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Housing’s HOT summer: When bargains heated up (Part 2)

Housing’s HOT summer: When bargains heated up (Part 2)

The strongest gains in August home purchases and prices were in some of Orange County’s less expensive communities. FILE PHOTO

Register columnist Jonathan Lansner created the MOCHA index to track homebuying momentum in Orange County’s ZIP codes based on CoreLogic sales data. Here are the five ZIPs with the highest and lowest rankings for the third quarter, along with their median selling price and year-over-year changes in price and sales volume in the July-to-September quarter.

1. Irvine 92602 – Median of $ 1 million; prices up 37.5% and sales up 92.1%

2. Santa Ana 92701 – Median of $ 355,000; prices up 54.3% and sales up 68.2%

3. Stanton 90680 – Median of $ 400,000; prices up 15.3% and sales up 61.7%

4. Anaheim 92804 – Median of $ 480,000; prices up 14.3% and sales up 38.7%

5. Santa Ana 92704 – Median of $ 400,000; prices up 15.9% and sales up 32.2%

1. Irvine 92618 – Median of $ 706,000; prices down 18.7% and sales down 16%

2. Laguna Beach 92651 – Median of $ 1,625,000; prices down 17.2% sales down 9.7%

3. Irvine 92620 – Median of $ 790,000; prices down 1.4% and sales down 9.3%

5. Ladera Ranch 92694 – Median of $ 670,000; prices up 4% and sales down 13.5%

If the weather ever cools off, local real estate will look back fondly at this past summer.

Various economic anxieties, from a fear of higher interest rates to the possible negative ramifications of Chinese economic problems, raised doubts about the durability of the housing market’s long-running recovery.

So before autumn takes hold of the Orange County housing market (we’ll leave the weather to others), it’s a good time to review how summer treated the local market

When I tossed CoreLogic’s third-quarter homebuying report into my trusty spreadsheet a few surprising trends emerged. Here is the second key thing you should know about the summer of ’15 in Orange County housing.

In the heat of the past summer, many of the hottest homebuying neighborhoods were also among the most affordable ones.

That’s if you ignore the north Irvine neighborhood – zip 92602 – where the new upscale Orchard Hills community is a hot seller.

My MOCHA measurement of homebuying momentum found the strongest gains in August home purchases and prices were in some of Orange County’s less expensive communities. MOCHA – Measure of Orange County Housing Acceleration – is relatively simple math that uses CoreLogic data to score neighborhood-level activity.

My trusty spreadsheet creates a MOCHA ranking by first pruning the 10 percent of ZIPs with the least selling activity. Next, I rank the remaining 74 ZIPs both by year-over-year sales percentage growth and year-over-year price change. A MOCHA score is the average of the sales and price rankings. Higher scores indicate the hottest ZIPs; low scores are the coolest.

How did MOCHA put Irvine 92602 – with a third-quarter median selling price of $ 1 million – on top? Its price gain of 37 percent in a year was the county’s second best. Sales were up 92 percent, which was number one.

After that affluent neighborhood, the next strongest homebuying momentum can be found to the north, in communities with median sales prices well below north Irvine and the countywide third-quarter median price of $ 613,500.

Santa Ana 92701 ranked second. Its third-quarter median of $ 355,000 was up 54 percent in a year, the county’s best gain. And that didn’t stop sales from jumping 68 percent, third best.

Ranked third by MOCHA was Stanton 90680 – with a median price of $ 400,000. It posted a price gain of 15 percent in a year, the seventh best. Sales were up 62 percent, which was fifth best.

MOCHA’s No. 4 ZIP was Anaheim 92804, with a median of $ 480,000. Fifth was Santa Ana 92704, which had a median of $ 400,000. Sixth was Fullerton 92831, with a median of $ 572,050.

Price factors into shoppers’ geographic choice. Brandywine Homes is finding that house hunters are choosing where to live based on what they can get for their dollars. The homebuilder has two similarly priced projects in Orange County with wildly different audiences.

“In Costa Mesa, the buyers are primarily young first-time homebuyers and are typically professionals without children,” says Brandywine vice president Dave Barisic. “In Yorba Linda, however, we have families, empty nesters, people moving down from larger properties, even retirees.”

Contact the writer: jlansner@ocregister.com

The Orange County Register – News Headlines : Real Estate News