SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Sales of new and existing homes in the Bay Area last month increased last month but at a rate well below average, officials with the research firm CoreLogic said Thursday.

The increase from January to February was 0.3 percent, below the average of 2.5 percent since 1988.

READ MORE: Belmont Neighborhood Search For Aggressive Mountain Lion

CoreLogic analyst Andrew LePage attributed the result to higher home prices, credit challenges among buyers and a tight inventory of homes.

Sales are still increasing though because mortgage rates are low and the region’s population is growing, LePage said.

Last month, 4,853 homes were sold in the Bay Area, up from 4,839 in January. The number of homes sold in February 2015 was 4,833, according to CoreLogic.

READ MORE: Three Of Tonga’s Smaller Islands Badly Damaged By Tsunami; Concerns Mount Within Bay Area Tongan Community

The median sales price was $609,500 for a home last month, down 1.7 percent from $620,000 in January. LePage attributed the decrease to a higher share of sales in less expensive markets, such as Contra Costa and Solano counties.

That price rose 5.1 percent from $580,000 in February 2015, CoreLogic data shows.

The median home sales price has risen year-over-year for 47 consecutive months but is 8.3 percent below the peak of $665,000 in June and July 2007.

MORE NEWS: Splash Brothers Curry, Thompson Lead Warriors Past Pistons, 102-86

© Copyright 2016 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.