Studying Irvine’s home values

by TOM BERG

Something stood out to Metrostudy Chief Economist Mark Boud when analyzing Orange County home value data in July: Irvine was an outlier … by a lot.

So he reran the numbers, and ran them again. Same result.

Boud’s analysis confirmed that Irvine new-home values have tripled Orange County’s overall appreciation rate.

Since 2005, Irvine home values have appreciated by 77%. The rest of Orange County appreciated at 22%.

“The proof of Irvine’s value is in the numbers,” Boud says. “The city has significantly outpaced its neighbors.”

And the correlation isn’t just during periods of economic growth.

Boud’s numbers also show that during challenging times, Irvine’s homes depreciate at a far slower pace than those in surrounding communities.

“We believe it is Irvine’s balance that drives and retains value,” Boud says. “Schools, parks, open space, high-paying jobs, public safety … all these factors converge positively here in ways other communities simply cannot match.”

Boud also notes that value should not be confused with prices.

“It’s the difference between climate and weather,” Boud explains. “We’re looking at the long-term arc of home values. Prices will fluctuate from time to time, but what’s more important for a local economy is how value performs over the long haul, and Irvine is in a class of its own.”

While Irvine’s balance is well-known, its schools appear to be the primary driving force for local families. According to homebuyer surveys conducted by Irvine Pacific – an Irvine-based homebuilder – schools were the No. 1 factor in choosing to buy in Irvine.

“We bought our home in Portola Springs eight years ago because of the incredible schools and convenient location – it’s close to everything,” says Cameron Salehi, a homeowner in Portola Springs. “We love it here and plan to stay, but it is great that our home values keep going up.”