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County Home Sales Suffer 9th Month of Decline : Housing: The median residential price fell almost 6% to $198,000 from $210,000 a year earlier.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Orange County’s residential real estate market continued a lengthy slump in July, fueled by a combination of falling prices and sales activity, particularly in the resale market that typically accounts for 75% or more of the region’s home sales.

Sales of new and resale homes in July dropped 18% from July, 1994--the ninth consecutive month of declines, according to a report by Dataquick Information Systems.

At the same time, the median sales price fell almost 6% to $198,000 from $210,000 in June, 1994, the La Jolla real estate information services company said.

“The market is definitely going down, and I don’t see it turning around any time soon,” said Alan Gantt, owner of Century 21 Accent Realty in Fullerton.

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He said he believes sales are being held back by a consumer confidence crisis sparked by a prolonged weak economy and worries about real estate market stability in the wake of the county government’s bankruptcy filing last December.

July sales figures for other Southern California counties, including Los Angeles and San Diego, have not yet been published, but sales have been sluggish throughout the entire area for several months.

Because the Dataquick report for Orange County is based on sales transactions that are at least a month old, it does not reflect the potential impact of recent declines in mortgage interest rates.

Several market analysts said they expect the lower rates to boost new home sales, which would be reflected in sales reports for August and September.

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“I think that while things have been flat in the Inland Empire and slumping in Orange and San Diego counties so far this year, we’ll see some improvement in the last quarter,” said Buck Panchal, senior consultant with Meyers Group, a regional new home market consulting firm.

“One thing this [slump] shows us is that 1994 was a lot better year than we thought it was at the time,” he quipped.

Analyst John Shumway of Newport Beach-based Market Profiles said that new home sales in the second quarter in Orange County were actually up 18% from the first quarter.

“It seems to us that there is some recovering [in new home sales] sparked by the lowering of interest rates over the last two months,” Shumway said.

But new home sales don’t make much of a dent in a market loaded with thousands of resale homes that just aren’t moving unless they are priced for the entry-level buyer, realtors say.

“That’s a big part of the reason these reports keep saying that prices are falling,” said Garden Grove realtor Pat Neal, past president of the California Assn. of Realtors. “It’s the lower-priced homes that are selling,” and that pulls the numbers down. “The only high-priced houses on the market nowadays are homes that people have to sell” because of pressures, such as job transfers or divorces, Neal said.

Cheryl Wyland, president of Santa Ana-based Burrow Escrow,said business “was dead” at her company’s offices in Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside counties in early July but that things have picked up in recent weeks.

Wyland said there have been a growing number of non-traditional deals that aren’t reflected in surveys such as Dataquick. So-called land contract sales and lease-option agreements let home sellers and buyers come to terms without recording a transfer of title with the county, she said.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

ORANGE COUNTY HOME SALES

July home sales in Orange County dropped 18% compared to July, 1994. The median sale price also declined, by 5.7%. Sales of new and existing homes, by ZIP code: *--*

JULY, 1994 JULY, 1995 ZIP Sales Median price Sales Median price Aliso Viejo 92656 133 $183,000 116 $177,000 Anaheim 92801 26 $143,000 31 $153,000 Anaheim 92802 25 $155,000 9 $140,000 Anaheim 92804 46 $151,000 41 $158,000 Anaheim 92805 33 $154,000 28 $147,000 Anaheim 92806 19 $174,000 10 $178,000 Anaheim Hills 92807 49 $210,000 46 $219,000 Anaheim Hills 92808 33 $213,000 28 $176,000 Brea 92621 31 $193,000 32 $214,000 Buena Park 90620 49 $169,000 27 $158,000 Buena Park 90621 24 $147,000 20 $175,000 Capistrano Beach 92624 0 -- 7 $242,000 Corona del Mar 92625 21 $561,000 13 $486,000 Costa Mesa 92626 37 $204,000 33 $186,000 Costa Mesa 92627 47 $180,000 33 $198,000 Cypress 90630 66 $221,000 49 $226,000 Dana Point 92629 49 $241,000 32 $244,000 Fountain Valley 92708 58 $235,000 41 $226,000 Fullerton 92631 22 $147,000 14 $158,000 Fullerton 92632 15 $143,000 6 $130,000 Fullerton 92633 41 $160,000 44 $158,000 Fullerton 92635 38 $238,000 27 $222,000 Garden Grove 92640 52 $150,000 46 $147,000 Garden Grove 92641 19 $168,000 23 $159,000 Garden Grove 92643 23 $148,000 25 $149,000 Garden Grove 92644 22 $150,000 16 $132,000 Garden Grove 92645 26 $188,000 13 $184,000 Huntington Beach 92646 60 $215,000 41 $227,000 Huntington Beach 92647 51 $197,000 35 $200,000 Huntington Beach 92648 43 $321,000 42 $289,000 Huntington Beach 92649 37 $316,000 39 $219,000 Irvine 92714 127 $229,000 89 $228,000 Irvine 92715 39 $227,000 25 $277,000 Irvine 92720 39 $236,000 28 $234,000 La Habra 90631 79 $218,000 43 $162,000 La Palma 90623 16 $205,000 10 $223,000 Laguna Beach 92651 30 $493,000 25 $438,000 Laguna Hills 92653 77 $197,000 67 $192,000 Laguna Niguel/L. Beach 92677 154 $288,000 117 $253,000 Lake Forest 92630 80 $181,000 83 $197,000 Los Alamitos/Rossmoor 90720 20 $284,000 20 $254,000 Mission Viejo 92691 88 $183,000 63 $191,000 Mission Viejo 92692 103 $225,000 94 $240,000 Newport Beach 92660 65 $386,000 38 $354,000 Newport Beach 92663 23 $303,000 17 $306,000 Orange 92665 20 $207,000 11 $173,000 Orange 92666 10 $172,000 5 $176,000 Orange 92667 70 $286,000 47 $218,000 Orange 92668 10 $154,000 8 $130,000 Orange 92669 48 $188,000 48 $221,000 Placentia 92670 56 $212,000 59 $206,000 Portola/Trabuco/Coto 92679 70 $294,000 55 $299,000 Rancho Santa Margarita 92688 79 $171,000 86 $141,000 San Clemente 92672 35 $233,000 38 $216,000 San Clemente 92673 0 -- 25 $304,000 San Juan Capistrano 92675 48 $205,000 37 $214,000 Santa Ana 92701 31 $141,000 30 $123,000 Santa Ana 92703 29 $131,000 20 $127,000 Santa Ana 92704 52 $144,000 29 $134,000 Santa Ana 92706 30 $183,000 22 $156,000 Santa Ana/Cowan Hgts. 92705 32 $281,000 17 $339,000 Santa Ana/S.A. Hgts. 92707 42 $123,000 41 $138,000 Seal Beach 90740 14 $241,000 10 $291,000 Stanton 90680 14 $137,000 19 $134,000 Tustin 92680 72 $233,000 74 $197,000 Westminster 92683 71 $174,000 54 $171,000 Yorba Linda 92686 66 $231,000 60 $251,000 Yorba Linda 92687 50 $318,000 40 $334,000 Others -- 27 -- 19 -- Totals -- 3,111 $210,000 2,540 $198,000

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Source: Dataquick Information Systems; Researched by JANICE L. JONES / Los Angeles Times


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