Orange County - a Southern California gem on the rise

Located just an hour south of Los Angeles, Orange County is a popular destination for plenty of families and young professionals who want to live in a beautiful, mature neighborhood and don't mind a bit of a commute to downtown so long as they can spend their weekends on the beach.  But don't believe everything the old television show taught you about this SoCal area - it's more than fancy pools and private high schools. As far as real estate in Los Angeles goes, Orange County is definitely on the rise.

According to Home Buyers Institute, Orange County real estate is even more solid now than it was a year ago, and the trend is projected to only continue upward. Sellers in Orange County are asking - and getting - higher prices on their homes, with the median home price reaching $479,000 this year, the source states.

Part of the reason Orange County sellers were able to justify these high asking prices is a precipitous drop in inventory. Listings shrank by 32 percent over the last year, according to the source, giving sellers a chance to raise their asking prices. It seems that buyers determined the price tags were worth the safety and beauty of Orange County's many gorgeous areas, because even high-priced homes are selling fast just south of LA.

Neighborhoods like Anaheim, Santa Anna, Irvine, Garden Grove and Huntington Beach all enjoyed positive real estate trends, and looking ahead to 2013, there may be more good news to come. Home Buyers Institute reports that due to improved conditions on the buyer's side and a continued drop in houses for sale, Orange County residents can expect to get even more of the full value of their abodes when selling in the coming year.

It's not just sellers of existing homes who are in the black - home builders are enjoying a year-over-year uptick as well. According to the Orange County Register, September saw a slight increase in home builder business over comparable figures from 2011. Data from DataQuick's Orange County Home Buying Report shows that for the 22 business days preceding September 10, 2012, homebuilders sold 154 new houses - an increase of 1 percent.

When it comes to real estate in Los Angeles, progress may be small, but it's nonetheless worthy of note. It may take some time for the market to reach pre-recession levels, but at least in beautiful Southern California, homeowners, buyers, sellers and builders are all feeling optimistic about the future.