Some of the first concerns that come to mind when looking for a new home are the budget and how far that budget will go.
Since you’re most likely not a billionaire, knowing what cities you can afford is important.
To celebrate the New Year and the launch of our real estate appraisal business, we figured we would help out.
We wanted to put this concern into perspective for our home turf of Orange County, California.
To do this, we analyzed 28,512 sales of residential properties in Orange County that sold in 2016 and made two maps based on the average prices for each city.
These 28,512 sales included detached and attached properties in the incorporated cities of Orange County.
From this data, we determined that you are going to have to fork over around a half million just to get a decent detached home, or around half of that if you even want to get a place in Orange County at all.
If you didn’t have a heart attack (Or close the page) after hearing that, then check out the two maps below, and we’ll take a closer look.
Average Prices of Detached Homes in Orange County, California:
(Click to Enlarge)
Average Prices of Attached Homes in Orange County, California:
(Click to Enlarge)
To find the data for these maps, we used the regional MLS, CRMLS. This data was from the past year (2016) in the incorporated cities of Orange County.
That means that if it wasn’t listed on CRMLS in the past year, then it wasn’t included in these maps.
The 28,512 sales include 17,797 detached property sales and 10,715 attached property sales.
To represent the average home prices accurately, we created two separate maps.
One map is for detached properties, and one is for attached properties.
The reason we did this is that detached properties always sell for significantly more.
Now what you see may shock you, but don’t worry. These numbers are averages, not the entry price for a property in these cities.
Average Prices of Homes in Orange County, California
The data used for the maps is laid out below.
The following tables below show:
- Name of the city
- Number of sales
- Price ranges
- Averages of these sales
|City||# of Sales||Price Range||Average Price|
|Aliso Viejo||348||410,000 - 1,500,000||$788,647|
|Anaheim||1502||280,000 - 4,300,000||$624,864|
|Brea||375||425,000 - 2,465,000||$761,364|
|Buena Park||439||250,000 - 1,200,000||$546,609|
|Costa Mesa||534||505,000 - 3,300,000||$859,747|
|Cypress||267||340,000 - 1,350,000||$691,686|
|Dana Point||337||510,000 - 19,997,000||$1,713,748|
|Fountain Valley||303||445,000 - 1,385,000||$777,425|
|Fullerton||852||291,000 - 3,280,000||$714,448|
|Garden Grove||703||331,000 - 1,480,000||$566,686|
|Huntington Beach||1152||400,000 - 5,700,000||$983,249|
|Irvine||1379||475,000 - 9,950,000||$1,190,634|
|La Habra||358||288,000 - 1,315,000||$579,845|
|La Palma||76||485,000 - 899,000||$647,914|
|Laguna Beach||308||450,000 - 45,000,000||$2,624,995|
|Laguna Hills||264||375,900 - 3,500,000||$1,019,872|
|Laguna Niguel||576||520,000 - 6,295,000||$1,033,988|
|Laguna Woods||29||475,000 - 1,050,000||$734,862|
|Lake Forest||629||405,000 - 1,773,880||$729,563|
|Los Alamitos||54||520,000 - 1,900,000||$817,169|
|Mission Viejo||1000||415,000 - 2,500,000||$722,867|
|Newport Beach||739||720,000 - 28,000,000||$2,881,466|
|Orange||869||370,000 - 3,515,000||$734,715|
|Placentia||339||310,750 - 1,200,000||$678,934|
|Rancho Santa Margarita||529||448,000 - 1,525,000||$737,016|
|San Clemente||751||425,000 - 7,588,000||$1,076,612|
|San Juan Capistrano||331||383,904 - 6,500,000||$1,152,300|
|Santa Ana||817||240,000 - 1,500,000||$534,351|
|Seal Beach||94||590,000 - 2,226,000||$1,045,996|
|Stanton||64||375,000 - 770,000||$510,020|
|Tustin||406||423,000 - 3,750,000||$847,259|
|Villa Park||62||600,000 - 2,650,000||$1,335,370|
|Westminster||353||360,000 - 2,150,000||$625,280|
|Yorba Linda||646||370,000 - 4,300,000||$968,460|
|City||# of Sales||Price Range||Average Price|
|Aliso Viejo||585||180,000 - 760,000||$450,342|
|Anaheim||800||105,000 - 727,500||$419,570|
|Brea||125||316,000 - 700,000||$506,886|
|Buena Park||116||300,000 - 579,000||$453,291|
|Costa Mesa||264||147,000 - 925,000||$538,208|
|Cypress||181||168,000 - 835,000||$458,327|
|Dana Point||191||186,000 - 3,875,000||$694,493|
|Fountain Valley||127||180,000 - 651,375||$460,136|
|Fullerton||375||120,000 - 645,000||$411,519|
|Garden Grove||304||195,000 - 529,000||$357,470|
|Huntington Beach||785||107,500 - 1,795,000||$543,057|
|Irvine||1405||209,900 - 2,315,000||$607,831|
|La Habra||178||185,000 - 512,500||$324,127|
|La Palma||15||320,000 - 535,000||$404,760|
|Laguna Beach||58||261,600 - 6,000,000||$1,586,599|
|Laguna Hills||199||227,000 - 778,000||$419,659|
|Laguna Niguel||516||235,000 - 1,550,000||$499,457|
|Laguna Woods||460||2,000 - 1,170,000||$306,591|
|Lake Forest||470||188,399 - 1,100,000||$411,899|
|Los Alamitos||26||378,000 - 604,000||$481,146|
|Mission Viejo||423||166,000 - 1,010,000||$440,624|
|Newport Beach||368||300,000 -3,400,000||$988,807|
|Orange||338||145,000 - 810,000||$420,676|
|Placentia||147||178,000 - 635,000||$413,597|
|Rancho Santa Margarita||448||198,000 - 744,900||$409,439|
|San Clemente||221||239,000 - 2,600,000||$631,060|
|San Juan Capistrano||143||185,000 - 820,000||$451,075|
|Santa Ana||530||94,000 - 760,000||$311,079|
|Seal Beach||48||243,000 - 935,000||$412,792|
|Stanton||131||190,000 - 480,000||$341,518|
|Tustin||394||200,000 - 920,000||$448,740|
|Westminster||70||262,000 - 620,180||$428,299|
|Yorba Linda||267||185,000 - 1,130,000||$515,234|
As you can see from the data above, even if the averages are higher, it doesn’t mean that you can’t buy into these areas for less.
Notice how some of the cities have wide ranges, while some have tight ranges. It all depends on the city and what was available in 2016.
For the most part, these charts represent the housing market in Orange County for 2016 quite well.
With all this in mind, what cities can you afford?
Well, let me start off by saying that I’m in no way a financial planner of any sorts. I’m a real estate appraiser.
These are conclusions based on the average home prices over the past year and the budget you can afford.
If your budget is over $2,000,000, then you can pretty much buy into any city in Orange County.
You might need a little more to afford the trophy properties, but you can live comfortably on $2,000,000 anywhere in the county.
If you’re into having large amounts of land like I am, then I would stick to areas like San Juan Capistrano, Tustin, Yorba Linda, and east Orange County.
$1,000,000 – $2,000,000
While $1,000,000 – $2,000,000 is still a hefty budget, it might be tight in the nicest areas like Newport and Laguna Beach.
This budget will still comfortably buy you into pretty much every other city in the county.
You could afford a suitable property in:
$750,000 – $1,000,000
Once you drop below the $1,000,000 line, your options start to decrease slowly.
The good news is that a $750,000 – $1,000,000 budget can still get you a lot for your money.
While you might not be able to get into the southern beach cities, Huntington Beach is still doable if you want to live near the water.
Recommended cities in this price range:
$500,000 – $750,000
$500,000 – $750,000 can get you into the rest of the cities in Orange County that I have not mentioned yet.
The majority will be in the northern part of the county, but there are also some other decent areas in the south as well.
If you want to live in south county, once you go east of the 5 Freeway, $500,000 – $750,000 will get you a decent place.
Cities worth mentioning in this price range are:
So where’s the cheapest real estate?
If you’re not too concerned about the safety and cleanliness of the neighborhood you live in, Santa Ana.
This past year, they had the lowest detached home sale at $240,000 and one of the lowest attached home sales at $94,000. Buena Park had the second detached home sale lowest at $250,000.
If you are looking for a safer and cleaner, but still affordable area to live in, Santa Ana has some nicer areas as well.
I would also recommend checking out the cities of Orange and Fullerton. You can still get some good deals on quality properties there.
And the most expensive?
Well, Laguna Beach for one, had the most expensive sale in the county this past year. You may recognize it as the Twin Points.
It’s safe to say that with its 2.28 acres and private beach, it’s the most desirable oceanfront lot in the entire county.
But that’s why the owners have had it in the family since 1930 and waited until this past year to sell it for a fortune. $45,000,000 to be exact.
The city of Newport Beach also some high dollar sales in the past year.
The next two highest sales in the county were a ~6,700 square foot home on Linda Isle and an 18,650 square foot home in Newport Coast. Both done to the nines of course.
Dana Point also had a couple of properties in the top 10 highest sales.
Both of these properties are on the most exclusive street in Dana Point, Strand Beach Dr.
Orange County’s Top 10 Highest Sales in 2016
In case you’re interested, here’s a table below with the top 10 highest sales in Orange County this past year.
I won’t give you the exact addresses for the privacy of the owners, but if you do a little snooping, I’m sure you could find them.
|Marine DR||Laguna Beach||$45,000,000||2308/A||1928||2.28/99,317|
|Linda Isle||Newport Beach||$20,000,000||6788/B||2016||0.19/8,276|
|Strand Beach DR||Dana Point||$19,997,500||9950/E||2010||0.227/9,879|
|Emerald Bay||Laguna Beach||$19,125,000||1910/A||1948||0.26/11,326|
|Strand Beach DR||Dana Point||$17,225,000||8838/E||2010||0.236/10,289|
|Ocean WY||Laguna Beach||$16,000,000||5650/E||2009||0.23/10,019|
|Deep Sea||Newport Coast||$15,025,000||10600/E||2013||0.592/25,809|
|Masters CR||Newport Coast||$13,000,000||11908/AP||2001||0.473/20,596|
So what can we conclude from this past year of sales data?
- Newport Beach and Laguna Beach will always be the most expensive cities in Orange County
- Cities by the ocean are always going to be more expensive than the cities that are further inland
- Cities that are in the southern part of the county tend to have higher averages than the northern part
- For detached properties, Huntington Beach as a whole is the cheapest beach city that you can buy in
- Villa Park and Yorba Linda have the highest detached home averages in the northern part of the county
- For attached properties, the majority of the averages are between $400,000 and $500,000, which gives buyers in that price range plenty of options
- There are many other properties available in the unincorporated areas ranging from $140,000 to $4,600,000 that were not included in this data
- Orange County home values continue to rise with no signs of slowing down anytime soon
If you’re in the real estate industry in Orange County or Southern California, I’d be curious to see what your opinions are on the market and this data.
Let me know in the comments below.
P.S. Feel free to print the maps and share them, or share this post! I created them with the intent to be shared.