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ORANGE COUNTY NEW HOME SALES DROP IN THIRD QUARTER, REMAIN STABLE COMPARED TO LAST YEAR

 ORANGE COUNTY NEW HOME SALES DROP IN THIRD QUARTER,
 REMAIN STABLE COMPARED TO LAST YEAR
 ORANGE COUNTY, Calif., Oct. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- New home sales in Orange County decreased by 20.2 percent during the third quarter of 1992 (July - September), according to The Competitive Housing Market Report just published by The Meyers Group, an independent marketing research and consulting firm. A total of 1,458 units were sold this quarter, down from second quarter's total of 1,826. "Sales are stable compared to the same period a year ago, decreasing by only 4.6 percent," commented Steve Johnson, a partner of The Meyers Group. "While this is a negligible decrease from a year ago, it is an unwelcome though expected drop from the last quarter by 368 units."
 A total of 4,923 housing units have been absorbed year-to-date through third quarter, which is 1,207 units or 19.7 percent less than the 6,130 units sold up to this point last year. "Sales during the fourth quarter are expected to be modest, in the 1,200-units range," Johnson said. Total sales for 1992 are projected to be in the 6,100-unit range, or a decrease of 15 percent, from 1991's total of 7,215.
 The median base price for detached housing increased slightly to $298,000, or by 2.8 percent. This uptick ended the declining trend seen for the past three quarters, which had culminated in the lowest median price ($289,900) in four years. Overall detached pricing remains moderate compared to last year's data, when the detached median was at $327,000. Relative to previous years, this is a sharp decline as the median has dropped by $71,000 from the high point of the market, achieved in 1988.
 The overall attached median base price dropped slightly (1.1 percent) to $167,990. The median for attached housing has remained in the upper $160,000s range throughout 1992, largely affected by the influx of affordably priced condo conversion projects which will continue to dominate the Orange County attached market. Before the majority of conversion projects entered the market, the attached median ranged in the mid-$180,000s.
 The increase in the detached median base price is a relatively minor fluctuation and is not indicative of any significant change in the marketplace, which seems to be holding its collective breath. Johnson commented, "The outcome of the presidential election and the subsequent impact on the economy is not likely to be reflected in the market until the spring of 1993." In the interim, the projects with the lowest land bases and better housing values will continue to be absorbed at rates in excess of one unit per week.
 A total of 2,753 new homes (attached and detached) remained in available inventory at the end of the third quarter. This represents only a slight increase of 2.7 percent from the second quarter's total of 2,681, and less than 1 percent increase from one year ago. As during last quarter, available inventory continues to be split nearly evenly between attached and detached units at 50.4 percent and 49.6 percent, respectively. Based upon year-to-date sales, there is approximately a 22-week supply of available inventory.
 The Meyers Group is an independent marketing research and consulting firm, which serves the real estate industry in the Western United States. The Competitive Housing Market Report is a quarterly publication.
 -0- 10/9/92
 /CONTACT: Steve Johnson, 716-735-7620, or Mary Cameron, 818-501-8905, both of The Meyers Group/ CO: The Meyers Group ST: California IN: FIN SU:


KJ-LS -- LA028 -- 8596 10/09/92 19:43 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 9, 1992
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