Stable is the word John LeCates uses to describe the local housing market.
In York County, four fewer houses were sold in May 2012 than May 2011, but the 1 percent decrease is basically level, said LeCates, president of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties.
The association is reporting 311 homes were sold in May, compared to 315 a year ago.
But the 311 sold last month are up 17 from 294 sold in April.
Figures also show that, from Jan. 1 through May 31, York County home sales are up 5 percent compared to the same period in 2011. The county logged 1,397 home sales this year and 1,334 home sales last year between January and May.
"Watching what happens nationally, we anticipate continued recovery," he said.
Nationally: According to the most recent figures available from the National Association of Realtors, April home sales were up more than 14 percent compared to 2011.
"We usually lag behind national trends a little, but I was expecting a little better results," LeCates said of the local numbers.
The association usually sees an uptick in April, May and June, when sellers list more homes during the spring-summer market.
Prices: It's still a buyer's market, he said, but the gap between listing prices and selling prices is definitely shrinking, he said.
The median sales price in York County from Jan. 1 through May 31 was $138,000, a 1 percent decrease from the $139,900 price tag during the same time period a year ago.
But last month, home values were on the rise. The median sale price in York County was $146,500 compared to $144,329 in May 2011.
"Sales are so level that prices are only increasing slowly and gradually," he said. "It's going to be a while before prices go up because the increase in sales is what makes prices go up."
In York: The lowest sale prices are listed in York City, which is also the area LeCates said the association needs to work on.
"If you pop out the city statistics, our stats would be very positive," he said. "We really need to work on York City. Sales have been slipping there for a long time."
From Jan. 1 to May 31, the average sale price in the city has been $33,500.
"You can buy a car for that," he said.
Though potential homeowners may be attracted to the low prices, they are sometimes discouraged by the city schools, which struggle financially and academically, LeCates said.
"We really need to inform people what's in the city and that there are other choices," LeCates said, referencing charter schools in the area.
Elsewhere: Districts just outside the city continued to sell well.
As it did in April, the Dallastown Area School District experienced the most home sales with 40, up 15 from a year ago. The average home price there in May was $154,000.
Central School District recorded 39 home sales, which carried an average $147,000 pricetag.
The median sale price in York Suburban was $155,000, and 25 homes were sold there in May.
And 25 homes were also sold in West York, where the median sale price was $119, 900.
- Candy Woodall can also be reached at email@example.com.