Both sections of Orange County - North Orange County and South Orange County - were not absolutely devastated by the bursting of the real estate bubble and the subsequent nationwide economic recession. Nonetheless, the region was definitely impacted by the crisis, some sectors more than others. There also seem to be many more potential buyers in the greater Orange County area than in the rest of the state of California at large, indicating a presence of investment capital. There is also a considerable amount of contradictory information about the real estate market in Orange County, with some signs suggesting that a turnaround may be impending, while others point towards a continued and deepening problem.
For example, the “Mortgage Insider”, an article in the Orange County Register written by Matthew Padilla, reported on July 15, 2009 that the number of foreclosures continued to increase for the fifth straight month (June 2008). This seems to contradict an article published in the July 16 edition of the Register, which found that “Steve Thomas at Altera Real Estate in Aliso Viejo reports that last week there were 374 foreclosures for sale in Orange County, which seems like an incredibly small number. It indicated demand is strong for cheaper foreclosures and inventory is slow to hit the market.” In other words, a lot of people are having trouble paying for their mortgages, but there are also a lot of people willing to scoop up bargains.
The commercial real estate portion of South Orange County real estate is in a bit of trouble. In fact, the commercial real estate in South Orange County and the rest of greater LA has been hardest hit compared to its surroundings. According to a July 19, 2009 article in the Los Angeles Times, “The lousy economy continues to quash the commercial real estate market, driving down rents and pushing out tenants...Offices and warehouses empty out, even as rents decrease, in LA, Riverside, Orange, and San Bernardino Counties. A turnaround might be years away.” Ultimately though, the fate of South Orange real estate depends on when the recovery of the overall economy begins.