Home sales in the Charleston region have been growing this year but slower than last year's pace.

Home sales by county

Charleston County

A total of 626 homes sold at a median price of $280,000. The hot spot for the county was Mount Pleasant, which totaled 210 homes sold at a median price $390,633. Other top areas were West Ashley (outside I-526) with 77 sales at a median price of $219,000 and North Charleston (outside I-526) with 64 sales at a median price of $131,295.

Dorchester County

A total of 191 homes sold at a median price of $159,000. The most active area was Summerville/Ridgeville, where 85 homes sold at a median price of $173,000.

Berkeley County

A total of 248 homes sold at a median price of $176,601. The most active area in the county was in the North area bordered by Jedburg Road, U.S. Highway 17A and College Park, with 59 sales at a median price of $171,500.

Source: Charleston Trident Association of Realtors

The Charleston Trident Association of Realtors reported Thursday that a total of 2,700 homes have exchanged hands at median price of $210,000 in the first quarter of this year.

Volume of home sales for the first quarter was 11 percent stronger than the three-month span in 2013. But that was slower than the 16 percent growth witnessed in the first quarter of 2013 over home sales in the same period in 2012.

Industry experts have predicted that home sales for this year will be slower than 2013 due to modest job growth. Job creation is a big factor in home sales because employment triggers consumer spending.

The median price for this year's first quarter was up 15 percent compared with the first three months of 2013. That was better than the 1.5 percent growth tallied in the first quarter of 2013. This year's home prices have been aided by a slim inventory, experts have said.

The quarter's report included the 1,100 homes that exchanged hands in March, up 3 percent compared with the same month in 2013.

Charleston County tallied 626 homes sold in the month, down 3.5 percent compared with March 2013. The largest growth was in Berkeley County, particularly Daniel Island and Cane Bay Plantation in Goose Creek, according to data. The county tallied 248 homes sold, up 23 percent compared with the same month a year ago.

The modest home sales growth in March comes on the heels of what was described by the Realtors group as a slower-than-expected February. Officials have pinned that month's slower activity on wintry weather.

The group said Thursday that the upcoming months are more promising as inventory is returning to the market just in time for the busier spring and summer months.

There were 5,873 homes listed as "active" for sale in the local Multiple Listing Service database as of Thursday. That's up 5.5 percent from 5,565 on March 10.

"As the spring buying season begins, the expected trend has continued - a small but sustainable increase in sales" said Corwyn Melette, the association's president. "The additional inventory will result in more interested buyers and help keep our market stable over the next few months."

That optimism was shared by some local agents, including Rob Woodul, broker-in-charge of Carolina One's Charleston Central office.

Woodul said home sales "finally popped" in the month of March, with activity picking up among new listings and buyer activity.

"We really saw buyers come out, and open house traffic has been up tremendously," he said. "With the limited supply we have, it has been very encouraging to see the buyers. We have seen a nice bump in activity and multiple-offer situations."

The association also revised its February transaction volume figure slightly higher to 813 sales at a median price of $207,000.

Reach Tyrone Richardson at 937-5550.