LAS ANGELES ( DQNews) -- Southland December home sales shot up more than usual from November but fell well short of last year as a sluggish job market, tight credit, and record-low new-home sales undermined the market. At the regional level the median sale price hovered barely above the year-ago mark, while it fell in four individual counties, a real estate information service reported.Last month 19,528 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties. That was up 20.5% from 16,208 in November, but down 12.5% from 22,328 in December 2009, according to MDA DataQuick. The San Diego firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records. A November-to-December sales increase is normal for the season, with the gain averaging 12.9% since 1988, when DataQuick's statistics begin. "Ultra-low mortgage rates, coupled with lower prices, gave the market a boost this fall, helping to explain the above-average gain in closings between November and December. We still see the potential for sales to perk up this spring if rates stay low and brighter economic news lifts consumer confidence. Of course, a loosening of credit terms would help an awful lot, too, especially in move-up markets," said John Walsh, DataQuick president. "Looking back at 2010, it's hard to ignore the ongoing slump in the Southland's new-home market," he continued. "Last year we saw the lowest sales by builders in two decades - less than half the annual average since 1988. 2009 wasn't much better. What happens next will hinge largely on the pace of the economic recovery and the manner in which lenders manage their inventories of distressed properties, which are competition for new homes." Last month's total home sales, all new and resale houses and condos combined, were the lowest for that month since December 2007, when 13,240 sold, and the second-lowest since 1995. Last month's total sales fell 21.6% below the average December sales tally of 24,899. December new-home sales were the lowest for that month in DataQuick's records back to 1988. New-home sales for all of 2010 also hit a record low.