Timing the Market: Orange County homes priced under $1 million are selling briskly

Orange County homes priced under $1 million are selling briskly, while upscale homes are settling into a more balanced market. Upscale homes aren’t expected to sell at the pace of more affordable homes, so higher inventory levels are not unusual. Only when prices rise above $2 million do inventories start to build, and the market turns to favor buyers.

California sales prices hit bottom in February 2009, at a median of $245,230. In July 2010, prices were 28.4% higher than the “trough,” at $314,850. Home prices in Southern California are also

higher than they were in 2009. San Diego and Los Angeles prices are 19.2% and 17% higher respectively than their March 2009 lows. Orange County home prices are 21.5% higher than in January 2009. And Riverside/San Bernadino prices are 21.7% higher than their April 2009 lows.

Advice for Buyers: Don’t try to time the market. It’s rare that high inventories, low interest rates and low prices align any better than they do right now. In August, 2010, mortgage interest rates reached the lowest levels since the housing recession of the 1990s, hitting 4.43%. The previous year, interest rates averaged 5.19%, according to FreddieMac.com, so you’re still way ahead of the game.

The Housing Market Is Better Than You Think

A balanced market is widely accepted as having six months of inventory on hand with market conditions favorable to both buyers and sellers. A buyer’s market is characterized by conditions such as high inventories, falling prices, concessions by sellers, and incentives among other indicators. A seller’s market has low inventories of homes for sale, escalating prices, and keen competition between buyers, including multiple offers.

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