A surge of late-winter buying pushed Orange County's home sales for 1993 almost 12% ahead of those for the previous year. And December--typically one of the slowest months of the year--accounted for the highest number of sales in 31 months, a real estate data firm reported Thursday.
The new figures from Dataquick Information Systems in San Diego support what real estate professionals have been saying for several months: The housing market, on the decline since early in 1990, seems to have turned around.
"It isn't a return to boom times, but things are gradually improving," said Fountain Valley realtor James Righeimer.
According to Dataquick, 28,878 homes and condominiums changed hands in Orange County last year. Though that total, which included resales as well as new units, was among the smallest since the 1981-82 recession, it represented an 11.9% increase from 25,807 sales for 1992. Dataquick counts sales recorded each month with the county Recorder's Office but excludes transactions such as transfers to trusts.
December's 3,176 sales were the most since May, 1991, and were up 27.9% from 2,483 transactions for December, 1992, said John Karevoll, a Dataquick analyst.