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Entry-level and high-end on top

September 29, 2015

An interesting statistic to bring to your attention is that the Santa Barbara median price of a home so far this year has dropped by 5%. If we break it down by price range and sales, with entry-level being under $1.5M, mid-range between $1.5M and $4M, and high-end over $4M we can see that sales in both the entry-level and high-end have increased this September over the same time last year, and mid-range sales have actually dropped by more than 50%.

At this month’s recently held Federal Open Market Committee meeting the U.S. central bank declined on raising interest rates. This is a blessing for entry-level buyers making purchases in Santa Barbara with financing. There are just two more meetings left in the year for the FED to raise rates, and many are now betting that they won’t.

With a much higher percentage of mid-range buyers using cash to purchase real estate in Santa Barbara the news of interest rates remaining unchanged may not be resonating as well. This is in addition to recent lackluster news on the direction the global economy is headed. Mid-range buyers certainly appear to be taking caution on where they’re putting their money, at least that’s what recent sales figures show. And for the high-end segment, well what can we say, there certainly are a lot of people doing well these days, and what better place to shelter their money than in a paradise like Santa Barbara.

I appreciate the opportunity to assist you in locating your best opportunities in today’s market and look forward to keeping you updated on Santa Barbara’s latest trends throughout the year.

A record sale last week

September 15, 2015

The highest price ever recorded for a one bedroom condo at Villa Constance North in Santa Barbara happened last week. All parties involved in the transaction, including myself as the listing agent, worked very hard to accomplish a successful closing. Although prices in Santa Barbara have in general not yet reached the level seen during the last peak of 2005, which are still about 10% off, this particular sale was made possible through the efforts of an exceptional local portfolio lender and several other dedicated local service providers.

There have been more potential hoops to jump in the past decade when buying or selling a property than at any time in history. With so many market variables to negotiate it most often takes a good team to successfully close what in the past could be considered an easy transaction. Working with the right skilled local professionals can make all the difference. In the case of last week’s record sale the portfolio lender used by the buyer, American Riviera Bank, was not affected by the strict national Fannie Mae condo flood insurance requirements that have recently been put into place. In addition a very skilled local appraiser worked very hard to document relevant comparable sales, including one that closed the day before the appraisal on Villa Constance was due.

2631 State Street 1

When seeking council for your most important real estate transactions I welcome your inquiries. It’s gratifying for me to be able to provide exceptional service and resources to clients so that they may accomplish their goals, such as last week at Villa Constance.

Transition period in real estate

September 1, 2015

It’s September 1st and with kids back to school and Labor Day around the corner this time of year is a transition period for many people and businesses. So what type of transition is the real estate market in for in Santa Barbara? While June and July has seen an increased number of closed sales versus the past couple of years, the number of closed sales in August has dropped off quite a bit. On the other hand the number of homes currently under contract is considerably higher than in years past. According to the number of pending listings the amount of closings for this September could end up being one of the highest since 2005.

There’s certainly been much talk over the past month regarding the economy and interest rates. With seemingly more contributing factors than in years past it’s hard to predict when the long string of historically low interest rates that we’ve seen in the housing market will come to an end. Between now and that time, as in the past, there will likely be an influx of buyers purchasing homes who want to avoid the higher monthly payments associated after a rate hike. This may be one of the reasons why August’s pending sales have come in so strong.

I look forward to keeping you posted on the relevant and forthcoming real estate events that will continue to transition the housing market in and around Santa Barbara.

Continuing activities in Santa Barbara

August 18, 2015

With inventory dropping in all residential categories (homes, condos and land) for the fourth straight week in Santa Barbara it may take a buyer longer than expected to find the right property. In-between searches is a great time to take advantage of the area’s continuing activities and comfortable summertime weather. To browse through an extensive list of reoccurring and scheduled activities in and around Santa Barbara for the remainder of the summer click here.

Santa Barbara Sailing

When focused on the activity of locating property for sale in the currently low-inventory market I appreciate the opportunity to assist you in making your search as thorough and successful as possible. Thanks for sending in your most important inquiries.

Comparing Santa Barbara homes

August 4, 2015

Buyers, sellers, lenders, insurance companies, Zillow, and many other entities are interested in making home comparisons for many reasons. In Santa Barbara the task of comparison can be more complicated than in other communities where land values, views and factors such as proximity to ocean and mountains don’t play as big a role. When using comparison to estimate a property’s value one can be totally misled. There are some very important considerations to take into account when comparing homes in Santa Barbara. Following are some of the most significant that are very often overlooked.

Not all measurements are created equal – Tax assessors, appraisers, and those doing quick estimates measure the outside of a house, adding a lot of space that’s not usable to the final measurement. Garage space is also sometimes included when in most instances it’s assumed not to be.

Not all views are created equal – In fact in Santa Barbara every view is different, and the differences can add up to big dollars depending on who is evaluating the property. The terms “panoramic” and “unobstructed” tend to be used very loosely, and really depend on what perspective is taken.

Neighborhood borders are close together – This year a 3bd/1ba house at 329 E. Canon Perdido Street sold for $485,000, while literally a stone’s throw away a 2bd/2.5ba house at 310 E. Canon Perdido Street, designated in the neighborhood of El Caserio, closed escrow for $2.475 million.

Immediately neighboring properties are a consideration – It’s wise to look at the homes to the left, right, and in the view of any home you’re considering. Most buyers do, realizing that neighbors can make a big difference.

Higher remodeling costs should be considered – The privilege to live in a paradise like Santa Barbara doesn’t come inexpensively, including construction costs which can be double or more than what you may find in other parts of the country. This makes remodeled properties much more valuable. Unfortunately even experienced appraisers who are forced to use national average costs don’t give proper credit for this.

School districts are heavily discerned – Many families moving to Santa Barbara take notice that certain school’s ratings are far better than others. With private schools being quite costly there are very often substantial value differences assigned to properties depending on what school attendance area they’re in.

Entities like Zillow take into account none of the above. I’ve seen errors in some of their Santa Barbara property value estimates by as much as 50%. Professional appraisers can also land heavily off the mark on values in Santa Barbara because of the expensive variances in what they define as “similar” properties. To ensure an accurate estimate of what any property is worth (value when sold on the open market) there is no better place to turn than a professional and experienced local Realtor. For this and any other real estate services I’m happy to assist you and appreciate your inquiries.

Celebrity homes in the news

July 21, 2015

Santa Barbara certainly entertains a large share of celebrities, many of whom decide to make the beautiful and beloved seaside community their home. In a location so easily accessible from Hollywood, where luxury real estate is plentiful and privacy is easier to come by than in more populated cities, the attraction for celebrities is a natural one. Over the years many of Santa Barbara, Montecito, and Carpinteria’s finest homes have exchanged hands between well-known celebs.

Currently in the news and on the market are Jeff Bridge’s stunning 19.5 acre Tuscan estate on Hot Springs Road for $29.5 million, and Don Johnson’s 2.76 acre French Country estate on Knollwood Drive for $14.9 million. Steve Martin’s 5.86 acre Modern Contemporary estate on Romero Canyon Road was on the market earlier this year for $10.999 million and Dennis Miller just closed escrow on the sale of his 3.76 acre Colonial estate circa 1895 on Glen Oaks Drive. For more information on any of these properties please send an inquiry.

Jeff Bridges    Don Johnson

Steve Martin    Dennis Miller

Of course you don’t have to purchase a celebrity’s multi-million dollar estate to enjoy all of the world class amenities that draw the rich and famous to Santa Barbara.  There are many properties to choose from which connect you to Paradise and all it has to offer. I appreciate your inquires and the opportunity to assist you.

First half numbers for Santa Barbara

July 7, 2015

It’s been a year of further recovery for real estate in most areas around the country, and the first half numbers for Santa Barbara are showing a similar trend. Following are some of the most significant figures which show that our local market is transitioning to a more stable rate of appreciation and more traditional number of overall sales. Moving towards this type of balance should prove to be beneficial to both buyers and sellers in the coming years.

Home Sales:  598 in 2015; 535 in 2014; 670 in 2013
Condo Sales:  292 in 2015; 205 in 2014; 229 in 2013
Homes Under Contract:  518 in 2015; 587 in 2014; 722 in 2013
Condos Under Contract:  263 in 2015; 226 in 2014; 235 in 2013
Home Median Sale Price:  $1.2M in 2015; $1.16M in 2014; $950K in 2013
Condo Median Sale Price:  $589.5K; $550K in 2014; $495K in 2013

These numbers are representative of Santa Barbara and surrounding communities which include Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito, Hope Ranch and Goleta.

As the year progresses I look forward to keeping you up to date on the latest market trends and available properties in and around Santa Barbara. If there’s a particular neighborhood, type of property, or price range that you’re focusing on I’m happy to provide you with detailed information that would be helpful. Your inquiries are appreciated.


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