The Irvine real estate market, part of the larger Orange County housing market, is seeing a possible dip in foreclosure activity in upcoming months as well as fewer home sales. According to one expert from RealtyTrac, there have been fewer foreclosures and mortgage defaults throughout Orange County in recent months. There are also indications that this encouraging trend may continue into the New Year as a result of a relatively strong unemployment rate and lower rates of excess housing. However, there continue to be distinct problems within Orange County, with thousands of delinquent properties and bank owned homes as well as almost five thousand properties currently in default. Distressed properties, including true foreclosures and so-called “short sales,” are likely to compose around one-third of residential sales in the area. While high compared to the rest of the country, this figure is actually lower than the rest of California by about ten percent. Experts are expecting to see more short sales, and unfortunately little help for distressed homeowners and borrowers. In the third quarter of 2010, there were about 1,700 short sales throughout Orange County, as well as 4,652 notices of foreclosure and 1,670 bank repossessions. Orange County is one of only a few parts of the country that sees more short sales than bank foreclosure auctions.
Irvine homes for sale, as well as other Orange County properties for sale, are seeing a widespread decline in purchases. According to the Orange County Register and statistics from MDA DataQuick, this decline has not been specific to one particular section of the county, with all parts of the region seeing decreased levels of home sales. Compared to the same period of 2009, there were eleven percent fewer home sales in Orange County. The average sales price also declined, by three percent, also year-over-year. In all four sectors of Orange County analyzed by the Orange County Register – Mid-county, North-inland, beach cities, and south-inland – there were fewer home sales compared to the same time last year. The year-over-year weakness can be at least partially explained by the state and federal housing tax credits which were in effect during part of 2009.