Orange County Real Estate Market Update 9/5/17

The housing market in southern California remains strong but seem to be loosing some of it’s steam and slowing slightly. This is a good thing considering how low the home inventory has remained throughout the year. Hopefully the slight slow down will be a chance for buyers to see more home’s on the market before they go into escrow.

Orange County’s red-hot housing market cooled in July — but only slightly, new housing figures released Tuesday, Aug. 29, show. The median price of an Orange County home — or price at the midpoint of all sales — dipped to $690,000 last month, the Irvine-based real estate data firm reported. That is down from the all-time high of $695,000 reached in May and June, CoreLogic figures show. But last month’s median still was up $50,500, or 7.9 percent, from July 2016.

Sales, meanwhile, also cooled somewhat from this past spring’s home buying frenzy. CoreLogic reported 3,278 houses, condos and townhomes changed hands last month. That’s 21 units shy of the July 2016 tally, a decrease of 0.6 percent year over year. Last month’s sales drop could have been caused by a jump in transactions to an 11-year high in June, said CoreLogic Research Analyst Andrew LePage. “The drop-off in activity suggests that late-spring homebuyers burned through a sizable chunk of an already tight inventory of homes for sale, which then constrained July sales,” he said. Jordan Levine, senior economist for the California Association of Realtors, said the July market is repeating a story that has been playing out in the region for the last four years. “There’s far more demand than supply,” Levine said. “At the same time, unemployment came down and incomes are coming up. That’s a recipe for higher prices.”

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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 7/5/17

The Orange County real estate market has continued to climb over the last few months. A surge in home buying pushed Orange County home prices to a record high for a second straight month, curbing affordability more as buyers compete for a limited number of available houses and condos. The median price of an Orange County home — or price at the midpoint of all sales — soared in May to $695,000, up $20,000 in a month, real estate data firm CoreLogic reported Wednesday. That’s also up $43,500 or 6.7 percent from a year earlier. Sales, meanwhile, increased 1.9 percent from May 2016 to 3,682 transactions last month, aided by still-low mortgage rates. Last month’s sales tally was the highest for a May in four years. Orange County home prices have gone up on a year-over-year basis for 61 consecutive months, climbing $260,000, or 65 percent.

Despite the Fed rate hike, home loan rates have remained flat over the last month. From Freddie Mac’s weekly survey: The 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.88 percent, improving 2 basis points from last week’s 3.90 percent and dropping to the lowest rate since November. The 15-year fixed averaged 3.17 percent, unchanged from last week.

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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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Orange County Real Estate Market Update 3/1/16

The National Association of Realtors said that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index fell 2.5 percent to 106 in January. The decline comes after the sales index averaged 108.9 in 2015, its highest level since 2006. The number of signed contracts decreased in the Northeast, Midwest and West. Prospective sales improved slightly in the South. But a shortage of listings has weighed down the potential for sales increases akin to last year’s increase. Steady job growth and low mortgage rates have bolstered demand for housing from the recent lows caused by the Great Recession. Yet the greater demand largely failed to bring more properties onto the market. The number of listings on the market in January fell 2.2 percent from a year ago, the Realtors said in a report last week.

Offsetting some of the price pressures are mortgage rates near historic lows. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.62 percent last week, below its 3.80 percent mark a year ago.


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