CNN/Money has published a list of the nation’s top housing markets for the second quarter of 2004. The list is… interesting.
For one thing, they’re apparently referring to Orange County as “Anaheim-Santa Ana”. An odd choice to say the least. I’ve got nothing against either town, but it’s beyond the pale to suggest that Anaheim or Santa Ana is representative of an area with the highest median home prices in the country.
Orange County’s real estate values are skewed northward because of places like Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and Irvine where even miniscule condominiums sell for more than $650,000. Anaheim and Santa Ana are the cheapest places to buy a home in Orange County. They push the median down, not up. Whoever put together this list for CNN/Money doesn’t know know the area very well.
It looks especially odd when you see the Santa Ana median above San Francisco. Not to mention outpacing Honolulu’s price 50%, Boston by 90%, and metropolitan New York by more than 80%.
The commentary attached to the CNN/Money list is somewhat deceiving. The article’s bolded header states, “If you thought the housing boom had to slow down, think again.” Sorry to burst your bubble, but the housing market has slowed down. CNN/Money reported that very fact a couple of weeks ago, noting that “real-estate tracker DataQuick said home sales in Orange County, Calif., the No. 2 U.S. market, slumped 17 percent from a year ago”. So sales numbers are way down but median prices are way up? I don’t think so.
Keep an eye out for the third quarter numbers. They’ll tell a different story, especially if the Fed hikes interest rates.