Orange County’s median home price soared in the past year at a rate equal to $13.44 an hour.
Low mortgage rates fueled demand just as a wave of young adults enter key homebuying years. Plus, vaccinations helped lower coronavirus risks and trimmed the pandemic’s broad economic challenges. As a result, price records tumbled in a buying pace last seen well before the Great Recession.
DQNews/CoreLogic’s report on closed transactions in Orange County from April shows …
Prices: The countywide median of $872,750 median was up $117,750 or 16% over 12 months. Over 10 years, gains averaged 7.2% annually. The latest median breaks the record of $835,000 set in March.
Past 12 months? Six records set. That $117,750 gain equals appreciation of $13.44 in each hour of the past year.
Sales: 3,920 existing and new residences sold — up 98% from lockdown-scarred April 2020. It was 2005 when April had more sales. Last month was 30% above the 10-year average buying pace for an April.
Past 12 months? 38,712 Orange County purchases — up 13.8% above the previous 12 months and 11.4% above the 10-year average.
Here’s a look into key slices of Orange County data for April …
Existing single-family houses: 2,549 sold, up 108% in a year. Median of $988,500 — a 19% increase over 12 months.
Existing condos: 1,097 sales, up 91% over 12 months. Median of $615,000 — a 14% increase in a year.
Newly built: Builders sold 274 new homes, up 51% in a year. Median of $975,000 — a 6.6% decline over 12 months.
Builder share: 7% of sales vs. 9.2% a year earlier. Orange County builders’ slice of the market ranks No. 3 among SoCal’s six counties.
How cheap is money? Rates on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.98% in the three months ending in April vs. 3.41% a year earlier. That translates to 6% more buying power for house hunters.
At these rates, a buyer with 20% down would pay $2,937 a month on the $872,750 median sale vs. $2,681 on last year’s $755,000 median. So during the past year, the typical house payment is 10% pricier.
How swift is the purchasing pace? Homes sold averaged just eight days on the market in the Inland Empire; 10 days in Los Angeles and Orange counties, Zillow reported.
So is this market risk free? By one calculation, the Inland Empire is the nation’s fourth-riskiest market. Los Angeles-Orange County was No. 32 of 47 metros studied.
Around Southern California, according to DQNews’ latest report on closed sales in April compared to the pandemic-slowed year-ago period …
Six-county region: 25,857 sold, up 86% over 12 months. Median? record $655,000 — a 20% increase.
Los Angeles County: 8,381 sold, up 101% Median? record $750,000 — a 19% increase.
Riverside County: 4,669 sales, up 81%. Median? record $489,750 — a 20% increase.
San Bernardino County: 3,347 sold, up 67%. Median? record $436,500 — a 24% increase.
San Diego County: 4,347 sold, up 74%. Median? record $700,000 — an 18% increase.
Ventura County: 1,193 sold, up 82%. Median? $705,000 — an 18% increase.
Jonathan Lansner is the business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at email@example.com