South Orange County Blog from Bob Phillips

Orange County home listings inventory near 9-year low

Orange County home listings inventory near 9-year low

March 20th, 2013, 11:58 am · by Jeff Collins, of the Orange County Register

“The number of homes for sale in Orange County last week fell to their second-lowest level in numbers dating back nearly nine years, Steve Thomas of ReportsOnHousing.com reported this week.

As of March 14, 3,183 Orange County homes were listed for sale in the Realtor-run Multiple Listing Service, or MLS. The only time in the period that listings were lower was on Jan. 3, when there were 22 fewer homes for sale. 

A year earlier, Orange County had 7,000 homes for sale. The average in figures dating back to June 2004 is 10,000 listings.

Although the inventory “sits at an unprecedentedly low level,” the local housing market shed 54 homes in the preceding two weeks and 89 in the previous month, Thomas said.

“The inventory is off to such an anemic start because the number of short sales and foreclosures coming on the market thus far this year has plummeted compared to 2012,” Thomas said.

Orange County had just 226 distressed property listings – foreclosures and homes selling “short” of the amount needed to pay off the mortgage. That’s the lowest number in the past nine years, accounting for 7.1 percent of all listings.

A year ago, the county had nearly 2,200 distressed listings, or 30.4 percent of the market. The market shed about a third of its distressed listings in the past month, Thomas reported.

Thomas’ “market time” measure – the time needed to sell all the inventory at the current sales pace – also fell to a nine-year low: 1.11 months, or 33 days. The average is four months and 13 days.” ( End of Jeff’s article.)

Anyone who is actively out searching for an Orange County house to buy – in almost every price range – had better be fast on the draw, and very well qualified.

As for anyone considering selling, this is the best seller’s market we’ve seen in this area in a long time.  It is also a great time for prospective sellers to negotiate the commission they pay to a listing agent.  One to one and a half percent to the listing agent, along with two and a half percent to the buyer’s agent – or a total of three percent to an agent representing both sides, is not uncommon, in today’s low inventory marketplace.

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