Here’s why Orange County homes are selling for more than their asking prices – Orange County Register

Regina Harper kept getting aced out.

The teacher’s aide and widow sold her 1,703-square foot, four-bedroom Buena Park house in May.

She was looking to downsize, but the homes she found online were snapped up before she could set foot inside. She managed to make offers on three places, but she was outbid each time. Once, she came in just $1,000 under the buyer.

“I did feel a lot of pressure,” said the 64-year-old great grandmother. “I kept saying, ‘I’m not going to find a home.’ “

Finally, after she rushed out to see a newly listed two-bedroom Anaheim townhouse listed at $439,000, the seller accepted her offer.

It was $25,000 over the asking price.

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House hunting in Orange County has long been a challenge, but an especially low supply of homes on the market has heightened demand in what already was a seller’s market – one putting buyers at a disadvantage.

These days, bidding wars aren’t necessarily limited to the lower price ranges. A six-bedroom house in Huntington Beach’s upscale Edwards Hill community that recently sold at $2.55 million went for $151,000 over the asking price.

In May, nearly a third of homes – 29.8 percent – on the Multiple Listing Service in Orange County sold above the original asking price, compared to just under 24 percent in May 2016, according to real estate consultant Pat Veling, president of Real Data Strategies in Brea.*

Fewer than 5,800 existing homes were listed for sale at the end of May, said analyst Steve Thomas’ ReportsOnHousing.com. That compared to a May average of more than 9,200 homes for the past 13 years.

“The trend of a lack of inventory and red hot demand stoked by ultra low-interest rates does not look like it will change course anytime soon,” Thomas wrote in his report in early July.

“Multiple offers is the norm. This holds true for just about any property priced below $1.25 million that is in great condition, nicely appointed, in a good location, and priced right, close to its fair market value,” he said. “In the lower price ranges, buyers are tripping over each other.”

The low supply has pushed up prices. The median price of an Orange County home —the midpoint of all sales —rose to $695,000 in May, up 6.7 percent from a year prior.

For a sense of how those numbers are playing out on the ground, The Register searched for properties that sold in April and May, and with some help from hometrackers Zillow and Redfin, came up with a sampling of houses that…

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