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Southland home prices up 6.8% in October, smallest gain since 2012

Southern California homes prices climbed 6.8% in October, the smallest annual rise in more than two years

The Southern California housing market took a step back last month.

After an uptick in September, home sales fell 4.4% in October from a year earlier, a report released Wednesday showed. Prices were up but at a slower pace.

The median sales price in the six-county region was $410,000 last month, up 6.8% from October 2013, research firm CoreLogic DataQuick said. That was the smallest 12-month gain since June 2012.

The median price -- the point where half of homes sold for more and half for less -- fell 0.7% from September.

The Southland’s housing market has cooled this year after a torrid pace in 2013. But analysts have said the slowdown signals a normalizing market that could help more families purchase homes as the economy improves.

Prices have stopped rising at a 20% annual clip, in part because many investors -- no longer seeing a deal -- are leaving the market.  

Absentee buyers -- mostly investors -- accounted for 23.6% of home sales in October, the lowest rate since October 2010.

But given Southern California’s high housing costs, coupled with tight credit, many families still struggle to make a purchase and that's sent sales down.

“It was another sub-par month for Southern California home sales,” CoreLogic DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage said. “We've yet to see traditional buyers fill the void left by the drop-off in investor and cash buyers, which began in spring last year.”

Sales dropped in all counties last month, except for Ventura where they climbed 2.6% from a year earlier.

Twitter: @khouriandrew

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