Orange County Real Estate Market Update 8/1/17

The housing market in Orange County has continued to get a little more difficult for home buyers. The inventory of homes for sale has continued to go down over the last few months. So buyers have less options and more competition especially in the lower price ranges. Sellers are getting high prices for their home’s but there are fewer owners choosing to sell. One reason for this is that would-be sellers are not sure they will be able to find a suitable replacement property if they do sell. The uncertainty is really creating a self-fulfilling prophecy where sellers cannot find homes because sellers do not want to list homes. About 30-35% of buyers are opting to buy a home directly from homebuilders because they cannot find what they want on the resale market. The low inventory and high buyer demand is continuing to push prices higher, so far around 5-6% this year.

Amid the lowest housing inventory levels of the year, existing home sales in California took off in June to their highest pace in nearly four years as existing home sales and median home price recorded strong gains on both a monthly and annual basis for the second straight month, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today. “With active listings 13.5 percent lower than last June, we’ve now experienced a full two years in which active listings have fallen on a year-over-year basis and the lowest inventory level this year. Would-be sellers aren’t listing their homes as many of them would also face an inventory challenge if they were to turn around and buy another property.” Says C.A.R. President Geoff McIntosh.

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Orange County Real Estate Market Update 5/2/17

Homeownership in Los Angeles and Orange counties started 2017 at a 2-year high but still ranks among the nation’s worst. In the L.A.-O.C. region, ownership hit 50.1 percent in the first quarter, the third worst share in the U.S. Census Bureau’s quarterly tally of households living in a home they own in 75 large U.S. metro areas. L.A.-O.C. ranked last in ownership in all four quarters of 2016. However, the region’s latest result is an improvement compared with 48.4 percent in the fourth quarter and 49 percent a year ago.

Homeownership is on the rise across much of California as the rate hit 55.1 percent in the first quarter, highest since 2011’s second quarter. Nationally, the state was fourth lowest behind the District of Columbia, New York and Nevada.

Condo owners got some good news recently if they are considering selling. A new housing report shows the typical resale condominium – relatively affordable housing for moderate-income homebuyers – now fetches almost a half-million dollars. In March, the median price of an Orange County resale condo hit $475,000, or $5,000 more than the record set during the housing boom, housing data firm CoreLogic reported Tuesday.

Home loan rates have remained mostly flat over the last month. From Freddie Mac’s weekly survey: The 30-year fixed rate broke the 4 percent barrier, rising 6 basis points and landing at 4.03 percent. The 15-year fixed also was up a bit, averaging 3.27 percent, 4 basis points worse than last week’s 3.23 percent.

 

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Orange County Real Estate Market Update 1/3/17

Happy New Year’s 2017! What do you think will be happening to real estate this year in Orange County? Most predictions have been positive about the real estate outlook in southern California. If economic indicators are any guide, Orange County’s housing market is heading for a fifth straight year of rising home prices, increased sales, more rent hikes and booming home construction.

Orange County home prices are projected to rise 2 percent to 6 percent this year. Home prices in the county have been rising steadily since the housing market turned around in the spring of 2012. According to CoreLogic, prices have been up year over year for 54 straight months, rising $216,000, or 50 percent, from May 2012 to this past May.

Interest rates for a fixed, 30-year mortgage will be 1 percentage point or more above the 2016 average of 3.6 percent. California Realtors forecast in October that mortgage rates would be around 4 percent throughout 2017 but now are revising that estimate, said Jordan Levine, a Realtor economist. He predicts rates could be in the 4.5 percent range this year and possibly as high as 5 percent. So if you’re thinking about buying this year keep in mind the rates are starting to go up so it would be smart to buy before that happens.

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Orange County Real Estate Market Update 10/13/16

Sunset View
The real estate market in Orange County has seen another steady and strong year. The median price of an Orange County home jumped 6.4 percent to $649,000 from year-ago levels, while sales were up a whopping 14.5 percent to 3,633 transactions. Transactions were up across the board: Existing house sales were up 8.8 percent, existing condo sales increased 18.8 percent and sales of new homes of all types soared 46.3 percent above August 2015’s tally. Meanwhile, home prices were up year-over-year for a 52nd consecutive month. The price of an existing house rose 4.4 percent from year-ago levels.

New-home construction in Orange County is on track this year to hit the highest level in 11/2 decades, a new forecast and new building permit data show. And there’s a huge appetite among buyers for all those new houses, townhomes and condos. Sales also are at a 10-year high-water mark. A forecast by the California Homebuilding Foundation’s CIRB report says developers will take out 11,300 building permits in 2016 for new houses, condos and apartments, the most for any year since 2002. New-home sales for January through June were up 146 percent from four years ago, CoreLogic figures show.

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Orange County Real Estate Market Update 7/6/16

Great news to begin your holiday weekend, soon you’ll be able to finance or refinance your love shack with a 30-year fixed for under 3 percent! Thirty-year mortgage rates have never been that low in the 45 years since Freddie Mac began tracking them in 1971. It appears that the economic fallout from ‘Brexit’ will at least have one upside for American home owners and for home buyers requiring financing.

This week the 30-year fixed averaged 3.48 percent, a whopping 8 basis points lower than last week’s 3.56 percent. That’s the lowest rate since May 9, 2013. The 15-year fixed settled in at 2.78 percent, 5 basis points better than last week’s 2.83 percent, and the five-year ARM (an adjustable-rate mortgage that’s fixed for the first five years) fell to 2.70 percent. Both also are at three-year lows!

The recent economic turmoil has left many wondering if the housing market will soon decline. The chance of a widespread drop in local or statewide home prices in the next two years is practically nil, according to a new forecast from a private mortgage insurer. Arch MI’s quarterly housing reports pegs the risk of a price drop based on a host of real estate trends, credit market factors and economic patterns. Recent economic turbulence has raised questions about the durability of housing’s rebound from its collapse and the Great Recession.

Based on first-quarter data, Arch calculated the risk of price drops in all of California – as well as in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside or San Bernardino counties – at a “minimal” 2 percent vs. 5 percent nationwide. A year ago, California’s price-drop risk was 8 percent, equal to the national risk level in 2015’s first quarter. “We see no housing bubble in Southern California,” says Ralph DeFranco, chief economist for Arch MI’s owner, Arch Capital. “Even though homes feel expensive, they are supported by the amount of income people have.”

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South Orange County Real Estate Market Update 8/6/15

Home sales topped $11 billion in Orange County in the first half of this year – the most in a decade. The median sale price hit $629,500 in June, the highest since the housing market peaked in June 2007. Rising employment and economic confidence, a tight supply of homes for sale and low mortgage interest rates have all fueled buyer demand. Foreign investors have played a role, too, real estate agents say, especially where the most dramatic leaps in prices and sales occurred, in the priciest third of the market. There, the median home sale price shot up nearly 22 percent. With equity rising, distressed sales are a distant memory, or, as housing analyst Steven Thomas notes, “nothing more than an asterisk.” In the first half of 2015, he says, equity sellers represented 95 percent of home sales. In the last few weeks the inventory of homes has increase a great deal in some Orange County cities. In Ladera Ranch for example the inventory has increased 45% in the last month.

So what’s going on with home loan rates? From Freddie Mac’s weekly survey: The 30-year fixed dropped below 4 percent for the first time in nearly two months, landing at 3.98 percent. That’s 6 basis points lower than last week’s 4.04 percent. Ditto for the 15-year, dropping 6 basis points to 3.17 percent from last week’s 3.23 percent. What’s the bottom line? Assuming a borrower gets the average 30-year conforming fixed rate on a $417,000 loan, last year’s rate of 4.12 percent and payment of $2,019 is $33 more than this week’s payment of $1,986.

 

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