Baton Rouge-area home sales, which have taken less of a hit than much of the United States through the recession, were down 4.2 percent during the peak March-August sales period, compared with a year ago when sales were boosted by a federal tax credit.

Realtors sold 3,616 new and previously occupied homes this year in the eight-parish area during the March-August period, down from 3,775 a year ago, figures from the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors show.

The market stabilized midway through the period as comparisons to last year’s tax credit-inflated numbers faded.

Sales were off by 46 percent during the March-May period, flattened in June and then jumped 31 percent during the July-August period, compared to the same two months last year. The numbers for August were the best since 2007, a year that was bolstered like 2006 by people displaced from the New Orleans area by 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

The local home sales area is made up of East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, East Feliciana and West Feliciana, Iberville and Pointe Coupee parishes.