The real estate market has dominated press headlines for the last two years. For most of 2006, OC Register headlines resounded “O.C. weekly median hits a record” and “Existing home sales and prices rise dramatically” on an almost daily basis. Now, with headlines in 2007 bringing us the news that “O.C. home market ’07 starts with slowest pace in 11 years” and “O.C. house prices down again”, many claim the sky is falling on the Orange County real estate market and that foreclosures will skyrocket, home prices will plunge, and with it our economy may be pulled into a recession.
Where is the truth in all this?
Orange County’s economy is located at the heart of one of the world’s best, highest growth markets: Southern California. We consistently have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation and highest levels of job creation among U.S. metro areas. According to the Milken Institute, we have the most diversified high-tech economy in the nation. Finally, if we were a country, Orange County’s economy would rank 37th–larger than Israel, Singapore, and the Czech Republic.
Numerous studies and reports have also placed Orange County at the top in terms of quality of life among U.S. metro areas. We have objective numbers to confirm this. According to the FBI, Orange County has the lowest crime statistics in California. Orange County’s infrastructure systems are the envy of surrounding counties, and residents rate their quality of life and arts opportunities very highly. Last but not least, climate and access to recreational opportunities such as the beach and ocean are second to none.
Whatever the day to day headlines say about home prices, few places, if any, can offer what Orange County has: both great quality of life and real opportunity to advance and prosper economically. Even those who bought during the last dip in real estate values of the early 1990’s, and temporarily saw real estate values slip slightly, were doing very well even five years later. History has proven time and again that an investment in Orange County real estate is one of the best investments a person one can make. This time is no different.