To many would-be home buyers, real estate in Orange County has pretty much always been pricey. But homes here became even less affordable in 2016.
The median resale price of a single family home in Orange County in November was $702,000, up nearly 5 percent from last year, according to real estate data firm CoreLogic.
And Daren Blomquist, senior vice president of Irvine-based ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data firm, says its data shows that the prices of homes in Orange County have risen 67 percent since they bottomed out during the Great Recession.
Meanwhile, wages have risen just 1 percent during that time period.
"We're showing affordability is at its worst level in Orange County, according to our affordability index, going all the way back to the second quarter of 2008,” Blomquist said.
Blomquist said the Orange County real estate market was largely driven by luxury homes worth over $2 million. The volume of sales in that top-price market was up 32 percent in the second quarter of this year compared to last year.
Over 40 percent of those homes were bought with cash, many of them by foreign buyers, Blomquist said.
Next year will likely continue to be great for sellers and homeowners in Orange County, the analyst said. First-time home buyers, on the other hand, will face rising interest rates on top of the pricey market.
Blomquist said that although homes continue to be built in Orange County, their prices tend to be out of reach for first-time buyers.