New York's housing market started the year with sales on par with January 2011, experiencing soft economic growth and little change in loan demand.

According to the New York State Association of Realtors, the Empire State's median sales price has remained above $200,000 since May 2011 and reached its highest monthly level since September for January 2012. At $212,500, the median price is 5.3% below the year-earlier median of $224,450 but 5.7% higher than $201,000 in December.

The association's members sold 4,529 existing single-family homes in the state in January, down 0.8% from 4,564 in January 2011 and almost 30% less than 6,437 sold in December.

“In terms of sales, January was a typical first month of the year, especially when compared to the start of the past two years,” said Duncan MacKenzie, CEO of the trade group. “Looking at the past decade, it is also characteristic of our seasonal market that January sales lag behind December of the previous year.”

New York experienced improvements in nonresidential construction in January as conditions in banking and finance increased in the state, according to the Federal Reserve Beige Book, while loan demand changed little.

Mortgage delinquencies in New York remained steady even though delinquencies fell in other loan categories, the central bank reported.