Home sales in Virginia fell for the fifth consecutive month in January, as home-price appreciation returned to a more normal pace, the Virginia Association of Realtors reported Thursday.

Realtors reported 6,716 home sales in January, down 15 percent from 7,965 posted during the same month last year and down 36.4 percent from December 2005’s 10,565 closings.

Some areas, however, did show increases in closed transactions for the month, including the Charlottesville area, Harrisonburg-Rockingham County, Lynchburg, Martinsville/Henry County, New River Valley, Williamsburg, and the Greater Augusta County area.

Virginia’s median existing-home price for January was $165,425, compared with $157,225 for January 2005, a 5 percent increase. The median is a typical market price where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less. However, January’s median price is down 8.2 percent from December 2005’s median of $180,260.

The year began with 8,780 homes on the market, compared with 9,588 for January last year, an 8 percent decline. Homes were on the market an average of 98 days, up from 91 days in December.

The Virginia Association of Realtors represents more than 37,000 Realtors active in all phases of real estate brokerage, management, development and appraisal.

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