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Decline Slows in O.C. Home Sales : Real estate: Optimism tempered, however, by market’s mixed signal--an 8.7% drop in the median price of a home over same month a year ago.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Orange County home sales stabilized in October, a key sign that the real estate market here is beginning to recover.

But prices of Orange County homes continued to slump, an indication that the market hasn’t shaken its doldrums. The median price dropped 8.7% in October to $189,000 from $207,000 in the same month last year, according to Dataquick Information Services in La Jolla.

After generally enduring double-digit decreases most of the year, Orange County home sales dropped only 1.5% during October from the same month last year.

“It’s the most benign drop we’ve had this year,” said John Karevoll, a financial editor with Dataquick. “It’s quite an improvement. Things have leveled off and are getting stronger.”

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The recent approval of the county’s bankruptcy recovery plan, plus low mortgage rates and home prices, helped boost home sales, real estate agents said.

Even more encouraging, another real estate data company on Friday reported that home sales actually increased nearly 3% in October from the same month last year.

Still, the drop in home values during the month is troubling, Karevoll said. In September, home prices dropped only 5.9%. Home values have declined 18% during the past five years in Orange County, according to Dataquick.

“We’re seeing that home prices are as low now as they are in quite some time, and some areas aren’t at the bottom as yet,” said Chandler Barton, chairman of Coldwell Banker Corp. in Mission Viejo. “But in other areas those homes are beginning to sell. We were extremely pleased with our October results in Orange County.”

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October home sales figures, which track closings of home sales that probably took place months earlier, were not yet available for other Southern California counties.

Within the county, October sales were especially strong in Anaheim, where sales increased nearly 90% in some regions that had experienced sharp slumps in sales.

“I can’t say, ‘Wow, thank goodness we’re back,’ because we’re not,” said Solon Shaw, a real estate broker and owner of Century 21 in Anaheim. “Business has just been down, although there’s been a lot of interest.”

Shaw said that he didn’t expect things to improve much in his area in the next two months, because home sales typically fall off during the holiday season.

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This year has been tough for the real estate market in Orange County.

In the first quarter, Orange County sales dropped 23.5% from the same time a year ago. They declined 24.7% in the second quarter, as poor weather and the fallout from the county’s bankruptcy filing in December hampered the market during the spring and early summer months, said Dataquick. During the third quarter ending in September, sales declined about 11%.

“October is the first month this year we’ve seen such an improvement, but October of last year is when the market started going down in Orange County,” said Nima Nattagh, of TRW REDI Property Data in Anaheim.

“We’ve had one month of improved sales but I think we still need to wait a few more months to call this a trend,” he said.

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Orange County Home Sales

October home sales dropped 1.5% from the same month last year while the median price fell 8.7% from $207,000 to $189,000 during the same period. October sales of new and existing homes, by ZIP code:

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Percent Median Percent Highest Community ZIP Sales change price change price Aliso Viejo 92656 142 0.7% $168,000 -18.4% $440,000 Anaheim 92801 33 57.1% $144,000 7.5% $200,000 Anaheim 92802 28 86.7% $155,000 0.6% $360,000 Anaheim 92804 42 -14.3% $144,000 -10.0% $910,000 Anaheim 92805 32 18.5% $152,000 4.8% $204,000 Anaheim 92806 24 41.2% $176,000 10.0% $367,500 Anaheim 92807 49 19.5% $206,000 -3.7% $450,000 Anaheim 92808 36 -20.0% $164,000 -29.9% $385,000 Brea 92621 26 4.0% $189,000 -15.2% $300,000 Buena Park 90620 31 -24.4% $157,000 -7.1% $197,500 Buena Park 90621 14 55.6% $135,000 -32.5% $220,000 Corona del Mar 92625 22 46.7% $498,000 9.0% $1,300,000 Costa Mesa 92626 23 -17.9% $194,000 -6.7% $373,500 Costa Mesa 92627 23 -37.8% $178,000 -14.0% $380,000 Cypress 90630 44 -17.0% $204,000 1.5% $389,500 Dana Point 92624 7 -30.0% $290,000 19.8% $525,000 Dana Point 92629 66 53.5% $230,000 2.2% $899,000 Fountain Valley 92708 57 23.9% $213,000 -2.3% $338,000 Fullerton 92631 30 100.0% $164,000 -12.8% $384,000 Fullerton 92632 9 -10.0% $139,000 -12.0% $237,000 Fullerton 92633 24 -47.8% $144,000 -16.3% $481,000 Fullerton 92635 14 -44.0% $229,000 -3.4% $383,000 Garden Grove 92640 36 -2.7% $155,000 -3.1% $194,000 Garden Grove 92641 29 -9.4% $165,000 1.9% $260,000 Garden Grove 92643 26 0.0% $149,000 4.9% $176,000 Garden Grove 92644 26 136.4% $138,000 -7.4% $177,000 Garden Grove 92645 14 0.0% $170,000 -6.6% $243,000 Huntington Beach 92646 46 -20.7% $209,000 -1.9% $565,000 Huntington Beach 92647 38 -17.4% $188,000 -8.3% $353,500 Huntington Beach 92648 34 -34.6% $277,000 -16.1% $516,000 Huntington Beach 92649 39 -2.5% $316,000 56.4% $850,000 Irvine 92714 86 -27.7% $216,000 -6.9% $545,000 Irvine 92715 25 -53.7% $262,000 -26.4% $1,035,000 Irvine 92720 31 3.3% $213,000 4.9% $400,000 La Habra 90631 34 -24.4% $149,000 -24.4% $315,000 La Palma 90623 12 -29.4% $237,000 2.2% $270,000 Laguna Beach 92651 34 30.8% $321,000 -29.8% $1,275,000 Laguna Hills 92653 58 -1.7% $172,000 -8.5% $1,100,000 Laguna Niguel 92677 123 -26.8% $285,000 -0.3% $840,000 Lake Forest 92630 63 1.6% $179,000 -13.1% $410,000 Los Alamitos 90720 20 5.3% $258,000 -9.8% $420,000 Midway City 92655 6 -14.3% $135,000 -11.8% $170,000 Mission Viejo 92691 77 22.2% $196,000 3.7% $293,000 Mission Viejo 92692 83 -37.1% $214,000 -1.8% $405,000 Newport Beach 92660 28 -30.0% $278,000 -30.8% $1,475,000 Newport Beach 92661 5 0.0% $330,000 -14.9% $1,500,000 Newport Beach 92663 21 -8.7% $386,000 -13.3% $1,150,000 Orange 92665 13 -7.1% $157,000 -15.6% $235,000 Orange 92666 6 -14.3% $197,000 31.3% $225,000 Orange* 92667 60 39.5% $209,000 -33.0% $510,000 Orange 92668 10 -16.7% $145,000 -20.8% $180,000 Orange 92669 42 -6.7% $182,000 -13.7% $840,000 Placentia 92670 31 -38.0% $179,000 -18.3% $380,000 R. Santa Margarita 92688 113 59.2% $159,000 -7.6% $295,000 S. Juan Capistrano 92675 38 -15.6% $229,000 -5.0% $795,000 San Clemente 92672 34 -10.5% $228,000 10.1% $750,000 San Clemente 92673 37 n/a $211,000 n/a $370,000 Santa Ana 92701 39 69.6% $117,000 0.0% $241,000 Santa Ana 92703 25 -13.8% $115,000 -16.7% $160,000 Santa Ana 92704 54 12.5% $136,000 -4.2% $220,000 Santa Ana** 92705 42 35.5% $238,000 -24.4% $1,049,000 Santa Ana 92706 21 0.0% $158,000 -3.7% $300,000 Santa Ana 92707 50 25.0% $119,000 -15.0% $250,000 Seal Beach 90740 13 -38.1% $243,000 -15.3% $387,500 Stanton 90680 25 150.0% $101,000 -7.3% $167,000 Trabuco/Coto 92679 54 -10.0% $299,000 23.0% $550,000 Tustin 92680 103 -11.2% $175,000 -20.5% $352,000 Westminster 92683 67 11.7% $182,000 2.8% $275,000 Yorba Linda 92686 69 81.6% $219,000 -17.4% $635,000 Yorba Linda 92687 36 33.3% $339,000 -4.0% $520,000 Others -- 10 -- -- -- -- Countywide 2,762 -1.5% $189,000 -8.7% $1,500,000

Entered fore- Community closure Aliso Viejo 42 Anaheim 19 Anaheim 7 Anaheim 38 Anaheim 28 Anaheim 9 Anaheim 57 Anaheim 13 Brea 14 Buena Park 18 Buena Park 11 Corona del Mar 6 Costa Mesa 11 Costa Mesa 19 Cypress 15 Dana Point 2 Dana Point 15 Fountain Valley 19 Fullerton 10 Fullerton 7 Fullerton 27 Fullerton 6 Garden Grove 25 Garden Grove 11 Garden Grove 21 Garden Grove 18 Garden Grove 6 Huntington Beach 28 Huntington Beach 11 Huntington Beach 9 Huntington Beach 19 Irvine 28 Irvine 5 Irvine 6 La Habra 18 La Palma 3 Laguna Beach 18 Laguna Hills 28 Laguna Niguel 30 Lake Forest 64 Los Alamitos 10 Midway City 3 Mission Viejo 28 Mission Viejo 22 Newport Beach 13 Newport Beach 1 Newport Beach 9 Orange 9 Orange 2 Orange* 18 Orange 3 Orange 22 Placentia 11 R. Santa Margarita 54 S. Juan Capistrano 22 San Clemente 21 San Clemente 6 Santa Ana 27 Santa Ana 42 Santa Ana 57 Santa Ana** 15 Santa Ana 22 Santa Ana 28 Seal Beach 2 Stanton 10 Trabuco/Coto 27 Tustin 27 Westminster 25 Yorba Linda 19 Yorba Linda 11 Others 3 Countywide 1,310

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*Includes Villa Park

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**Includes Lemon / Cowan Heights

Countywide Trends

This October’s median price is down 10.8% from 1991’s five-year high, $212,000. And last months sales were the first October decline after three years of increases.

Sales

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Oct. 1995: 2,762

Median Price

Oct. 1995: $189,000

Oct. Sales

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1995: 2,762

Oct. Median Price

1995: $189,000

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

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