Although the number of developments in Orange County selling new, detached, single-family homes decreased by 33% over the last six months, prices and sales of those homes were up substantially, according to a study on Orange County residential housing released by First American Title Insurance Co.
On the average, new-home buyers during the past six months have spent nearly $200,000 to get houses that don’t share a wall with a neighbor. For that average price, the average home contained 1,957 square feet of space and had 3.3 bedrooms and 2.6 baths.
The countywide study, conducted every six months by the Santa Ana-based title insurer, surveyed every development in the county selling detached homes and found, not surprisingly, that most of the sales action is in the southern part of the county.
And while the number of tracts actively selling homes dropped to 68 from 102 in April, when the last survey was conducted, the average number of homes sold per week at those developments increased to 1.4, up 56% over April’s average of .9 homes per week.
Independent real estate economist Alfred Gobar said the increase in sales activity in the face of a price increase was probably caused because people are buying now so they can lock in fixed mortgages with interest rates of less than 10%.
While a substantial number of the tract homes in the survey were grouped in the $130,000-$139,999 price range, the median price of a new home was $181,900. And twice as many homes were priced at $300,000 or more than at $120,000 or less.
The average selling price of the 779 new homes surveyed in the study was $199,852--up $6,517 from the company’s April survey.
Despite the overall price increase, Mark Hoover, subdivision sales manager for First American, said that “at some of the tracts there is an opportunity to buy a less expensive home than we have seen in Orange County for quite some time.”
The lowest price for one of the homes in the current survey was $109,990 for an 815-square-foot home at California Colony in Mission Viejo.
Since late August, when sales began at that development, 81 homes have been constructed and 54 sold--giving the project one of the highest average weekly sales figures in the survey: 27 homes per week. The top price at the development is $133,990.
For the more affluent buyer, the survey found that the most expensive new tract home in the county--$650,000--was a 3,569-square-foot, four-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath home in the Harbor Point development in Newport Beach.
Sales at Harbor Point began in August, 1985, and--not surprisingly--have been slower than at California Colony. In slightly more than a year, 16 of the project’s 20 homes have been sold.
Sixty of the 68 projects surveyed require that buyers join a homeowners association with an average cost of $74.30 per month. Homeowner dues ranged from a low of $29 a month at Villa del Rio in Yorba Linda to as high as $159 a month at the Villas in Monarch Beach.
Hoover said he believes that the decline in the number of homes currently available is simply a market adjustment.
There are 42 new developments in the county that still are under construction, and when they begin selling, 4,550 detached homes will be added to the county’s housing market.