Surging home prices, low interest rates and frenzied bidding wars triggered by a tight housing supply fueled a rapid recovery for the Orange County real estate market in 2013.
Homebuilding also came back, at levels not seen in nearly a decade. After more than five years of listless sales, widespread layoffs and bankruptcies, dozens of local residential construction projects are attracting eager buyers.
Foreclosures and short sales, meanwhile, continued their downward trend.
Even as the housing shortage and competition for homes eased, however, some buyers and sellers still had to navigate a few bumps in the road – including a brief government shutdown in October and fluctuating interest rates.
Here are some 2013 market highlights, and a few low points, by the numbers:
Orange County topped the list of the most overvalued U.S. housing markets, according to online home tracker Trulia. Jed Kolko, the site’s chief economist, stopped short of declaring a housing bubble, though. “It’s hard to know for sure whether you’re in a bubble until after it bursts,” he said.
The latest median home price this year tied a six-year high reached in August and represents a 24.4 percent increase over last November (DataQuick Information Systems)
That’s the dramatic November year-over-year increase in the sale of new homes in the county. The 373 transactions made November the busiest month for new home sales since December 2007. Sales soared despite a 17.9 percent increase in median new home prices to $714,500. (DataQuick Information Systems)
The priciest 2013 home sale on the Multiple Listing Service came in June at the height of the home-buying season. The three-story oceanfront estate at 33 Strand Beach Drive in Dana Point was built in 2011.
The priciest home to hit the Multiple Listing Service this year is a neoclassical, oceanfront palazzo at 2585 Riviera Drive in Laguna Beach. The home boasts a screening room with a bar, an elevator descending to a subterranean closet and a garage equipped with a hydraulic lift. It’s still on the market.