January home sales rose 19 percent year over year in Hillsborough County and parts of Pasco County. Prices plunged 35 percent over the same January-to-January period. According to the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors, sales totaled 942 in January compared with sales of 791 in January 2008. The average price last month was $160,530. A year earlier it was $246,260. Sales of distressed properties, some in foreclosure, accounted for much of the rise in closings, though prices suffered as a result. Another sign of encouragement: The inventory of homes for sale stood at 17,733 in January, about 2,500 fewer than a year earlier.