ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. — Housing inventories in Orange County and Los Angeles are rising and demand is slowing, but not enough to slow down the region's skyrocketing home prices.
Over a two-week period in March, the active housing inventory in Orange County increased from 2,240 to 2,384 homes. That's the largest increase since May 2020, according to Reports on Housing, a data company specializing in analyzing Southern California's housing market. In Los Angeles, housing inventory rose from 7,185 homes to 7,443, the largest increase since October.
Demand has also waned as frustrated potential buyers write offers for homes, only to lose out in a bidding war, Reports on Housing Economist Steven Thomas said. Meanwhile, the median price in Orange County is $835,000, a 10.6% jump year-over-year. Los Angeles has a median housing price of $750,000, a 17% increase from the previous year.
"The inventory typically rises during the spring and summer market, but that is only part of the story behind the new evolving trend," Thomas said in his monthly subscription-only report. "Demand also dropped in the past couple of weeks. Escalating prices, pending and closed sales fetching values grossly over the list price, and way too many multiple offer situations [are] starting to influence the psyche of some buyers. The current environment is sidelining some buyers after being on the losing end of multiple attempts at securing a home."
More than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, California's housing market remains hot. The market is being fueled by record-low interest rates, limited housing supply, increased consumer confidence and people — many of whom are now working from home —nwanting more space.
Statewide, the average price of a single-family home in March increased 24% year-over-year to $758,990, a record for the state, according to the state's Dept. of Finance. The median price of $758,990 was 5.7% above the previous record of $717,93 set in December 2020.
Locally, every region in Southern California reported an increase in median price homes in March, according to the LA Times citing DQNews.
The median price of a home in Los Angeles County is $750,000; Riverside County $476,750; San Bernardino $429,500; and in Ventura County $658,000.
Jolly Espinosa, a realtor at Coldwell Banker in Glendale, said with the pandemic waning, more potential buyers are checking out listings since they can now tour homes.
However, many of his clients, some of whom are looking for starter homes in Orange and Los Angeles counties, are getting frustrated by the competitive housing market.
"Right now, it's unfortunate, I have 20% (money down) conventional (loan) buyers, and we're on the bottom," Espinosa said. "It's not good enough. We're getting outbid. Some of them have already told me, 'Let's wait it out until the end of the quarter.'"
On the seller's side, many of them know they are in the catbird seat.
Espinosa recently listed a home in Pico Rivera for $669,000. The seller received 16 offers, sold it for $735,000 in an all-cash deal, and closed in 15 days.
"I have other listings that were not officially on the market, that already sold," he said.
"Sellers, they want a bidding war," he said. "They know it's a seller's market."