AUSTIN (Austin Business Journal) – The area’s 1,389 home starts in fourth quarter 2009 were down slightly from the year ago period, according to Residential Strategies Inc.

 “We view this market performance favorably as indicating that the bottom of the market has been, or will soon be reached,” Residential Strategies Austin Division Manager Tommy Tucker said.

 Austin home starts totaled 6,784 last year, 60 percent below the 2006 peak of 17,128 starts and 25 percent less than in 2008.

 New home median prices dropped from $206,888 in the third quarter to $201,481 in the last. This quarter’s new home price is off 8.35 percent compared with the same period one year ago.