Chapman, general manager of Orange County for Prudential California
Realty. "But buyers and sellers need to know that you can have a rise
in the median price, but not experience a great deal of appreciation
in an individual part of the market."
The median should not be confused with the average price. A
median-priced home has with as many priced above it as below, it is
the mid-point price of all the homes for sale in a specific market,
in this case, ZIP code 92651.
"Laguna's median-priced home has always been out of range of the
median-income family," Chapman said. "But Orange County homes have
always been expensive in comparison to other counties in California
and compared to the rest of the country."
A low rate of unemployment and a diverse job market -- not to
mention the weather and the recreation and entertainment options make
the county a desirable place to live.
The most desirable place to live in the county is on the coast.
The highest medians, traditionally, are posted in Laguna Beach and
some parts of Newport Beach. The countywide median was $398,000 in
May compared to $1.06 million in Newport Beach's 92657 ZIP code, a
16.8% increase over the previous year; $2.02 million in Newport
Beach's 92661 ZIP code, a 14.6% increase; and Laguna's 49.1%
Laguna's 92651 ZIP code includes Emerald Bay, where the least
expensive homes are selling on the high side of $2 million, said
Wayne Baglin, a real estate broker and city councilman. It also
includes California Cove on El Toro Road, where homes sell for much
less. Sales at one end of the spectrum or the other show a marked
affect on the median.
"If five or six homes sell in California Cove in one month and not
any or not many in Emerald Bay, the median can go down to $800,000,"
Baglin said. "It can jump around from $800,000 to $1 million and back
to $900,000 in different months.
"What the median gives you is a rough indicator, not an accurate
indicator. But it does tell you that real estate is expensive here."
Historically speaking, home buyers would approach a $1 million