OC Housing Report

Supply Dilemma

In the past few years, there has been a severe inventory crisis initially instigated by the pandemic and now due  to the high mortgage rate environment.  Since the pandemic, there have not been enough homes available, and 2023 is no different.

The pandemic lockdowns began three years ago, in March 2020. Life came to an abrupt halt. Instantly, grocery shelves were ransacked as everyone prepared for an indefinite time in their homes. Many aisles were empty, most notably the toilet paper aisle. There was a run on toilet paper, and it lasted throughout 2020. In desperation, people resorted to shopping for rolls on eBay or Amazon and were willing to pay whatever price. It was simple supply and demand. 

Similarly, the housing shelves have been seemingly empty since entering the pandemic, with very few homes available compared to pre-COVID inventory levels. In 2020 and 2021, fewer homeowners opted to sell their homes amid the pandemic. Orange County had 5% fewer sellers in 2020 compared to the 3-year average before COVID-19 (2017 to 2019), or 1,800 less. In 2021, it rose to 6%, or 2,300 missing sellers. Surging demand had an even more significant impact on shrinking the supply of available homes. From March 2020 to January 2021, rates reached 17 record lows. As rates plummeted, demand surged. As a result, the inventory reached record lows in 2020 and 2021.

The inventory finally began to rise in 2022 as rates soared from 3.25% at the start of the year to the mid-5s in June and July. Yet, rates rose further, surpassing 6% in September and 7% in October. Since 89% of all Californians have rates at or below 5% and 71% have rates at or below 4%, only some homeowners have been willing to give up their incredibly low fixed-rate mortgages and sell their homes. This “hunkering down” effect has resulted in a growing number of homeowners staying put. In 2022, there were 8,500 fewer sellers, 22% less. 

Today, there are only 2,218 homes available to purchase in all of Orange County. There were 1,406 last year, catastrophically low and 37% lower than today. In 2021, there were 8% more. The marketplace is complaining about a lack of supply, just like they did in March 2021 and 2022. The lowest level by far before COVID was achieved in 2013 at 3,237 homes. That was 45% higher than the current level. The 6-year average from 2014 to 2019 for this time of year was 5,273 homes, an additional 3,055, or 138% extra, more than double. The current inventory level remains severely low.












Excerpt taken from an article by Steven Thomas.

About the Author

Tim Morissette, also known in the community as Mr. Foothill Ranch, offers over 46 years of real estate experience which has given him an established reputation and unmatched market knowledge. He is joined by his wife, Michele and sons Matt and Jeff, as they continue to offer personal service with an emphasis on achieving his clients’ real estate goals.  This unique combination of traits has led to his proven track record of referral and repeat business. This can be witnessed by the trust of homeowners in Foothill Ranch where he has sold twice as many homes and represented three times more buyers than the next-leading real estate agent for the last 26 years.

As residents of Foothill Ranch since 1994, Tim and Michele are actively involved in the community by fundraising for Foothill Ranch Library, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Cancer Society, Homes for Habitat, Relay for Life, South County Outreach, and the local church and schools. Tim enjoys sponsoring community-wide garage sales, paper shredding and e-waste recycling event, an Easter egg hunt, & a Meet Santa Event.

Tim and Michele are dedicated to their family of four sons, daughter-in-laws, and grandchildren. As a family, they enjoy many outdoor activities which include camping, spearfishing, mountain climbing and exploring the miles of hiking and equestrian trails in Foothill Ranch and the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. Tim and his sons are also avid snowboarders and enjoy mountain biking and lobster diving. Family is a top priority in the Morissette household. They look forward to helping more families achieve their dreams of homeownership.