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Mid-Year Report for OC Real Estate

Brandywine - Lakehouse

Some of the charms of OC real estate become apparent once you set foot within the county line: limitless fair weather during almost any season, shopping malls and boutiques to cater to every taste, cultural opportunities ranging from museums to events, and a multitude of restaurants highlighting food from around the world.

Other advantages require research or insider knowledge: a thriving economydiverse industries, a crime rate that is lower than the state average, and excellent educational opportunities up to the college level. These factors have contributed to a housing market that’s glowing hot this year but with some challenges, according to the Orange County Register.


The median house price for the county was $657,500, up 4.6 percent, or $29,000, over the same period last year.

  • This is the second month in a row that the amount exceeded the previous median high for the county, which was $645,000 in June 2007.
  • About 18,470 homes were sold, an increase of 2.4 percent over the first six months of 2015.
  • But this is no frenzied buying so there’s no need to worry about a housing bubble bursting. Sales from 2013 to 2016 were still slower by 30 percent compared to 2007 to 2012.

Over a quarter of all Orange County homes were built from 1970 to 1979, says Sperling’s Best Places.

  • About 15.81 percent went up during the 1980s and just over 13 percent were constructed from 1950 to 1959.
  • Only 0.24 percent of housing units were newer than 2010. New home sales were up by 22.1 percent, which amounts to 2,141 more units compared to last year.

About 23.7 percent of homes were bought with cash, down 26.1 percent from last year.

  • The cheapest sale was a 475-sq.-ft. home in Trabuco Canyon built in 1933 for $140,000.
  • At the top end was a 2,100-sq-ft. beauty with elevator on Balboa Island, which went for $3.77 million, after being marked down from its original listing price of $5.49 million in 2010.


A consequence of the high home prices and perhaps one of the reasons that push people to buy are the high rents. The average monthly payment was $1,770, up 3.6 percent of $62 over the past year. A 7,200 sq.-ft. house in Laguna Beach that overlooks the Pacific and comes with a personal chef goes for $150,000 a month.

Only about 53.6 percent of OC properties for rent are considered affordable, which is a drop from the 64.3 percent of last year. In fact, the county placed second for lowest affordability when compared with 25 other markets in the country.


Home buyers are getting the money to afford these high prices from their jobs. Among 58 of the California counties, Orange County ranks 7th best with an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent, compared to:

  • 5.9 percent for the state,
  • 3.4 percent for top-ranked San Mateo
  • And 24.2 percent for bottom-ranked Imperial.

This is according to the state Economic Development Department.

Most jobs are in hospitality and tourism with 101,692 total projected openings in the county, business services at 79,749, retail at 62,578, and health care at 53,572.

The highest-paying jobs with openings are for 117 general and operations managers at a median annual $115, 416, and 83 farmers and other agricultural managers at a median $106,180 per year.

Yorba Linda

Yorba Linda, where we have many of our developments, shows a median home value of $796,600, or $372 a square foot, says Zillow, which is an increase of 5.9 percent over the previous year. This value includes both homes for sale and those that are not on the market.

The median rent runs $3,100 per month, compared to $2,636 in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metro area, and $1,312 for the nation. Don’t expect bargains: today very few homes have negative equity and delinquent mortgages are more rare.

If you want to know more about the local housing market, or want to check out our property developments in person, please contact us.