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Home prices still climbing

December 17, 2005|By By Andrew Edwards

November median prices in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa up compared with same month in '04.Here's a gift for Newport-Mesa homeowners: A recent round of statistics shows that throughout the area, median home prices recorded during November posted gains when compared with the same last year.

Newport Beach did not have a ZIP Code where median home prices were less than $1.3 million. Median home values in both of the Costa Mesa's ZIP Codes exceeded $700,000 in November.

The numbers were released Thursday by DataQuick Information Systems, a La Jolla-based company that tracks home prices. The figures include sales prices for single-family homes and condos.

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In Costa Mesa, "It's hard to find anything under $650,000 right know," said Valerie Torelli of Torelli Realty.

It's a market where first-time buyers are a rare creature, she said.

"That's what my market is right now, people moving from the smaller homes to bigger homes," Torelli said.

The market in Costa Mesa is steady but not hectic, explained First Team Real Estate agent Lori Robnett. In Robnett's assessment, there are plenty of buyers looking to move to Costa Mesa, but just because someone puts a house on the market doesn't mean they can make a deal at any price.

"Things have to be priced right," Robnett said. "Personally, I think it is slowing down, and high property values have reduced the number of buyers."

When it comes to the outlook for next year, real estate forecasts can vary widely. For example, the California Assn. of Realtors has projected home prices in the state's coastal markets will go up by 6% to 12% next year. Conversely, Chapman University professor Esmael Adibi has again produced a bearish forecast, predicting Orange County home prices to dip by 4.2% next year.

No matter what happens elsewhere, First Team Real Estate Agent Kent McNaughton said he anticipates 2006 to be another bullish year in Newport Beach. He considers the city a "recession-resistant" area that would be immune to any economic trends that may drive home prices down elsewhere.

McNaughton said he does see the possibility of some difficulty -- Newport's real estate agents competing for their piece of a lucrative pie.

"It's a very good time for agents, that's correct. Though there are very few homes on the market, which could make it a very difficult time for agents," he said.

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