Aaron Zapata quoted by Orange County Register

I am always scanning news headlines for real estate news and have found that the Orange County Register does a great job in providing up to date information about the current real estate market. Yesterday I commented via email to Jon Lansner about an article that he had written (the article is below).  By the end of the day, he had added my comment to story itself.  I’d just like to say thanks to Jon for that!

Here’s the article:

Sellers of pricier O.C. homes up discounts

January 26th, 2011, 8:30 am posted by Jon Lansner

Click to enlarge

Orange County’s high end takes the heaviest discounting, according to a slightly different view of the Orange County real estate market from HousingTracker.net.

This website tracks trends in asking prices from brokers’ MLS system of homes for sale. In addition, HousingTracker breaks down its data into a pair of neat markers — the 25th and 75th percentiles that let us see how the market’s upper crust and more modest abodes are faring.

From the January report we see …

  • At the 25th percentile — the median of the lower half of the price spectrum of local homes for sale — the selling price was $294,950; that is down 1% vs. the previous month and down 1.7% vs. a year ago. Over two years, there’s been an 1.8% dip in prices set by sellers of more affordable local homes. This is the 5th consecutive month-to-month cut in asking prices for these more “affordable” homes.
  • At the 75th percentile — the median of the upper half of the price spectrum of local homes for sale — the selling price was $640,873; that is down 1.1% vs. the previous month and off 11.5% vs. a year ago. Over two years, there’s been an 11.9% tumble in prices asked for higher-end housing. This is the 7th consecutive month-to-month cut in asking prices for these less “affordable” homes.
  • The gap between these two price points was 117% this month vs. 118% the previous months and 142% a year earlier. The gap peaked at 167% in June and July 2009.
  • The overall Orange County median listing price, by this math, was $418,975 for January — that is off 1.1% vs. the previous month and off 6.6% vs. a year ago. Over two years, there’s been an 3% decline.

Realtor Aaron Zapata of Prudential California Realty commented: “I call this the sandwiching effect. The upper end is being pressed down by lack of demand, while the lower end is climbing because of great demand. The difference between the high and low end gets smaller.”

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