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Year-End Reasons for Living in Orange County Homes


Seabright in Costa Mesa, Centrally Located Townhomes in Orange County

Seabright in Costa Mesa, Centrally Located Townhomes in Orange County


While we like to think that Brandywine quality is reason enough to buy one of our Orange County homes, it’s not the sole reason you may want to stay in the area. You still have to live and, preferably, work in the OC, and have your kids go to school. Fortunately, many year-end statistics have just come out that celebrate your decision to move here. Use them to feel good about your recent purchase or to prompt you into finally buying your dream home.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, non-farm employment for the county is up by 2.5 percent in the 12 months ending November 2015. The biggest gains were for jobs in construction at 9.6 percent, other services at 4.7 percent, government at 3.6 percent, and manufacturing and education/health services, which were both at 2.6 percent. The unemployment rate for Orange County, as of October 2015, is 4.3 percent, which is lower than the Los Angeles County rate of 5.9 percent and lower than California’s 5.8 percent.


According to Zillow, the median home value in Orange County has increased by 5.3 percent over the past year to $633,900 with a predicted 1.9 percent increase for the next year. The real estate market is considered very healthy because only 6.6 percent of homes have negative equity compared to the US average of 14.4 percent. Only one out of every 10,000 homes are foreclosed on in the OC, compared to a rate of 2 for Los Angeles County and 3 for the US.

  • Yorba Linda shows the same yearly increase to a median $745,700 with a higher predicted increase of 1.7 percent for the next year. The market is also very healthy with only 4.9 percent of homes with negative equity.
  • For Costa Mesa, the yearly increase is greater at 7.3 percent with a 2.1 percent predicted rise next year. This very healthy market shows that only 4.9 percent of homes have negative equity.

As you know, the Feds have recently raised interest rates, which have not yet been reflected in mortgage rates for Southern California. Averages for a 30-year fixed mortgage with 20 percent down, no points, and a credit score of 740 or greater range from 3.78 to 4.3 percent APR. This compares to a national average of 4.09 percent. If you haven’t bought your new home yet, don’t wait until the rates are up.


The California Department of Education produces an Academic Performance Index (API) report for individual schools in the state, segregated by county. (Note, however, that it does not compile statistics at the state, county, or city level.) The latest three-year weighted average report ends in 2013. Scores can range from 200 to 1,000 with a state goal of 800.

  • For comparison, the highest score of 992 belongs to Oxford Academy and the lowest score of 442 goes to Community Day Intermediate and High School. Both schools are part of┬áthe Anaheim Union High School District.
  • For the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, the top mark of 948 goes to Golden Elementary and the lowest score of 588 belongs to El Camino Real Continuation High School.
  • For the Newport Mesa School District, which covers Costa Mesa, the highest score of 953 goes to Roy O. Andersen Elementary. The lowest rating of 577 goes to Back Bay High.

Note that California law lets you request transfers to school within your school district and the school must take your kids if space exists. Preferences go to parents who work or have child care in the area or who already have kids in the requested school. Lotteries are held if too many students apply.

If you want to know more from a local about what makes living in Orange County great or want to tour one of our housing developments, please contact us.