J. Lansner of the O.C. Register compared the market trends of the six counties in Southern California. He considered Orange County #1 in healthy, sustainable growth.
“What defines a healthy housing market? To me, it’s rising prices and growing sales activity backed by solid job growth. After the last boom-to-bust cycle, the durability of the upswing is paramount.
My study found that when it comes to housing, as in other areas of the economy, the closer it is to the ocean, the stronger the business climate.
No. 1 Orange
• Median Price, April: $600,000, up 4.2 percent in a year
• Sales, first four months of 2015 vs. previous seven: Up
• Months to sell inventory, as of May 21: 2 vs. 2.61 a year
• Jobless rate, April: 4.4 percent vs. 5.5 percent a year ago
The region’s healthiest market saw its median selling price reach the highest point since August 2007 – within 7 percent of the old, bubble-inflated peak. No Southern California county is closer to record high pricing.
Home sales in the first four months of the year were up 4 percent vs. 2014; it was the fastest start to a year since 2006; and Orange County posted the biggest sales increase, compared with its seven-year average, of all the Southern California counties.
Sales of old problems in Orange County are minimal. Just 3 percent of listed homes are categorized as “distressed properties,” the smallest share of any county in Southern California.
And powering the surge is the lowest unemployment rate in the region at 4.4 percent.
Yes, Orange County will stretch any house hunter’s wallet with the region’s highest prices and lowest affordability (22 percent).
But an above-average rate of home purchases amid a hiring spree seems very sustainable…”