Orange County Home Prices Jumped at a Rate Equal to $13 an Hour

By Lucas Smith | June 8, 2021

Low mortgage rates fueled demand just as a wave of young adults enter key homebuying years. Plus, vaccinations helped lower coronavirus risks and trimmed the pandemic’s broad economic challenges. As a result, price records tumbled in a buying pace last seen well before the Great Recession.

DQNews/CoreLogic’s report on closed transactions in Orange County from April shows …

Prices: The countywide median of $872,750 median was up $117,750 or 16% over 12 months. Over 10 years, gains averaged 7.2% annually. The latest median breaks the record of $835,000 set in March.https://63d0be3cb1a4bf9bbc86ac1fb5fd30ec.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Past 12 months? Six records set. That $117,750 gain equals appreciation of $13 in each hour of the past year.

Sales: 3,920 existing and new residences sold — up 98% from lockdown-scarred April 2020. It was 2005 when April had more sales. Last month was 30% above the 10-year average buying pace for an April.

Past 12 months? 38,712 Orange County purchases — up 13.8% above the previous 12 months and 11.4% above the 10-year average.Too hot? Check “Bubble Watch” columns by clicking here.

Here’s a look into key slices of Orange County data for April …

Existing single-family houses: 2,549 sold, up 108% in a year. Median of $988,500 — a 19% increase over 12 months.

Existing condos: 1,097 sales, up 91% over 12 months. Median of $615,000 — a 14% increase in a year.

Newly built: Builders sold 274 new homes, up 51% in a year. Median of $975,000 — a 6.6% decline over 12 months.

Builder share: 7% of sales vs. 9.2% 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 2.98% in the three months ending in April vs. 3.41% a year earlier. That translates to 6% more buying power for house hunters.

At these rates, a buyer with 20% down would pay $2,937 a month on the $872,750 median sale vs. $2,681 on last year’s $755,000 median. So during the past year, the typical house payment is 10% pricier.

How swift is the purchasing pace? Homes sold averaged just eight days on the market in the Inland Empire; 10 days in Los Angeles and Orange counties, Zillow reported.

So is this market risk free? By one calculation, the Inland Empire is the nation’s fourth-riskiest market. Los Angeles-Orange County was No. 32 of 47 metros studied.Sign up for Home Stretch newsletter by clicking here.

Around Southern California, according to DQNews’ latest report on closed sales in April compared to the pandemic-slowed year-ago period …

Six-county region: 25,857 sold, up 86% over 12 months. Median? record $655,000 — a 20% increase.

Los Angeles County: 8,381 sold, up 101% Median? record $750,000 — a 19% increase.

Riverside County: 4,669 sales, up 81%. Median? record $489,750 — a 20% increase.

San Bernardino County: 3,347 sold, up 67%. Median? record $436,500 — a 24% increase.

San Diego County: 4,347 sold, up 74%. Median? record $700,000 — an 18% increase.

Ventura County: 1,193 sold, up 82%. Median? $705,000 — an 18% increase.

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