The average price of existing homes in the Houston area reached a record $228,650 in June, according to the local real estate group, as the number of transactions increased for the first time since January.

Sales in June inched upward 0.6% compared to the same month a year ago, the Houston Association of Realtors reported. But compared to June 2009 (the last year without unusual markets factors such as the hurricane of 2008 and the home buying tax credit in 2010) sales were up a healthy 8.4%.

Still, the only other time sales moved higher this year was in January, when an 8.4% gain was recorded. Since then, it has been all downhill.

Foreclosures accounted for 18.7% of all property sales, down from 19.8% in May, 22% in April and 23% in March.

The number of active listings dipped 4.8% in the month, to 51,342. But the inventory of single-family houses rose to 7.9 months, compared to 7.3 months a year ago.

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