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County Housing Prices Jump in Second Quarter

August 19, 1986|LESLIE BERKMAN | Times Staff Writer

Just when housing in Orange County was becoming nearly as affordable as housing in the rest of the nation, the gap started to widen in the second quarter of this year as county residents began paying much higher prices for resale homes, James Doti, an economist with Chapman College in Orange, said Friday.

The median price of a single family home in Orange County jumped from $138,003 in the first quarter of this year to $149,410 in the second quarter, Doti told a meeting of the East Orange County Board of Realtors. During the same period, he said, the median price of homes nationally increased more gradually, from $78,100 to $82,300.

Doti said that in the second quarter Orange County's median family income of $41,255 a year fell 3.6% short of what it takes to buy the average house. By contrast, the same family would have needed only 1.4% more income to buy a median-priced house in the first quarter of the year.

Over the same two quarters, Doti said, the affordability of housing nationwide slightly improved for a family earning the national median income of $27,000 and finding in the second quarter that it had income 0.7% in excess of what it needed to buy a median-priced house. In the first quarter, the same family had 0.6% more income than it needed to purchase a median-priced home.

Doti added, however, that he believes the reduced affordability of Orange County housing in the second quarter is a temporary aberration. He said that because the county is richer than most of the country, its home buyers typically respond faster to such factors as the recent lowering of mortgage interest rates. In part, he said, the prices of houses sold in the county in the second quarter rose because buyers were willing to spend more.

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