DENVER, Feb. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The selling season in 2012 started early and continued through the whole year. Now, the new year is starting at levels even higher than last January. The January RE/MAX National Housing Report shows the recovery continues with sales up 9.1% and prices up 8.0% from January last year. Falling inventories are both a positive and negative factor for the recovery. They have pushed prices higher, which helps underwater homeowners, but have also created a shortage of homes for potential buyers. The inventory of homes for sale remains 28.9% below the levels seen in January 2012. With fewer distressed properties and underwater homes, more home sellers in 2013 may be persuaded to place their homes on the market and move up. As the inventory issue works its way back to a traditional balance, the housing market should continue a robust recovery in 2013. "We saw a strong start to 2012 last January, and this year is starting with an even higher number of sales and increased prices," said Margaret Kelly, CEO of RE/MAX, LLC. " Such an impressive start to the new year is hopefully pointing to an even stronger performance for the entire year. Expect the 2013 housing market to continue the solid recovery that began one year ago." Transactions – Year-Over-Year Change January home sales followed a common winter trend, dropping 22.0% lower than the number of sales in December. However, home sales were up 9.1% from January last year, when many analysts believe the housing recovering began. January is the nineteenth month in a row with sales higher than the same month in the previous year. Of the 52 metro areas surveyed in the January RE/MAX National Housing Report, 41 reported higher sales than January 2012. Of those 41 metropolitan areas, 31 reported double digit gains over last January's sales including: Billings, MT +62.0%, Albuquerque, NM +45.6%, Chicago, IL +39.2%, Raleigh, NC +33.4%, Charlotte, NC +29.2%, and Providence, RI +28.5%. Median Sales Price January median prices fell 6.6% lower than December prices. However, the $155,000 Median Price for all homes sold in January was, 8.0% higher than the price seen in January 2012. For the twelfth consecutive month, January reported a higher Median Price than the same month of the previous year. Of all 52 metro areas included in the January RE/MAX National Housing Report, a significant number, 44, experienced year-over-year price increases. Of the 44, 26 saw double digit increases including: San Francisco, CA +39.2%, Atlanta, GA +38.9%, Detroit, MI +31.1%, Phoenix, AZ +29.1%, Boise, ID +28.7%, and Las Vegas, NV +28.6%.