REAL ESTATE: Straw in the Wind?

In the wartime real-estate boom, prices soared faster and higher on the West Coast than anywhere else (TIME, April 29). But last week there were signs that the boom, which might be a barometer for the rest of the U.S., was leveling off.

"For Sale" signs were appearing on small homes in Los Angeles, and in May there were 5% fewer sales than in April. Prices up 116% over 1940 levels had not yet started down. But banks were becoming cautious. Most of them now held their loans to about 35-50% of the purchase price. Thus buyers had to put up...