More signs of home price slowdown in Southern California

SoCal housing market topping out? Asking prices growing at slowest pace in two years, @trulia says

There are more signs that home prices in Southern California are topping out.

Asking prices tracked by real estate website Trulia grew at their slowest pace in nearly two years in Los Angeles County in June, and in Orange County they were practically flat.

Trulia’s Price Monitor recorded 1.2% growth in the typical asking price of a house in Los Angeles County in June, compared with three months prior. In pricier Orange County, that asking price climbed just four-tenths of one percent, the smallest gain since prices started rising in Orange County in May 2012. By comparison, in the first half of 2013, prices were climbing roughly 6% a quarter.

Trulia's study focuses on asking prices - a forward-looking indicator - but its findings echo a slowdown in sale prices in recent months as well.

This shift in the market has come as sharp home price growth has bumped up against relatively flat incomes and still-tight lending standards. Southland markets routinely rank among the nation’s least affordable on measures of housing costs as a share of household income, and market-watchers here say they see many potential buyers priced out after last year’s big run-up.

Asking prices climbed faster in the less-expensive Inland Empire, up 2.4% in the last three months. But even there, the market is throttling down. The Inland Empire recorded 7%-per-quarter price growth last summer.

Trulia also reported that rents in Los Angeles County have climbed 6.1% in the last 12 months, with a typical two-bedroom apartment going for $2,350 a month. That’s 51% of the average local wage, the third highest rate in the country.

Keep an eye on housing and real estate in Southern California. Follow me at @bytimlogan

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