After four consecutive months of increased sales, the market hit the skids in July, according to the local Realtor group.

Home sales in July fell 25.1% from July 2009, largely as a result of the expired federal homebuyer tax credits, the Houston Association of Realtors reported.

The decline was felt in all single-family home price ranges with the exception of properties priced at $80,000 or below, which remained flat.

Despite the sales decline, the average sales price rose 2.7%, to $224,764, the highest monthly average since June 2008.

Foreclosure sales reported in the regional multiple listing service tumbled 13.5% in July compared to July a year ago. The median price of July's foreclosure sales declined 6.1%.

In all, 5,056 properties changed hands in the region, for a total volume of $1 billion.

"Buying came earlier and at a heftier pace than we would normally have seen in Houston during the spring and summer months because of the tax credit," said Margie Dorrance, a principal at Keller Williams Realty Metropolitan. Dorrance also chairs the Houston Realtor group.

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