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Orange County home prices slip off record high to $900,000

Despite rising sales, Orange County’s home prices slipped from record highs.

Southern California home prices dipped in August from July — the first decline since January. Sales slowed, too. With that backdrop of cooling summer sales regionally, here are 12 must-watch trends my trusty spreadsheet found within DQNews/CoreLogic’s report on closed transactions in August for Orange County …

1. Sales: 3,708 existing and new residences sold — up 1% from July and up 5% from August 2020.

2. Context: You have to go back to 2017 to find any August with more sales. Last month was 12% above the 10-year average buying pace for August. The monthly sales increase was well below the average August pace of 3.9% since 1988. Historically, August sale rose from July 65% of the time.

3. Past 12 months? 42,690 Orange County sales — 32% above the previous 12 months and 23% above the 10-year average.

4. Prices: The countywide $900,000 median for all homes was up 13% over 12 months. Record high? $905,000 set in July.

5. Context: Over 10 years, price gains averaged 7.9% annually. The latest 12-month gain tops 78% of price increases the since 1988.

6. Past 12 months? Six records set. The median’s $100,000 increase equals an $11.42 gain every hour over 12 months.

Here’s a look at key slices of Orange County data for August …

7. Existing single-family houses: 2,376 sold, up 3% in a year. Median of $1,025,000 — a 16% increase over 12 months.

8. Existing condos: 1,055 sales, up 8% over 12 months. Median of $650,000 — an 18% increase in a year.

9. Newly built: Builders sold 277 new homes, up 8% in a year. Median of $1,008,250 — a 9% increase over 12 months.

10. Builder share: 7.5% of sales vs. 7.2% a year earlier. Orange County builders’ slice of the market ranks No. 3 among SoCal’s six counties.

And the bigger picture …

11. Rates: How cheap is money? Rates on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.9% in the three months ending in August vs. 3.04% a year earlier. That translates to 2% more buying power for house hunters.

At these rates, an Orange County buyer with 20% down would pay $2,996 a month on the $900,000 median sale vs. $2,711 on last year’s $800,000 median. So during the past year, the typical house payment is 10% pricier.

12. Supply: The number of Southern California homes for sale has been ticking upward steadily since February, rising 18% through August, Zillow figures show.

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

Six-county region: 24,565 sold, down 2% for the month, but up 8% in a year. Median? record $680,000 — a 14% increase.

Los Angeles County: 7,799 sold, down 5% for the month, but up 14% in a year. Median? $785,000 — a 13% increase.

Riverside County: 4,271 sales, down 3% for the month, but up 6% in a year. Median? record-tying $525,000 — a 19% increase.

San Bernardino County: 3,409 sold, up 4% for the month, up 9% in a year. Median? record $465,000 — a 22% increase.

San Diego County: 4,267 purchases, down 4% for the month, but up 3% in a year. Median? $725,000 — a 13% increase.

Ventura County: 1,111 sold, down 4% for the month, but up 1% in a year. Median? record $740,250 — a 15% increase.

Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at

Source: Orange County Register

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