By JONATHAN LANSNER / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER June 15th 2012
With a tight supply of homes for sale – and shoppers actually buying – we were bound to see hints that prices could be rebounding, too.
Curiously, we’re seeing this strength most at the upper end of the market.
Orange County sellers of higher-end homes are raising price to levels not seen in 20 months, as discounts still are the norm at the more affordable end of the spectrum.
A slightly different view of the Orange County housing market from DeptofNumbers.com, formerly HousingTracker.net, tracks trends in asking prices from brokers’ MLS system of homes for sale. In addition, DeptofNumbers breaks down its data into a pair of neat markers — the 25th and 7th percentiles. This lets us see how the market’s upper crust and more modest abodes are faring. From the May report we see …
At the 75th percentile — the median of the upper half of the price spectrum of local homes for sale …
• Selling price was $683,250 — that is up 4.4 percent vs. the previous month and up 3.2 percent vs. a year ago.
• This is the 4th straight monthly gain and the 2nd straight year-over-year increase since declines started after March 2010.
•This is the highest asking price since October 2010.
• Over two years, we’ve seen 5.4 percent increases in prices set by sellers of these upper-crust local homes. Cuts are 24.2 percent over five years.
At the 25th percentile — the median of the lower half of the price spectrum of local homes for sale…
•Selling price was $293,250 — that is up 1.39 percent vs. the previous month. This is the 4th consecutive month-to-month gain in pricing at the lower end.
•The latest 25th percentile price is down 2.0 percent vs. a year ago.
•This is the 18th consecutive year-over-year cut in asking prices for these more “affordable” homes.
•Still, this is the highest asking price since August.
•Over two years, we’ve seen 7.0 percent decreases in prices set by sellers of these more affordable local homes. Cuts are 41.2 percent over five years.
The gap between these two price points is widening: It was 133 percent vs. 126 percent the previous month and 121 percent a year earlier. The gap peaked at 167 percent in June and July 2009. The overall Orange County median listing price, by this math, was $431,975 — that is up 3.5 percent vs. the previous month and 0.7 percent vs. a year ago.
Another measure also shows Orange County real estate’s upper crust enjoying a rebound.
As the theoretical time needed to sell the entire Orange County listed housing supply was cut in half in two years, pricier markets were atop the list of Orange County’s most-improved home market.
One key factor tracked in the O.C. home inventory report from Steve Thomas of ReportsOnHousing.com is market time — a comparison of the supply of homes for sale vs. new purchase deals inked in past month.
Countywide, market time saw a two-year drop of 1.64 months to 1.53 months in the time to theoretically sell all for-sale homes at the current buying pace. Basically, the market is twice as fast today as it was two years ago.
When we looked at the latest report at the town level — looking at the two-year trend, as of June 7 – the most improved O.C. town, in terms of change in market time in months in the past two years is Villa Park.
It enjoyed a drop in of 5.13 months to 3.33 months in the time to theoretically sell all for-sale homes at the current buying pace. Next was Newport Beach with a drop of 4.91 months to 3.43 months. Third? Laguna Beach with a drop of 4.91 months to 5.59 months.
Other high-end markets among these rapidly improving towns was Corona Del Mar (fifth, with a drop of 2.72 months to 3.73 months); Huntington Beach (seventh with a drop of 2.33 months to 1.68 months.) and at No. 8, Yorba Linda — a drop of 2.27 months to 1.71 months.