Orange County Housing Market Moving in Right Direction
Ron Garafalo | September 2016
The real estate market in 2016 has been extremely busy in Orange County. I believe that the biggest change this year has been the large increase in the number of homes that have sold. In both the first and second quarter, Orange County has seen an increase in the number of homes sold by about 30% as compared to the same time last year. This speaks volumes as to the activity that is occurring in the real estate market in our area.
Another statistic that is very encouraging is that for the first two quarters of the year, we have also seen home prices rise slightly. This is significant since we have not seen home prices increase in Orange County in over a decade. We saw large decreases in home prices in the 2006 -2008 period, and then a continuation of price declines since then, but at a slower rate. The overall decrease since the peak of the market has been that home prices have declined about 25%. Therefore, to have two quarters of positive results in home prices is another sign that the real estate market in Orange County is definitely moving in the right direction. For many years we have seen prices increase in Westchester, then Rockland and later Orange. However, until the first two quarters this year, we had not seen that happening—it is happening now.
At this time, I believe that we have a powerful combination of economic data and news that point to continued positive results for Orange County real estate. We have increases in units and prices, which I mentioned earlier. We also have continued news that interest rates will be rising. Presently, interest rates are at historical lows. It is a great time to buy a home with interest rates being where they are.
However, if rates do rise, many possible homebuyers, that are presently on the fence about moving forward will want to buy. The idea of waiting will possibly cost homebuyers more money if interest rates do rise, which seems to be what many economists are saying. Add to that rising prices, and I see many buyers coming into the market so they can buy at the beginning of a cycle that features rising rates and rising prices.
Additionally, with the increase in unit sales, we are seeing our listing inventory decrease. Less homes for sale will also lead to price increases in the future. We have been seeing many multiple offer situations. This is something that we have not seen in almost 10 years. New construction has also been very busy this year. Traffic at sales offices of new developments has been very brisk. There are many new developments being built, and this is very helpful as the inventory of existing homes for sale decreases.
As summer comes to an end, there is a consensus among my fellow Realtors that hey are busier than they have been in many years. The improvement in the housing markets across the nation has reached Orange County. Going forward, all the signs mentioned above indicate that we are at the beginning of a busy real estate market in Orange County.
For both buyers and sellers, it is important and in their best interest that they work with a real estate professional. The knowledge that we provide, our understanding of market conditions, our familiarity of working through the detailed process of buying or selling a home, and our advice and negotiating ability in regards to pricing are critical.
Buying or selling a home is the biggest financial decision in most people’s lives, which is why working with a true professional is so important. As agents we have tools and resources that we can provide to our clients that make the process more efficient and easier to understand. We also have the knowledge to deal with all that is involved in buying or selling a home. As the market gets busier, it will become even more important to work with a true professional.