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Orange County homebuying has busiest November in 15 years

Orange County’s homebuying rebound continued with the busiest November in 15 years as historically low interest rates and limited inventory forced house hunters looking for more space into bidding wars.

A study by DQNews of closed transactions in Orange County from November shows …

• 3,302 homes sold, existing and new — highest November tally since 2005; up 19% in a year; and 19% above the previous five year’s average transactions. Year to date there have been 31,326 Orange County purchases — up 2% vs. 2019.

• $799,500 countywide median selling price — up 8.2% over 12 months. Record high? $800,000 set in August. Since the Great Recession, the median is up 24% vs. the bubble-era high.

November was another chapter in homebuying’s odd 2020. Swift autumn sales followed the region’s summertime homebuying reversal from what had been a pandemic-induced chill in spring. The buying binge produced Southern California’s fastest-selling November since 2006, according to the DQNews database.

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

Existing single-family houses: 2,050 sold, up 24.5% in a year. Median of $880,000 — a 12.8% increase over 12 months.

Existing condos: 938 sales, up 39.6% over 12 months. Median of $542,500 — a 7.4% increase in a year.

Newly built: Builders sold 314 new homes, down 29.9% in a year. Median of $962,500 — a 0.8% increase over 12 months.

Builder share: 9.5% of sales vs. 16.2% a year earlier. Orange County builders’ slice of the market ranks No. 3 among SoCal’s six counties.

Price rank: How Orange County’s median compared with Southern California’s five other counties: No. 1 overall; No. 1 for single-family resales; No. 2 for condo resales; and No. 1 for new homes.

How cheap is mortgage money? Rates on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.83% in the three months ending in November vs. 3.66% a year earlier. That translates to house hunters having 11% more buying power thanks to pandemic-era policies by the Federal Reserve.

How thin is the supply? ReportsOnHousing stats show there were 36% fewer homes to buy in Southern California in early December vs. a year earlier.

Around Southern California, according to DQNews’ latest report on closed sales in November …

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Six-county region: 21,777 sold, up 19% over 12 months. Median? $603,000 — a 10.8% increase.

Los Angeles County: 6,707 sold, up 13% over 12 months. Median? $700,000 — a 12.2% increase.

Riverside County: 3,894 sales, up 20.1%. Median? Record-high $455,000 — a 12.3% increase.

San Bernardino County: 2,994 sold, up 25.7%. Median? Record-tying $400,000 — a 14.3% increase.

San Diego County: 3,909 sold, up 23%. Median? Record-tying $650,000 — a 9.3% increase.

Ventura County: 971 sold, up 18.4%. Median? $663,750 — a 14.4% increase.

Source: Orange County Register

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