BOSTON, June 28, 2011 – May home sales in Massachusetts dropped more than 25 percent from the prior year, according to the latest report by The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman. But in a reversal of a five-month-long downward trend, median prices of single-family homes increased year-over-year in May.

A total of 3,263 single-family homes sold in the Bay State in May, down from 4,375 sales in May 2010. Year-over-year sales have decreased for four straight months, though May was the first month this year statewide sales exceeded the 3,000 mark.

Meanwhile, the median price for a single-family home in Massachusetts rose to $304,000, up from $294,000 a year earlier. Prices have not been this high since August, when the median sale price was $316,500.

Year-to-date home sales are down nearly 19 percent. There were 12,731 sales through May, down from 15,683 sales during the same period last year.

“It’s been a tough start to the year as we’ve been comparing sales volume against the height of the homebuyer tax credit. However, lending standards have also become more stringent which is slowing the recovery in the real estate market,” said The Warren Group CEO Timothy M. Warren Jr. “I expect that in the second half of the year comparisons with 2010 will turn positive.”

The median price for homes sold January through May was $279,300, down 2 percent from $285,000 in the prior year.

“The increase in prices is surprising to me and a hopeful sign,” Warren said. “Perhaps buyers are back in the game and competing for deals.”

In May, condominium sales dropped even further in the Bay State, declining almost 38 percent from a year earlier. A total of 1,206 condos sold in May, down from 1,944 in May 2010. Year-to-date condo sales are down almost 30 percent, dropping to 5,072 from 7,223 during the same period last year.

Median prices for condos rose more than 13 percent in May. The median selling price was $290,964, up from $257,250 a year earlier. Year-over-year median sales prices also edged up. The median price rose to $260,000 in the first five months of the year, compared to $250,000 during the same period in 2010.