Orange County’s real estate market appears to be in trouble again, as both the median sales price of a single family property and the volume of sales decreased in the most recent tracking period. According to statistics released by MDA DataQuick, which tracks median prices in a number of major metropolitan areas, the median price in San Diego for February 2011 declined by 1.2% compared to January’s levels. While January 2011 had a median sales price of $415,000, February had a median of $5,000 less than January, which was also about 2% less than year ago levels. Orange County’s median sales price seems especially low compared to the peak of the market, which was reached in 2007. Three and a half years ago, the median sales price was $645,000, a full 36% higher than February 2011. On the bright side, the median price seen in February 2011 was about 12% higher than the lowest part of the current housing cycle. Orange County, which generally has much higher housing prices than the rest of the Southern California real estate market, saw a median sales price change roughly the same as rest of the market.
There were substantially fewer property sales in February 2011 compared to last year, and slightly fewer relative to January’s figures. According to statistics reported by the Orange County Business Journal, there were roughly 0.6% less property sales in Southern California during February 2011 compared to January, while there were about 6% fewer than in February 2010. One bright spot in the Orange County housing market was the decreased (albeit still substantial) influence of foreclosures on the local market. Foreclosures accounted for 37% of resold properties in February 2011, representing a decrease of 42% from February 2010. On the other hand, short sales were approximately 20% of Orange County’s resale market in February. This may the result of increased numbers of buyers deciding to put their distressed properties on the market instead of finishing the foreclosure process. Additionally, a substantial portion (nearly 32 percent) of the region’s sales was purchased by cash, the highest amount in at least twenty years.