Early-year sales of existing homes in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties have gotten off to a slower start than during January and February of last year, according to regional Multiple Listing Service data.

Nationally, year-over-year volume has increased for 20 straight months and reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million in February, the National Association of Realtors reported today. This was the highest in more than three years. In the region, however, sales volumes of existing homes have slipped for several months, including February, after showing double-digit increases in most area counties in 2012.

Last month, 145 MLS-listed homes were sold in Atlantic County, 12 fewer than February of 2012. Similar trends held in Cape May County, with 120 sales, or 27 fewer, and Cumberland County with 34 sales, or 9 fewer, according to regional MLS data.