 percent since February.

The housing recovery is strengthening as the job market improves and the Federal Reserve pushes down borrowing costs for mortgages to near-record lows. The unemployment rate fell to a four-year low of 7.5 percent in April, according to federal Department of Labor data, and the number of Americans filing claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to the lowest level in more than five years.

If you have a home to sell, it is an excellent time to list your property. Typically, sales negotiations quiet down during the summer months, although many title passes actually occur then (deals that were often negotiated earlier in the year and pending closure) in time for the fall school schedule. No one truly knows when this energized market will slow down. Hopefully sales will continue strong for a long time to come. We have quite a few years to make up and many frustrated buyers losing properties to bidding wars. Price your home appropriately, have a well-trained real estate agent represent you and prepare to pack for your next home.

Linda Skolnick's "Skolnick's Scoop" appears every other Friday. She is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Riverside in Westport and can be reached by calling 203-246-0088 or through her website, www.GoAskLinda.com.