Laguna Beach, CA (PressExposure) December 23, 2009 -- After slowing down significantly in the past few months, Laguna Beach is starting to show signs of recovery in terms of median home prices and total home sales. Recent reports show that among the South Coast cities of Orange County - one of the area's priciest neighborhoods - Laguna Beach real estate is showing the highest increase in home sales and prices, and the fastest drop in the share of distressed sales.
The median sale price in Laguna Beach has dropped by the smallest amount in the past two years, as the inventory of homes for sale went down and the buyer-seller balance was slightly restored. While it's still far from its peak in 2006, at the height of the sub-prime mortgage boom, experts remain hopeful that the city, as well as the rest of Orange County, is well on its way to recovery.
According to figures from real estate information provider DataQuick, Laguna Beach ranks fourth throughout Orange County in terms of median sales price, or the midpoint between the lowest and highest sale prices. For Laguna Beach homes, the median is $1.2 million, just behind Newport Beach ZIP 92661 at $1.9 million, Newport Coast at $1.6 million, and Corona del Mar at $1.4 million.
The DataQuick report also showed that 32 Laguna Beach homes were sold in the 22 business days ending November 20th, an impressive 45.5% increase compared to the same period in 2008. It is one of the 23 Orange County ZIPs (out of 83) to post a yearly change, and the only one to do so among those whose median home prices are above $1 million.
The number represents a 5.6% increase in median prices compared to the same period in 2008, when the Laguna Beach real estate market was particularly slow. This makes it one of the few South Coast ZIPs to show such an increase, as prominent ZIPs from its neighbors Dana Point and San Clemente went down by as much as 14.2%. Other upscale communities were also down, most notably Corona del Mar where the median sale price dropped by close to 20%.
The past few months have been tough for Laguna real estate, with sales almost grinding to a halt and several home sellers making significant price cuts. It was also the county's slowest housing market for a brief period, as the market times for Laguna Beach homes averaged close to or over 12 months. It has since been overtaken by Corona del Mar, another upscale neighborhood in nearby Newport Beach.
Laguna Beach homes are known for their high price tags, with prices averaging $4 million compared to the Orange County average of around $430,000. Experts believe this has been a major factor in the market slowdown, as there were more million-dollar homes in the market than there were willing and able buyers. The same has been true with other high-end cities in Southern California, such as Newport Beach and Dana Point.
Experts believe that this remains a good time to buy Laguna real estate, as the prices are still buyer-friendly and there are less distressed and risky properties in the market. Many also expect the upward trend to continue until 2010, particularly in the first months when home buying tends to pick up. Real estate professionals such as LagunaOC.com can help buyers find the best deals and better understand the current market.