More of the Same for O.C. Home Prices, Sales

The June DataQuick home-sales numbers for Southern California came out yesterday.  Orange County prices and sales are still showing a downward trend:  Prices were off 23 percent from June of 2007, and the median has slipped to $495,000.  Sales were down, too:  27% less than last year.

But the market is showing signs of life in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, where bargain-hunters are swooping in to snatch up distressed properties.  Sales in S.B. County were up 1.1% vs. June 2007; and RivCo’s were up a whopping 11 percent.  Median prices, however, continued to fall:  Riverside County’s stands at $275,000; San Bernardino County’s, at $240,000 — 31% and 34% less than last June, respectively.socal0608.jpg

The bargain-hunting is reflected in mortgage payment Southern California buyers are agreeing to pay.  From DataQuick’s news release:

The typical monthly mortgage payment that Southland buyers committed themselves to paying was $1,671 last month, down from a $1,713 the previous month, and down from $2,430 a year ago. Adjusted for inflation, the current payment is at its lowest level five years. It’s 34.6 percent below its year-ago level and 22 percent lower than the spring of 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. 

Are we near the bottom?  Here’s DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage’s take on the market, from the L.A. Times’ story:

The housing market “would really be in trouble if these bargain hunters weren’t so active,” DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage said.Without these buyers, homes would languish even longer on the market, leading to steeper price cuts, LePage said. But he cautioned that the uptick in sales activity probably wouldn’t lead to a bump in values in the near-term.“At some point prices stabilize, but that is six to 12 months later easily,” LePage said. “Then you’re also looking at years of relative stagnation” before prices actually rise.”

Christopher Thornburg of Beacon Economics also thinks the market still has room to fall.

By the time the slump is over, home values throughout the region will be down about the same amount — probably 40% to 50% below peak levels, predicts [Thornberg]. Home values in Los Angeles and Orange counties are down roughly 25% from their peaks last year.

“In the places that were harder hit, it’s pretty clear we’re getting close to the bottom,” Thornberg said, but “places like West L.A. — where people said, ‘It can’t happen here’ — are starting to stumble now. It’s a function of time.”

Foreclosures are figuring heavily into sales statistics, according to The Times’ story: 

In Orange County, for instance, foreclosures and short sales constitute the majority of homes for sale in eight cities, among them Aliso Viejo, Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Anaheim, according to an analysis of listing data by Aliso Viejo real estate broker Steven Thomas.Overall, foreclosed homes made up 41.1% of the homes sold in June, the first time the percentage has topped 40% in this real estate cycle. In June 2007, foreclosed homes made up just 7.3% of home sales.

If you’d like to see how a your city fared in June, Jon Lansner’s blog has compiled this table of Orange County sales and prices, broken down by ZIP code. 

Recent Redfin posts:
Orange County Affordability vs. Comfortability
Inventory for Huntington Beach  
Orange:  Real Estate Market Report