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Good news for home buyers

October 14, 2014

There’s been a lot of news circulating around the housing market recently, much of it good news for home buyers. According to the CoreLogic Research Group, one of the most respected statistic bases for existing home sales, California median home sale prices are still 13% below what they were at the previous market peak almost 10 years ago. In addition, sale prices on individual homes, especially at lower price points, are even a further percentage below what they were. Several recent sales and active listings in the Santa Barbara MLS indicate selling and listing prices still almost 20% below recorded numbers for the same properties sold during the last peak market years. This is great news for buyers who qualify for financing or have all cash available. Interest rates are currently hovering around all-time lows and buyer competition is partially limited by tight credit standards lenders have in place.

Two factors to watch for that will undoubtedly affect the market is the larger influx of foreign property investors, and the easing of ultra-tough loan qualifying standards to more reasonable levels. Before these and other factors start calming current buyer advantages you may want to consider some of the exceptional opportunities in today’s market. I look forward to keeping you up to date with the most current information and property offerings in the Santa Barbara area and appreciate your inquiries.

A beautiful fall in Santa Barbara

October 1, 2014

With sunny skies and mid-80 degree temperatures it’s hard to believe that fall will be descending on Santa Barbara next week. Of course epic weather is not unusual for the area even through the beginning months of winter. It’s a great time of year to be visiting and looking at properties, especially those with fantastic views. If you’ve not had the opportunity to experience Santa Barbara at this time of year I highly recommend that you do.

Following are a few upcoming activities you can add to your outdoor calendar in-between house hunting and enjoying the great Mediterranean climate Santa Barbara has to offer.

California Lemon Festival at Girsh Park in Goleta – Sept. 20 from 10am-6pm and Sept. 21 from 10am-5pm

SOL Food Festival at Vera Cruz Park in Santa Barbara – Sept. 27 from 10am-8pm

California Avocado Festival in Downtown Carpinteria – Oct. 3 from 11am-10pm, Oct. 4 from 10am-10pm and Oct. 5 from 10am-6pm

Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival at Santa Barbara’s Harbor – Oct. 11 from 10am-5pm

Santa Barbara Vintners Celebration of Harvest Weekend at the Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang – Oct. 10 from 5-10pm, Oct. 11 from 11am-10pm and Oct. 12 from 10am-8pm

Santa Barbara Beer Festival at Elings Park in Santa Barbara – Oct. 18 from 12-4pm

As fall begins home inventory in the area is looking good and buyer competition has tapered some. I hope to see you out and about enjoying the phenomenal weather, scenery, activities and real estate opportunities that the coming season is geared to bring.

20 Year Anniversary

September 30, 2014

This month marks the 20th anniversary of my career as a Realtor in the Santa Barbara area. Over the years I have had the good fortune of working with hundreds of clients to whom I owe my business success to. Thanks to all of you who have given me the opportunity to do what I enjoy most in a place that I love the best.

It is not my success or desire to succeed that will keep me passionate about the business for the next 20 years. The strongest motivation comes from the ability to establish positive and life changing relationships along the way. As stated on my website, “It can be as rewarding watching others achieve their dreams and goals as accomplishing our own. Contributing to another’s success allows for some of life’s finest moments.”

Thanks for all of your inquiries and for the opportunity to assist you with your most important real estate dreams and goals in the years ahead. Here’s a toast: “To your success!”

A beautiful fall in Santa Barbara

September 16, 2014

With sunny skies and mid-80 degree temperatures it’s hard to believe that fall will be descending on Santa Barbara next week. Of course epic weather is not unusual for the area even through the beginning months of winter. It’s a great time of year to be visiting and looking at properties, especially those with fantastic views. If you’ve not had the opportunity to experience Santa Barbara at this time of year I highly recommend that you do.

Following are a few upcoming activities you can add to your outdoor calendar in-between house hunting and enjoying the great Mediterranean climate Santa Barbara has to offer.

California Lemon Festival at Girsh Park in Goleta – Sept. 20 from 10am-6pm and Sept. 21 from 10am-5pm

SOL Food Festival at Vera Cruz Park in Santa Barbara – Sept. 27 from 10am-8pm

California Avocado Festival in Downtown Carpinteria – Oct. 3 from 11am-10pm, Oct. 4 from 10am-10pm and Oct. 5 from 10am-6pm

Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival at Santa Barbara’s Harbor – Oct. 11 from 10am-5pm

Santa Barbara Vintners Celebration of Harvest Weekend at the Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang – Oct. 10 from 5-10pm, Oct. 11 from 11am-10pm and Oct. 12 from 10am-8pm

Santa Barbara Beer Festival at Elings Park in Santa Barbara – Oct. 18 from 12-4pm

As fall begins home inventory in the area is looking good and buyer competition has tapered some. I hope to see you out and about enjoying the phenomenal weather, scenery, activities and real estate opportunities that the coming season is geared to bring.

When is the best time to buy?

September 2, 2014

With the competitive summer real estate market now at its end Santa Barbara is heading into a new season with so far little change in housing inventory, interest rates and prices. So when is the best time to buy? From an investment standpoint it makes the most sense to buy when others aren’t. Santa Barbara County has historically had the lowest number of real estate closings happen in October, November, January and February, with it not being unusual for December to yield the highest number of closings for the year. If history repeats itself then the optimal timing to place an offer on a property is this month and next. By November more buyers will be placing offers, with their respective escrows closing in December.

Another great time to buy is when a property you’ve been looking for comes on the market. The phrase “timing is everything” rings true when rare opportunities present themselves. I listed a property last Thursday for a client and the very next day talked with a buyer’s agent who had a client waiting for that type of property to become available. An offer was submitted by the buyer and their agent within the next two days, with start of escrow soon to follow.

Please contact me if you do see a property that you’ve been waiting for. There’s nothing more gratifying than obtaining a home you really like and have had your sights on for a while. I enjoy bringing you the best property offerings available and appreciate your inquiries.

Attractive loans for Santa Barbara homes

August 19, 2014

The median price for a Santa Barbara home has been well over $500,000 for quite some time, surpassing the $800,000 mark in 2003, and the $1 million mark in 2004. These price points are significant in way of jumbo loan financing. In 2008 the conforming loan limit for Santa Barbara County went from $417,000 to $729,750, with a lowering to its current level of $625,500 in 2011. As a result today’s loans above $625,500 involve non-conforming jumbo loan financing.

Buyers have traditionally paid more for jumbo non-conforming loans because they’re harder to sell on the secondary market to investors, but in 2013 the tables turned due to banks having more deposits than loans. Supply and demand certainly lowered the cost of borrowing more money. At the same time, in an effort to scale down on conforming loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac federal officials have been raising fees (known as “g-fees” or “guarantee fees”) charged to lenders. As a result today’s non-conforming jumbo loans are averaging about .25 percentage points less than smaller amount conforming loans. By contrast in 2008 non-conforming jumbo loans were costing consumers 1.8 percentage points more!

Today’s lending environment bodes well for more expensive Santa Barbara real estate, with lower interest rates in place at the higher loan amounts. Tougher qualifying standards also enter into this equation, so taking care to choose a seasoned loan agent who can help you though the process is all important. I’m happy to refer you to some of Santa Barbara’s finest lenders upon request. I look forward to your inquiries and to assisting you in getting the best terms and price for your home in paradise.

Current trends in Santa Barbara

August 5, 2014

July saw 96 home sale closings in the Santa Barbara areas of Carpinteria (5), Summerland (1), Montecito (23), Santa Barbara (39), Hope Ranch (4) and Goleta (24), as compared to 115 home sales last July.

Of the 96 homes sold this July:
57 closed over $1 million vs. 54 last July
15 closed over $3 million vs. 5 last July
5 closed over $10 million vs. 0 last July
37 sold at or above asking price vs. 47 last July
37 sold in 10 days or less vs. 36 last July
14 sold after just one day on the market vs. 10 last July

Also, the average number of days on the market for a home this July was 51 vs. 42 last July and the median sale price for a home this July was $1,178,500 vs. $962,500 last July.

It’s amazing how much of a jump total sale dollar volume has taken – $215 million this July vs. $145 million last July, while the total number of sales are down almost 17%. This emphasizes that much more expensive homes are selling this summer in Santa Barbara. Recent sale figures also illustrate that really good listings are selling faster, and average listings are taking longer to sell than last year.

I look forward to keeping you up-to-date on interesting market trends and best buys in the Santa Barbara area throughout the year and always welcome your impressions and inquiries.

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