O.C. Home Buying Trends

The latest glance at November homebuying trends for Orange County — DataQuick’s stats for the 22 business days ended Nov . 14 show …

  • $410,000 median selling price that is -29.4% vs. a year ago and -36% below June 2007’s peak of $645,000. Last time homes were this cheap? June 2003.
  • 90% of the O.C. ZIPs have losses or no price gain in past year; the 8 lone winners being: Irvine 92612 (+2.6%); Corona del Mar 92625 (+3.4%) ; Laguna Beach 92651 ( +3.8%); Fullerton 92831 (+4.4%) ; Fountain Valley 92708 (+6.6%); Huntington Beach 92646 (+7.2%); Irvine 92618 (+11.7%); and Villa Park 92861 (+14.9%)
  • Shoppers bought 2,610 O.C. residences in the period, +57.9% above the year-ago buying activity. (Since ‘88, monthly sales averaged 3,700 per month.)
  • Last month will likely be the 5th consecutive month of year-over-over year sales gains. That’s a noteworthy switch from the previous 33 months where sales fell, year-over-year.

The inventory is also shleavesrinking in many areas. In South Orange County, the number of distressed properties available has decreased. These homes also tend to sell faster and receive multiple offers.  Homes priced in the median range are also selling well since the supply of homes in this price range is only around 4 months; this would typify an average market. We have about a 6.5 month supply of homes priced from $500,000 to $1,000,000; a slight bias to the buyer.

Will the government step in and actually buy down interest rates  to 4.5% for qualified buyers? If they do, this could provide just the incentive needed for those potential buyers that have been waiting it out to actually make their move. This would further decrease the housing supply and help put a bottom under the market.  Earlier in the year when the government adjusted the conforming loan limits (which had the same effect as buying down interst rates), the market saw a mini-boom in re-fi’s and home purchases.  This led to the short-lived “bottom ” we experienced in August and early September.

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