Orange County, California is a diverse real estate market with homes available across a broad pricing spectrum. But when it gets pricey, it gets really pricey. Some of the most expensive neighborhoods in the country are located here.
For this report, however, we skipped the national comparisons and kept our focus within the county itself. What follows are the five most expensive zip codes in Orange County.
Details: The following list is based on median sales price data for the period of July to September 2012, as reported by Trulia. Each zip code is followed by the city or community in which it occurs, along with the median sales price for that particular zip code. Some cities had more than one zip code that made our list.
#1 — 90742, Sunset Beach, $2.17 million
Sunset Beach is a beachfront community located along the Pacific Coast Highway. It started as a sort of boomtown, when oil was discovered in the area in 1920. In 2011, Sunset Beach was annexed by the city of Huntington Beach. The median sales price for this zip code during the three-month period of July to September 2012 was $2.17 million.
The average listing price during the first week of October was $2,529,593. This is the average price at which homes were listed for sale (a.k.a., the asking price) during the period mentioned. Sellers in these zip codes are able to support higher asking prices due to strong demand and limited inventory.
#2 — 92657, Newport Coast, $1.9 million
Newport Coast was a census-designated place within Orange County, until 2001 when it was annexed by the city of Newport Beach. This area offers a diverse housing mix that ranges from small, one-bedroom apartments to oceanfront mansions.
According to DataQuick, a San Diego-based data provider, the median sales price in this zip code increased by 56% from August 2011 to August 2012. As of the first week of October, the average listing price in Newport Coast was $4,722,300.
#3 — 92662, Newport Beach, $1.7 million
This zip code includes all of Balboa Island. The real estate market on the island includes a mix of vacation rentals and high-priced homes, with plenty of piers around the perimeter to accommodate the homeowners’ boats. Based on 2006 census data, it’s also one of the most densely populated areas of Orange County. During the first week of October, the average listing price in this zip code was $3,030,268.
#4 — 92625, Corona del Mar, $1.45 million
Corona del Mar is a well-to-do neighborhood in the city of Newport Beach, California (there’s that city again). But it has its own zip code and therefore deserves its own spot on our list. According to Trulia, the median sales price in Corona del Mar rose by 12.7% from September 2011 to September of this year. The average price per square foot shot up by nearly 25% during the same one-year period. As with much of the county, inventory reduction has been the primary driver of price gains.
#5 — 92661, Newport Beach, $1.4 million
You might have noticed a trend by now. Four of the five most expensive zip codes in Orange County occur within the same city. Newport Beach is clearly one of the priciest real estate markets in the country. In fact, if we ran this list out to the ten most expensive zip codes, Newport Beach would have five of the top ten spots.
Each year, Coldwell Banker publishes a ‘Home Listing Report’ with market data for 2,300 cities across the United States. For the last two years, Newport Beach led the list of most expensive U.S. real estate markets.
According to Coldwell Banker: “Newport Beach … tops the list of most expensive U.S. markets for a second straight year, and is almost a million dollars more than the next most expensive market, Pacific Palisades.”
Editor’s note: Coldwell Banker’s rankings were based on average listing prices for homes. Our ranking was based on median sales price. That accounts for the differences in the #1 position.
The O.C. Real Estate Market in 2013
So what’s in store for the Orange County real estate market in 2013? To get a broader sense of this market, you might want to read our Orange County overview from last month. Here are some highlights from that report:
- The median list price in O.C. rose by 6.7% over the last year or so.
- From August 2011 to August 2012, the number of O.C. homes listed for sale on Realtor.com fell by 32%.
- This reduction in inventory allows sellers to justify higher asking prices.
- Countywide, the median sales price rose by 6% during the 12-month period mentioned above.
- Orange County’s unemployment rate fell to 7.7% in August, down from a high of 9.9% in January 2010.
- Mortgage rates are still at historic lows in California, and elsewhere in the country.
A brighter employment picture, combined with low mortgage rates and improved market stability, will likely boost home sales and prices in Orange County into the first part of 2013. Beyond that is anyone’s guess.
Disclaimer: This story contains forward-looking statements (predictions and projections) about the real estate market in Orange County, California. These statements are provided for educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. We make no guarantees about the future of this, or any other, housing market.