The total number of sales for Orange County was 1,929. (These numbers are from January). Although that was down almost 30% from December, it was an expected, seasonal drop. Month and year-end December always brings about one of the largest closing months of the year.
If you compare this January from January of 2010, it was a rise of 3.3% in sales volume, a somewhat weak indicator that even housing may be turning around. The median price rose slightly (1.2%) to $415,000 from December, but did in fact sink 2.4% from January 2010. There was the expected high number of sales in the under $400,000 price range (879) and the smaller than usual 343 (-24.1% from December) in the highest price range, over $700,000.
We are hearing in the news right now that prices are softening. This may be true because the “shadow inventory” is not a rumor. It is very real and banks are beginning to “pull the trigger” on many homes that have been languishing in various stages of foreclosure.
Expect to see more REO (real estate owned by banks), short sale, and deed in lieu of foreclosure listings this year and next. But waiting for prices to soften to buy may not be a good enough reason if you are a student of interest rates. They appear to be on the rise. After all, at some point inflation has got to be a factor, it cannot be held at bay indefinitely.
A discussion with a good lender can bring to light that you may be better off with a lower rate on a loan, than a lower price
There are so many factors influencing the housing market right now it’s like playing a pinball machine. Interest rates, “shadow inventory,” seemingly tighter credit, short sale navigation, conflicting statistics, and disinterested sellers.
At the same time interest rates, though rising as of late, are still at historic lows. (Are we really complaining about the recent rate increase from the low 4% range to the low 5% range?) And yet Trulia’s recent survey found 70% of Americans view homeownership as part of the personal American Dream. (Harris Interactive conducted this online survey on Trulia’s behalf in January 2011.)
What does this mean? According to a recent Trulia press release, “although foreclosures and underwater homes continue to plague the
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