Home sales in Lawrence and Douglas County slid lower in January, according to a new report from the Douglas County Appraiser's Office.
Buyers closed on 45 homes in Lawrence last month, down 26 percent from the 61 sales recorded a year earlier, according to the report.
Prices paid also dropped. The $177,277 average in Lawrence was off 4.9 percent from the $186,414 average booked in January 2005.
Rob Hulse, president of the Lawrence Board of Realtors, noted that many of the purchases would have been put under contract in November and December, when weather and other factors might have contributed to a slowdown.
With warm weather in January helping boost showings, he said, sales numbers likely will be ticking back up.
"The real trends will evidence themselves a little bit later," said Hulse, a Realtor for Stephens Real Estate.
Feeding the optimism: a healthy inventory of available homes.
Last week, Hulse said, there were 387 single-family homes listed for sale in Lawrence. Of those, 234 were priced between $100,000 and $250,000.
"We have plenty of inventory available for buyers," he said. "I think we have a three-, four-month supply of inventory, and with new homes coming on and existing homes coming on, it's a real balanced market."
January sales also slipped countywide. There were 67 sales of single-family homes closed during the month, down 15 percent from a year earlier. The sales included eight in Eudora, unchanged from a year ago; six in Baldwin, up from one; four in North Lawrence, unchanged; and four in rural areas, down from five.
Average prices paid in January for single-family homes in Douglas County, and change from a year earlier, according to the Douglas County Appraiser's Office: ¢ Lawrence: $177,277, down 4.9 percent from $186,414. ¢ North Lawrence: $113,250, up 12.8 percent from $100,375. ¢ Baldwin: $144,087, down 24.2 percent from $190,000. ¢ Eudora: $178,740, up 19.6 percent from $149,397. ¢ Rural: $653,320, up 256 percent from $183,351. (Excluding one $1.75 million sale from last month, the average would have been $287,760, up 56.9 percent.) ¢ Countywide: $199,077, up 11.8 percent from $178,160.