On the Market: How Much House Can You Afford at $2,088* Per Month?

A Mission Viejo starter at $2,088* per month

All signs point to another year of climbing home values in Orange County—to the tune of 3 to 4 percent, says Laguna Niguel real estate broker Michael Bianchi. And while inventory remains flat, eased lending standards may entice more buyers next year. “We’re hoping to see some loosening with respect to credit and income,” he says.

On the other hand, he and Esmael Adibi, director of Chapman University’s economic research center, expect interest rates to rise, making borrowing more expensive. “If rates go up one point, it’s like raising the monthly payment 20 to 25 percent,” says Bianchi.

With three bedrooms and two baths in 1,175 square feet, this $515,000 Mission Viejo home owes its curb appeal to a brick-lined walk and faux grass. The 1976 house on Aguilar has an eat-in kitchen, a vaulted-ceiling living room with a fireplace, and a two-car garage. The fenced backyard has room for entertaining. Pamela Etem, 714-717-6408

*Monthly mortgage estimates with 20 percent down on a 30-year loan at 4½ percent.

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