Orange County’s Housing: $820,000 Record Price, Most Sales in 15 Years

Monday, April 12, 2021

Main News Photo

(Orange County Register)

Orange County’s homebuying binge continued in February with sales up 13% and prices increasing 9.6% over 12 months to a record high.

The selling spree came as recovery quickened from the pandemic’s broad economic challenges. Interest rates remained low but are rising. Severely limited housing inventory also hindered house hunters seeking new or larger living spaces.

Here’s a look at DQNews/CoreLogic’s report on February’s closed transactions in the county …

Sales: 2,725 residences sold, existing and new — up 13% in a year. The last time the county had more sales in February was 2006.

Sales in the past 12 months totaled 35,692, up 3.3% above the previous 12 months and 2.6% above the average since 2010.

The past year’s share of overall Southern California sales was 14.9%, equal to the average since 2010.

Prices: The countywide median of $820,000 was up 9.6% over 12 months. Over 10 years, the gains have averaged 6.8% annually.

The latest median breaks the record of $800,000 set last August. Since the Great Recession, pricing has risen 27% vs. the 2000’s bubble-era high.

Existing single-family houses: 1,671 sold, up 11% in a year. Median of $910,000 — a 10% increase over 12 months.

Existing condos: 805 sales, up 20% over 12 months. Median of $595,000 — a 13% increase in a year.

Newly built: Builders sold 249 new homes, up 8% in a year. Median of $925,000 — a 10.1% increase over 12 months.

Builder share: 9.1% of sales vs. 9.6% a year earlier. Orange County builders’ slice of the market ranks No. 3 among SoCal’s six counties.

How cheap is money? Rates on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.74% in the three months ending in February vs. 3.6% a year earlier. That translates to house hunters having 12% more buying power.

At these rates, a buyer with 20% down would pay $2,676 a month on the $820,000 median-priced home vs. $2,725 on last year’s $749,000 median. So during the past year, the typical house payment is 2% cheaper.

How thin is the housing supply? Realtor.com data shows inventory in Los Angeles and Orange counties was down 20% in the year ended in March — and that was the fourth-smallest drop among the nation’s 50 biggest housing markets. The Inland Empire’s listings were off 65% fewer listings, the seventh-biggest drop of the 50.

Around Southern California, according to DQNews’ latest report on closed sales in February compared to a year earlier …

Six-county region: 18,344 sold, up 17.6% over 12 months. Median? $619,750 — a record high — after a 15% increase.

Los Angeles County: 5,667 sold, up 19.1% Median? $708,500 — a 14% increase.

Riverside County: 3,445 sales, up 18.3%. Median? $465,000 — record high — a 17% increase.

San Bernardino County: 2,451 sold, up 21.5%. Median? $412,000 — record high — an 18% increase.

San Diego County: 3,231 sold, up 13.8%. Median? $672,750 — record high — a 15% increase.

Ventura County: 825 sold, up 23.9%. Median? $650,000 — a 13% increase.

Category: Housing