After a year of a stalemate of sorts in our regional housing market, the latest data point to a more robust market for sellers in 2015.; with it all the more reason for buyers to sharpen the quest for their next home so they can purchase what they want at the best price.

The Washington Post reported today - Monday - that sales in the D.C. region’s housing market picked up for the first time in a year last month, a sign that home buyers may feel more confident heading into the new year.

For most of 2014, the D.C.-area real estate market was flat. Although there were pockets of activity and others of sluggish sales, in general, the market didn’t experience big gains or big losses. Instead, it just meandered along. This wasn’t a bad thing. Slow and steady works best in a recovery.

Still, the modest increase in sales last month was encouraging.

According to RealEstate Business Intelligence, a subsidiary of the Rockville-based multiple listing service MRIS, there were nearly 300 more homes sold last month than in December 2013, an 8 percent year-over-year increase. It was the first year-over-year increase in 2014. Although the total sales figure in 2014 was 6 percent below 2013, it was higher than the annual totals for every year from 2007 to 2012.

Pending sales – sales that are under contract but where the deal has not closed – also increased, jumping nearly 11 percent compared to December 2013. Pending sales are an early indicator of buyer activity. Until November, when year-over-year pending sales were up slightly, that metric had been negative dating back to November 2013.

Every jurisdiction saw its median price rise in 2014. Falls Church City rose 9.3 percent to $700,000 from $640,500 in 2013. Fairfax City also had a big gain, rising 7.7 percent to $475,000 from $441,000 in 2013.