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JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- Home construction and homes sales wrapped up 2013 strong, the best numbers seen since the recession and housing bust in 2007.

St. Johns County is leading the way with new home construction with Nocatee being at the center of much of the activity.

ThroughNovember of last year, more than 5,600 permits were issued in St. Johns, Clay, Nassau and Duval counties.

All the work is music to the trades involved in every phase of construction.

"We are really busy right now. A home a day, keep it going," said Matt Puckett while working hisdrill.

Crane operator Nick Bostic said all the work is nice after the lean years.

"I am really thankful in this spotright now it's great," said Bostic while waiting to lift rafters so another roofcould be built.

Existing home sales are also trending in a positive direction.

The Northeast Florida Association of Realtors said last year resulted in a 22 percent increase in closings, a median price that jumped 15 percent to $153,400.

Another positive is lessinventory resulting inhomes being on the market an average of 88 days.

"The stars are absolutely aligned for us," said realtor Denise Demico.

"It was a freight train that just picked up momentum and it rolled through 2013 and into 2014," said Demicooutside a home she is listing on the Southside.

NEFAR in a news release also noted that lender-mediated property sales were down in 2013.

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