Skittish investors and a rapidly declining economy have stymied the once brisk buying and selling of small businesses in the region.

The small entrepreneur has been squeezed by Wall Street’s financial crisis, making it difficult for business owners to retire or simply swap businesses.

Business owners have found their companies are worth less because of slack sales due to the recession. And, since September, buyers have discovered it’s difficult to secure financing. Business brokers and industry watchers report that fewer deals are being done, they’re taking nearly twice as long to close and many are falling through.

Locally, the median asking price for a business in the Boston area was $199,000 during the fourth quarter of 2008, down about 9 percent from $219,000 during the same period in 2007, according to BizBuySell, an online small business marketplace in San Francisco.

Boston Business Journal