“We’ll have a better barometer of how the year will go after the first quarter,” said Jim Link, the association’s executive vice president. He believes that the market will pick up as buyers realize prices are not going to fall as much as sales did. “Buyers are sorting through a large enough inventory to offer real options in all price ranges, but not so large that it tips the balance in their favor,” Link said. In the condominium market, 211 properties changed owners, an annual dip of 8.3 percent. Condo sales fell 29 percent from December. The median price, the point at which half the units cost more and half less, slipped an annual 2.5 percent, or $9,900, to $380,100. It fell 3.8 percent, or $14,900 from December. Association President Winnie Davis noted that January is typically one of the year’s weakest months. “The decrease in sales from last year is consistent with the trend we saw throughout most of 2006,” she said. Link said that members report buying activity is increasing, probably because interest rates are still relatively low and so far nothing suggests a price plunge is in the offing. At the end of January, there were 5,207 properties on the Multiple Listing Service operated by the association. That is up 25.5 percent from a year ago, but down 0.1 percent from December. That represents a 6.7 month supply and is considered a balanced market, the association said. Pending escrows, an indicator of future activity, fell 9.4 percent from a year ago and increased 23.1 percent from December. Nima Nattagh, an independent market analyst, said the weakness should continue into the year. “There is definitely a slowdown in the pace of sales, but prices haven’t tanked as much as some guessed,” he said. [email protected] (818) 713-3743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! San Fernando Valley homes sales fell by the slimmest annual margin in 16 months during January and the median price increased slightly – a sign the housing slump may be moderating, a trade association said Friday. Last month, 569 previously owned houses changed owners, down 2.2 percent from a year earlier, said the Van Nuys-based Southland Regional Association of Realtors. That’s the smallest decrease since sales started to slide in October 2005. Sales fell 29.4 percent from December. However, the median price increased an annual 1.3 percent, or $8,000, to $613,000. It remained unchanged from December.