SAN DIEGO (AP) — Southern California homes sales posted a fifth straight annual decline in February as tight inventories kept buyers on the sidelines, a research firm said Wednesday.

There were 14,027 new and existing houses and condominiums sold in the six-county region, down 3.1 percent from January and down 12 percent from a year earlier. It was the lowest February sales total in six years.

The median sales price was $383,000, up 0.8 percent from $380,000 in January and up 19.7 percent from $320,000 a year earlier. It was the 23rd straight month of annual price increases, including the last 19 by double-digit percentages.

Prices have changed little since the middle of last year, easing slightly since hitting a 70-month high of $395,000 in December.

DataQuick said lack of inventory, credit hurdles and higher prices limited sales.

“The drop in housing affordability is enough to nudge some out of the market,” said John Walsh, DataQuick’s president. “Other would-be buyers have no doubt called ‘time-out’ while re-evaluating their housing priorities, or watching for signs the market has overshot a sustainable price level.”

There was a 4.5-month supply of single-family homes for sale in the Los Angeles metropolitan area in January, up from 3.5 months a year earlier but still below what is considered a normal market, according to the most recent figures from the California Association of Realtors.

Sales were generally weakest in lower-priced areas, with purchases below $300,000 plummeting 38.7 percent. Sales of homes between $300,000 and $800,000 rose 2.1 percent, and sales of at least $800,000 climbed 4.9 percent.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)