The Irvine real estate market has been experiencing a substantial drop-off following the expiration of the federal housing tax credit. However, the Orange County economy does not appear to be headed for a double-dip recession, boosting hopes that the Irvine housing market will soon return to positive territory. According to an August 24, 2010 article from the Orange County Register, "Homebuyers signed just 99 contracts to buy a new Orange County home in June, the lowest number since the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday slowdown last fall, according to Costa Mesa-based Hanley Wood Market Intelligence. That’s down 35% from the number of new home sales contracts signed in June 2009 and down a third from May’s new-homebuying activity. A 92% drop in condo sales is a chief factor in the decline. But the weak economy and the end of federal tax credits likely played a roll, too. For example, sales at builders’ tracts were down across all housing types in June: Single-family homes: 62 sales contracts signed, down 12.7% from June 2009’s total of 71 and down 33.3% from May’s 93 units. Condos: Just three new condos went into escrow in June, a 92% decline from the previous year’s tally of 37 units. In May, buyers signed 28 condo contracts. Townhomes: 34, down 22.7% from June 2009’s total of 44, but up 30.8% from May’s 26 units. All new homes: 99, vs. 152 in June 2009 and 147 in May. Prices: Median prices were up for all housing types from year-ago prices. However, the median price of newly built homes fell 12.2% from May’s levels, drawn down by a decline in new house prices."
Despite these negative numbers, it is possible that more investors will be interested in Irvine homes for sale if the economy continues to grow. An August 26, 2010 report also from the Orange County Register noted that "After a spurt earlier in the year, Orange County's economic recovery is slowing but it is unlikely to fall into a double-dip recession, Wells Fargo Bank's senior economist said today. Will helping business boost jobs? Scott A. Anderson told a Wells Fargo breakfast group in Irvine that he expects local employment to decline 0.2% this year — not good but better than the -7.4% in 2009. Next year, however, he predicts hiring in Orange County will grow at a 1.6% pace, outperforming the state, which will see 1.1% job growth."