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.