BOSTON, January 24, 2012 – Single-family home sales in Massachusetts dropped 5 percent in December, a reversal of five previous months of year-over-year sales gains and a fitting end to a year in which the lowest number of single-family homes were sold since 1990, according to new data from The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

Single-family home sales in Massachusetts dropped to 3,380 last month, down from 3,558 in December 2010. In all of 2011, single-family home sales statewide dropped almost 6 percent to 38,994, down from 41,389 home sales in 2010. This is the fewest amount of annual sales recorded statewide since 1990, when there were 35,819 sales.

Fourth quarter home sales were one bright spot in the report. A total of 9,991 sales were recorded in the fourth quarter 2011, up from 9,461 during the same period in 2010. The first quarter 2011 was the worst quarter of the year, posting just 6,643 sales. The strongest month of the year was June, when 4,349 single-family properties traded hands.

“It’s a bit disheartening to see a drop in sales in December after gains in sales volume for five straight months,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group. “Granted, we are comparing sales to a strong December in 2010, as it was the best December since 2006.”

The median sale price of single-family homes statewide dropped 4.2 percent in December to $267,250, down from $279,000 in December 2010. Median home prices have remained below $300,000 since August. This is the lowest median sales price recorded since February’s $252,250 price mark. Prices in the fourth quarter dropped to $270,000, compared to $285,000 during the fourth quarter 2010.

“December’s decline in median prices is the tenth drop in 2011. So prices are still soft, reflecting a slow market,” Warren said.

The median price for single-family homes dropped more than 3 percent to $286,000 in 2011, down from $295,000 in 2010.

A total of 1,492 single-family home sales were of bank-owned properties – representing 3.8 percent of all single-family sales in 2011. That’s down from 2010, when bank-owned properties accounted for 6.45 percent of all single-family home sales in Massachusetts.

Condominium sales also decreased in 2011, dropping 16.2 percent to 15,122 from 18,048 in all of 2010. This is the fewest number of condo sales statewide since 1995, when there were 14,919 transactions.

Condo sales also decreased in December, falling 15.75 percent to 1,327 from 1,575 in December 2010. Fourth quarter condo sales also dropped, falling more than 7 percent to 3,639 from 3,929 during the same period in 2010.

The median condo price in December dropped almost 2 percent to $255,000 from $260,000 in December 2010. The year-to-date median condo price rose almost 2 percent to $270,000 from $265,000 in 2010. Median prices dropped in the fourth quarter to $255,000 from $260,000 a year earlier.

A total of 533 condominium sales were of bank-owned properties – representing 3.5 percent of all condominium sales in 2011. That’s down from 2010, when bank-owned condo sales represented 5.6 percent of all condo sales.