Home sales in the Twin Cities, Minn., metro area dropped for the fourth consecutive month in January, while the median home price eked out modest gains, according to the four metro Twin Cities Realtor associations.

Realtors reported 2,783 closed home sales last month, down 3.5 percent from the same month a year ago. At the same time, the median sales price for a home in the 13-county metro was $226,700, a 3.2 percent increase over a year earlier, but at a much slower pace than previous years.

“Housing sales in the Twin Cities during January performed as expected,” said Jeff Green, president of the North Metro Realtors Association. “Our economists have predicted a moderate slowdown of the real estate market this year. However, many agents in the field have spoken in recent weeks of increased business activity, so we are eager to see how the month of February turns out.”

Total inventory of single-family homes in the metropolitan area ended January at 21,529, an increase of 31 percent compared to January 2005.

“We are seeing record-breaking activity in some categories, but hands down the largest growth has been in our market inventory,” said Todd Shipman, president of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors. “There are far more homes on the market now than at this time last year, and consumers need to prepare themselves accordingly in the home-selling process. For most buyers, they will have an ample selection from which to choose.”

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