Housing Spotlight: Orange County



The City of Irvine continued to dominate Orange County’s new home scene, with sales clustered in the various Villages of Irvine developed by the Irvine Company. Top tier schools and a well-paid employment base weaved against a backdrop of well-maintained masterplanned communities are all magnets for homebuyers looking to live in this suburban locale. In particular, Asian buyers continue to bolster sales in the Irvine area. The unrelenting rise in home values should continue to be an incentive to this demographic group.

The upward trend in home prices show no signs of slowing with recent entrants into the new housing stock pushing prices into the $2-3 million range including Toll Brothers’ Hidden Canyon and The New Home Company’s projects in Irvine, San Juan Capistrano and Newport Beach.  These projects signal a growing appetite for the higher-end luxury market, a segment that has been largely ignored since the housing boom. The long-delayed Marblehead also opens in the summer with Taylor Morrison building 309 homes across four product lines. Home prices in this coastal enclave are estimated to range from $1 million to $3 million.

On the other end of the price spectrum, homes priced below the million dollar mark are sprinkled throughout the county. Rancho Mission Viejo’s family oriented offerings at Sendero and the 55+ product Gavilan are nearing close out. Interest pivots to Escenia, which should introduce more options for South County buyers willing to trade commute times for more house on the dollar. Infill projects, that also offer an affordable alternative, dot the county in areas such as Costa Mesa, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Westminster.

Builders in the county are selling homes at a fast clip, with the top 6 builders seeing their projects sell from 3 to 6 sales per month. With masterplan developers controlling the supply of new homes in Orange County, home prices will continue to tick upward.

Michelle Weedon, Vice President of Advisory Irvine