Here's an interesting article from the OCRegister on September 18th, 2012. It summarizes what we have been experiencing as agents this year in the Orange County Real Estate Market. Home prices increases, low inventory and a high demand on homes.
Orange County’s median price for existing, single-family homes took a dramatic leap in August, up by nearly 12% from August a year ago, the California Association of Realtors says.
Local home prices also increased 3 percent over July. Sales rose 23 percent over last August in Orange County but were just short of a 2 percent hike over last month.
Statewide, prices also went up, with the median reaching a 4-year-high. Sales hit 5 consecutive months of year-over-year gains, CAR said in its monthly report.
But housing inventory was down by a third from last year.
“A lack of inventory remains an issue, as the housing supply fell more than 30 percent from last year,” C.A.R. President LeFrancis Arnold said.
“Inventory levels are at the lowest levels we’ve seen in seven years, and we are starting to see the supply shortage conditions having a negative impact on sales in the Central Valley and the Inland Empire, where REO properties are in short supply,” he said.
The report showed in Orange County:
The median house price of an existing single-family home (or price at the midpoint of all sales) was $567,710 in August, up 11.6 percent from $508,910 last August and from $551,160 in July.
House sales in O.C. were up 23.4 percent from year-ago levels.
The county’s “inventory” of homes for sale was at a 3.6-month supply, a much quicker pace than 6.6 months last August and beating July’s 4 months. A 6 to 7 -month inventory is considered normal.
Statewide, the report showed:
The median price was $343,820 in August, up 15.5 percent from a revised $297,660 recorded in August 2011, marking the sixth consecutive month of both month-over-month and year-over-year increases.
August’s median price was the highest since August 2008, when it was $352,730. This was the largest year-over-year increase in more than two years.
Sales were up 2.3 percent from 499,880 in August a year ago.
California’s housing inventory went down again in August, with the index for existing, single-family detached homes at 3.2 months compared to 5.2 months August a year ago and 3.5 months in July.
“The median price is gaining in part because of a shift in the mix of what is selling,” C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young said. ”The increasing share of sales in higher-priced coastal markets at the expense of the inventory-scare distressed markets has been the primary factor in fueling the statewide median price.
“While higher-priced markets with a robust economy are experiencing a strong demand in equity sales and posting double-digit year-over-year price increases,” she said, ”sales in lower-priced markets that rely more on distressed properties were stagnant or even declined, as the inventory of REO properties continues to wane.”
DataQuick, which measures all home sales — not just existing, single family homes — reported last week that August was Orange County’s busiest month for sales since 2006. The firm put the median selling price for all homes at $445,000, up 6 percent in a year and the biggest year-over-year price increase since July 2010.