Home sales were strong in the Charleston region in January, giving the local industry its best start in five years, according to a new sales figures released Monday.

County breakdown

Charleston County

363 homes sold at a median price of $228,726. Mt. Pleasant had 108 sales. Other areas of activity included North Charleston/Summerville outside Interstate 526, with 47 sales, and West Ashley outside I-526, with 37 sales.

Berkeley County

125 sales at a median price of $157,000. Much of the volume was in the areas bordered by U.S. Highway 17-A and College Park Road, as well as Goose Creek/Moncks Corner, bordered by U.S. Highway 52 and the Cooper River.

Dorchester County

123 sales at a median price of $146,000. The Summerville/Ridgeville and Summerville/Ladson areas were the most active, with 55 and 41 sales, respectively.

Source: Charleston Trident Association of Realtors

The Charleston Trident Association of Realtors said 634 homes were sold at a median price of $181,750 last month.

The association said it was the highest sales volume for the month since 2008, when 648 homes changed hands in Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties.

The housing market is off to a strong start this year with sales volume up 16 percent and median price up 3 percent compared to 2012.

The report showed continued momentum from last year, which has been described as a turning point for the local housing market.

The association reported 10,588 homes changed hands in 2012, the most since 2007, when 12,921 homes were sold. The region’s median home price climbed to $190,145 last year, almost 5 percent higher than 2011. It remained about 9 percent off the 2007 figure of $207,850.

“As was the case in 2012, we expect to see nominal, but sustainable, growth in prices this year” said Owen Tyler, the association’s president, in a written statement. “2012 closed out with a 4.4 percent increase in median price, which is an excellent rate of growth in a recovering market. It’s all about sustainability”

Housing experts have said the combination of falling prices, low borrowing costs and the mending economy have driven home sales higher.

Monday’s housing report showed Charleston County continues to mark the highest volume of sales for the region.

Housing hotbed Mount Pleasant accounted for nearly 30 percent of the 363 homes sold in the county last month. Other strong areas include West Ashley and the North Charleston and Summerville areas.

The report also signaled strong sales for a traditionally slow month in terms of home sales.

Local real estate website CharlestonRealEstateStats.com reported January started off at the traditional slow pace in terms of homes under contract, but activity picked up later in the month.

The site hinted that strong sales should roll into February since 298 homes were under contract last week, the strongest single week of activity since 2010, when buyers clamored to take advantage of a federal tax credit.

Reach Tyrone Richardson at 937-5550 and follow him on Twitter @tyrichardsonPC.