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RISMEDIA, May 14, 2007-(MCT)-The $300,000 house is back.In fact, it’s the new centerpiece of Orange County’s housing market. If you lined up all the single-family homes sold last month in Orange County from lowest-priced to highest, you’d find something for $300,000 right in the middle, according to data from the Orange County Association of Realtors.

That’s the lowest Orange’s median sale price has been in more than a year. It also represents a stunning 11.8 percent drop from the $340,000 median price of April 2006. Stunning, that is, until you realize that last year’s $340,000 figure was an isolated upward blip in an otherwise flat year.

Through the first four months of 2007, the median was $310,000, down 1.6 percent from the median of $315,000 for the same period a year ago. The number of homes sold fell 11.8 percent.

It isn’t wise to read too much into one month’s figures, since they tend to be fairly volatile. Still, the re-emergence of $300,000 as the median price is meaningful on several levels.

For buyers, it reflects the persistent interest in lower-priced homes, in say, the $250,000 to $300,000 range, while higher priced homes languish on the market.
For sellers, it’s indicative of a new reality. If you want to do business in today’s market, you’ve got to be selling what people want to buy.

“It used to be, you were happy when you got the high-end listings,” said Ron Valure, broker/owner of Viking Realty. “Now, you don’t even want them.”

And for history buffs, it hearkens all the way back to 2005 — April 2005, to be exact, when the median was, again, $300,000.

Copyright © 2007, The Times Herald-Record, Middletown, N.Y.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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