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The Big (real estate) Chill

Largest housing market may be slumping

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The sky isn't falling, say Southern California real estate experts, but the housing market is definitely coming back down to earth. Inventory is creeping up, price increases are slowing down, and the prolonged housing boom may finally be showing its age. The inventory of listed homes has doubled and even tripled in some parts of the Los Angeles basin.   "California's house prices have gone through the roof, especially in Southern California. This is a boom, a huge boom. And booms don't usually last for a long period of time, " said Kenneth Rosen, chairman of Rosen Consulting Group in Berkeley. Russ Bergeron, general manager of SoCalMLS, said the inventory has probably doubled in the past six months, with for-sale properties spending more time on the market. "If interest rates go up and prices don't go down, this could quickly turn from a seller's market to a buyer's market," he said. Michael Davin, executive vice president for CataList Homes of Hermosa Beach, Calif., said that in...