JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Good news about the housing market in the area.

The Northeast Florida Association of Realtors released its 2013 annual report and it shows more homes sold last year than in almost a decade. It's optimism, Realtors say, that is making for a strong start to 2014.

"Last year was certainly a major change in the housing market in north Florida. We had a lot of buyers come to the market, taking advantage of historically low interest rates," said Howard Flaschen, of Roundtable Realty.

Flaschen said it's a boost that was needed nationwide, northeast Florida included.

Every year, the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors releases a report recapping the market.

In 2014 it shows sales hit a seven-year high and the median home price in our part of the state was the highest it's been since 2008.

"We had a huge overhang of homes, a lot of distressed properties, foreclosure, short sales. We needed someone to come in who could buy these homes up quickly, turn them around and put a floor under the market," said Flaschen.

Flaschen said the housing market is even stronger now than a year ago.

The report also shows homes sold faster in 2013. Single-family homes were off the market in an average of 89 days. Condos and townhouses sold in an average of 80 days.

The five areas that had the most growth in median sales price from 2012 to 2013, in order, are the southwest part of St. Johns County, Atlantic Beach, Springfield/Downtown/Paxon/Trout River South, Arlington/Fort Caroline and the Riverside/Avondale/Ortega area.

"2014 is going to experience more stabilization and buyers trying to acquire homes, and we also believe that there will still be investors still buying homes as well," said Flaschen.

The amount of properties for sale also continues to drop, and Flaschen said the low inventory will continue to push prices up with supply and demand.