Home sales in North Carolina posted double-digit growth for the 13th straight month in January, while sales in Massachusetts reported their weakest January in 10 years, according to Realtor associations in both states.

Existing-home sales in North Carolina totaled 8,399 in January, showing a 13 percent increase from sales recorded a year earlier, according to statistics compiled by the North Carolina Association of Realtors.

The state’s average existing-home sales price was up 4 percent to $206,788.

Areas of North Carolina with the strongest sales growth include Brevard (141 percent), Goldsboro (59 percent), the Triad (41 percent), Jacksonville (39 percent) and Greenville (38 percent). Additionally, several areas of the state experienced high levels of price appreciation including the Triad and Asheville at 20 percent, Fayetteville at 19 percent and Goldsboro at 18 percent.

In Massachusetts, the once-red-hot housing market showed further signs of returning to normal in January as sales of detached single-family homes fell to their lowest January level in 10 years, sliding 21 percent from 2,968 homes sold in January 2005 to 2,345 in the same month this year. The last time there were fewer January sales was 1996 when 2,332 homes sold.

In addition, condominium sales improved a modest 2.5 percent over the past 12 months – the second-smallest gain in year-to-year sales activity in the past 12 months. Still, the sales gain was enough to set a new monthly record, as sales climbed to a new all-time high of 1,281 from the old record of 1,250 units sold in January 2005.

In fact, the statewide median selling price for detached single-family homes decreased 2.4 percent in January, falling from $354,000 in December 2005 to $345,500 in January 2006, while the statewide median selling price for condos dipped 1.8 percent, from $275,000 in December to $270,000 during January.

January’s more moderate prices reflect a sharp increase in inventory levels over the past year, MAR reported. Collectively, active listings for detached single-family homes and condominiums have increased 41 percent since last January, from 36,168 homes and condos for sale in January 2005 to 51,122 units for sale this past January.

“For the last few years, buyers often outnumbered the supply of homes for sale allowing prices to escalate rapidly, but that’s no longer the case,” said MAR President David Wluka, of Wluka Real Estate in Sharon. “As we return to a more normal market, we expect prices to stabilize, which should be welcome news to buyers and good for the long-term health of the housing market.”


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