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Everything You Need To Know About Orange County's Housing Market
Real Estate

Everything You Need To Know About Orange County's Housing Market

Learn about median home prices and market predictions for the Orange County housing market. Is it better to rent or buy in the O.C.?

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4 min read

January 08, 2022

When it comes to entering your new home, very few pleasures compete. And this is especially true if you just bought the house of your dreams in none other than Orange County. Potential buyers thinking of moving to the O.C. could be looking for many things when buying a house; they can find oceanfront cities and hillside towns filled with spacious properties a stone’s throw away from the best Mother Nature has to offer. Whether they’re looking for the most luxurious or affordable cities to live in Orange County, the housing market boasts various home styles to choose from, making anyone and everyone gravitate towards this SoCal paradise.

In Southern California, Orange County has the lowest percentage number in the California Association of Realtors' affordability index.

Orange County Housing Market Predictions and Trends 

Inventory

With only 2,079 single-family homes being sold as of September 2021, inventory in Orange County is said to have dropped 18.7 percent as compared to a year before. Low inventory all over the O.C.—and the entire state for that matter—has created more bidding wars and made multiple offers on the same property a commonplace activity. The low active listings are also a sign of a seller’s market, but more on that later.

Buyer Demand 

Buyer demand is still outpacing supply, which is why homes are flying off the market quickly with an average of only 21 days spent on the market. It’s safe to say that if you need to obtain property, it’s better to act fast, that is if Orange County housing prices fit your financial bracket, of course.

Only 17 percent of households would be able to purchase a median-priced single-family home ($1.1 million) in Orange County.

Median Orange County Housing Prices

Considering housing inventory hit record lows and that the demand is so high, the price increase in median house value is an inevitable notion. The median housing price in Orange County is currently $944,340, which is an increase of 21.8 percent year over year.

Highlight of Luxury

If you’re wondering what Orange County home prices are by city, a quick browse at Zillow will help clear that up. However, if you want to know about the O.C. 's most luxe area and its prices, we suggest you take a look at the stats of sparkling Newport Beach. The median home price for Newport Beach is $2,871,770, with inventory that’s only half of what it was this time last year, but there are significantly more houses sold. And when it comes to luxury homes, it’s worth noting that because of their price tag, they tend to sit on the market for several months longer.

In October 2021, Orange County home prices were up 15.7 percent compared to last year, selling for a median price of $920,000.

Orange County Housing Forecast: Sellers Market?

Let’s see what we know so far—inventory is low, prices are rising, higher buyer demand helped along by low-interest rates has the market flooding with house hunters. It’s a hot seller’s market; no question about it. Homeowners are selling in days, capturing top dollar for their properties because they are all in such high demand.

And sure, a lot of places in California have been seller’s markets before, but this one in Orange County is quite historic. Move-up buyers and those looking to downsize are in a particularly advantageous position because of the low mortgage rates—they help you ensure that you can sell your home and secure an amazingly low rate on your dream property, now more comfortable than ever.

On average, homes in Orange County sell after 32 days on the market compared to 39 days last year.

Is it Better to Rent or Buy in Orange County?

If you want to flesh out a ‘best course of action’ when it comes to Orange County’s real estate market, there’s no better indicator than mortgage rates. And there is a bit of good news for buyers—rates are still low despite positive economic data. So while deciding whether it’s best to buy or rent is a personal decision, low mortgage rates are a sign that it’s financially wise to stop renting and purchase a home.

To help you decide on whether or not you’d like to purchase, here are a few things to consider when buying a house:

1. How long are you actually planning to stay in O.C.?

If you prefer the flexibility to pick and move any time you’d like (California’s housing market offers a lot of amazing places to live in so we don’t blame you), it’s probably financially smarter to continue renting. But if you’ve fallen in love with the perfect weather and the great mix of entertainment and relaxation, then put down your roots and purchase a property. As the saying goes, “Don’t wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate, and wait.” The general rule of thumb is five years—if you know you’ll be staying that long, then that allows you enough time to enjoy your home, make it your own, and build a hefty amount of equity. Remember to keep in mind when’s the best time to sell a house in Southern California, so that you can make enough profit off of it. 

Considering housing inventory hit record lows and demand is so high, the price increase is inevitable across Orange County.

2. What are your current monthly costs?

Just because you can afford a monthly mortgage payment doesn’t mean you can afford a home with all of its maintenance costs.

3. Can you afford a downpayment?

The biggest upfront cost and hurdle of homeownership is the downpayment. Luckily, California offers a surprising amount of assistance programs that gift buyers up to five percent.

4. What kind of lifestyle are you envisioning?

No one wants to be spending all of their money on mortgage payments and maintenance with no room to enjoy your life. So when calculating whether or not you can afford to buy instead of renting, make sure you take discretionary spending into account. However, if you’re the type who enjoys hosting events like Friendsgiving, board game nights, and weekly dinner parties, spending on a home where you can entertain makes a great deal of sense.

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