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High-end market continues to slow

August 16, 2016

There have been only five sales in the Santa Barbara real estate market so far this year for homes over $10M, a small number when compared with the eleven that sold in the same period last year. Sale dollar volume has decreased a substantial 51% for this elite price range so far in 2016. Sale volume decreases are also being experienced for homes in lesser price ranges, but not to the same extent. Year-to-date there’s been a 15% sale volume decrease for homes in the $4M to $10M range, a 13% decrease for homes in the $2M to $4M range, and a 7% decrease for homes priced under $2M in the Santa Barbara area.

1592 E Mountain Drive

1592 E. Mountain Drive, Montecito. Sold for $11.45M in 2016. Previously sold for $15M in 2006.

A recently published article in the Denver Post, “Aspen real estate in first-ever sustained nosedive”, states that after record sales in 2015, sale volume this year is down 42% for Aspen’s Pitkin County. It also states that sales of area homes in the elite $10M plus price range are down 60% and that the luxury market across the country is slowed, from Manhattan to Palm Beach. Government and economic uncertainty, fears, and imbalances are sited as the main contributors of the recent upper-end slowdown.

It will be interesting to see what direction the ultra-luxury real estate market heads in the rest of the year. I look forward to your questions, inquiries and feedback on this and any other price ranges of interest.

First half Santa Barbara market trends

July 5, 2016

For the first half of 2016 Santa Barbara and surrounding areas have seen the market trend differently than last year. The median price for homes this year is up 3%, number of sales are down 9%, and number under contract is also down 9%. For condos the median price is up 8%, number of sales are down 29%, and number under contract is down 27%. In 2015 percentages in all of these categories were up with the exception of number of homes under contract. With only 3% less condos on the market this year than last, and 1% more homes, it’s fair to say that inventory levels have not been the main contributor to current market trend changes. It’s also fair to say that interest rates, which have continued to stay at historically low levels, have not been a contributor to the lower number of sales.

So what’s driving Santa Barbara’s current market trend changes? The answer can certainly be connected to buyer/seller motivation, which naturally tends to change during times of economic uncertainty, and this year has been compounded by a controversial presidential election that is ready to unfold. A couple of good readings published this year on the topic include: Why markets tend to fall during a presidential election year and What an election year means for house prices.

Investment wise it can seem counterintuitive to purchase a home when the market is slow and others aren’t buying, however financial gain is no stranger to individuals who do what most others aren’t doing. If you’ve been waiting for a dip in the Santa Barbara real estate market to make an investment this may be your best chance for some time. I appreciate your inquiries and look forward to connecting you with the best opportunities in the market today.

Most popular Santa Barbara areas

June 21, 2016

Santa Barbara and surrounding areas which include Goleta, Hope Ranch, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria have overall seen less property sales this year than last. There are however a few areas that have exceeded the number of sales from 2015. Topping the list is Santa Barbara East which has seen a 6% rise in home sales year-to-date over last year. Goleta South comes in a close second with a rise of 5%, followed by Montecito with 2%. A common denominator in all three areas has been an increase in number of listings which can be considered to help sales.

2166 Mission Ridge Rd

Santa Barbara East  –  Highest Sale YTD: $5.195M  –  2166 Mission Ridge Road

5225 Austin Road

Goleta South  –  Highest Sale YTD: $4.2M  –  5225 Austin Road

380 Santa Rosa Lane

Montecito  –  Highest Sale YTD: $28.85M  –  380 Santa Rosa Lane

Increased inventory doesn’t always promise higher number of sales. Hope Ranch for instance has had 9% more new listings this year with a staggering 57% less home sales, the largest drop of any area. In condos Santa Barbara, Goleta North and Montecito buyers have had more listings to choose from, but fewer units have been sold. Perhaps what’s most interesting to note is the strong correlation between median price and sales in every area. Hope Ranch has had the largest increase in median home price so far this year, followed by Santa Barbara West and Goleta North. These areas also show the lowest number of sales.

Santa Barbara real estate figures so far this year indicate that a limited increase in median price is necessary to sustain sales. Seller pricing will likely be crucial to the number of sales most areas see throughout the rest of the year.

For a thorough market analysis of any home you’re looking to buy or sell in the Santa Barbara or Ventura areas I appreciate your inquiries. Outside the area I look forward to referring you to the most experienced and knowledgeable agents anywhere in the U.S. or the world through our company’s outstanding and award winning global network.

Renovations that pay off

June 7, 2016

Recent attractive interest rates on refinancing have allowed many homeowners affordable funds they’ve needed to update their homes. Currently a higher number of homes in Santa Barbara are undergoing remodeling than in years past. There can be many different motivations for upgrading a home, including the desire to create more equity or to sell in the not too distant future. If return on investment is the main motivation then there are some general guidelines and current style trends that are proving to benefit homeowners more than others.

As pointed out by the HGTV, “keeping the existing structure sound” should be every homeowner’s first priority. To read the full article click here. Taking care of deferred maintenance first makes sense, especially when selling. Functional problems in a home are a big buyer turn off and more often than not compromise a seller’s negotiation position.

The fun really begins after any maintenance issues are taken care of. Large surface upgrades typically make the biggest impact with regard to dollars spent. Painting tops the list, with flooring coming in a close second. New landscaping, fencing and reroofing (if needed) are also priority items, especially in the Santa Barbara area where outdoor living is enjoyed year round.

In life sometimes it’s the little things that matter the most. CNBC and Zillow have run the numbers on several design and detail oriented remodel options that pay off when it comes to increasing the value of your home. In order of most return for the buck are barn doors, shaker cabinets, farmhouse sinks, subway tiling, quartz countertops, exposed brick, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops. Calculated return on investment amounts for each can be seen here.

Renovations that pay off

For more specific remodeling ideas and considerations that may factor into the value of your new or existing home I appreciate your inquiries!

Summer activity around the corner

May 24, 2016

Santa Barbara is heading into this summer with 34% more housing inventory than last summer and 11% more inventory than the summer before. Year-to-date sales have trended the opposite way, down 19% from last year and even with the year before. A still rising median price reflects a larger percentage of higher end home sales, which has been aided by the increase of luxury listings as opposed to entry level homes.

In addition to keeping an eye on the real estate market there are many activities to enjoy in and around Santa Barbara this summer. Following are some of the upcoming attractions!

May 26 – Downtown Live Art & Wine Tour, State Street north of Carrillo Street with final party at the Granada Theatre

May 28-30 – I Madonnari Street Painting Festival, the Santa Barbara Mission

June 3 – Skate Art Show, Lucky Llama in Carpinteria, Benefiting the Carpinteria Skatepark Foundation

June 5 – Santa Barbara State Street Mile, State Street and Pedregosa, 1st heat at 8am

June 11 – Santa Barbara Craft Brew Circus, Chase Palm Park

June 16-20 – Illuminous from Circus Vargas, Earl Warren Showgrounds

June 17-19 – Live Oak Music Festival, Live Oak Camp 1.8 miles north of Paradise Road on HWY 154

June 24-26 – Summer Solstice Celebration, on State Street and in Alameda Park

June 25 – Santa Barbara Wine Festival, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

I look forward to seeing you in paradise this summer and as always, appreciate your inquiries.

Best investing in real estate

May 10, 2016

It was announced at the 2016 Santa Barbara County Economic Summit last Thursday that rents in the Santa Barbara area have increased 8.7% over the past year, in addition to there being a staggeringly low rental property vacancy rate of less than 1%. Also echoed at the summit, held at the Granada Theatre on State Street, was that the U.S. economy is currently in a very slow growth mode and will likely stay that way for some time. Along with slow growth are expected to remain low interest rates for the foreseeable future. With the low rates of return currently offered by U.S. bonds and the unpredictability of stocks it makes sense that real estate is now being looked at as a preferred method of investment for retirement.

Condos, low-end houses, and multi-unit apartment buildings are currently producing some of the highest yields in the Santa Barbara area. The following available Santa Barbara properties are shown with estimates of what a cash investor could expect regarding their rate of return.

3435 Richland Drive #17, Santa Barbara

3435 Richland Dr 17

Cash Investment: $389,000;  Yearly Rent: $24,000;  Yearly Expenses: $9,000;  Rate of Return: 3.85%

206 Sherwood Drive, Santa Barbara

206 Sherwood Dr

Cash Investment: $929,000;  Yearly Rent: $60,000;  Yearly Expenses: $18,500;  Rate of Return: 4.5%

118 Los Aguajes Avenue, Santa Barbara

118 Los Aguajes Ave

Cash Investment: $4,400,000;  Yearly Rent: $319,200;  Yearly Expenses: $94,400;  Rate of Return: 5.1%

Property appreciation, something not taken into account in the above examples, has also proven to be a big financial benefit in owning Santa Barbara real estate. This is due to the ever present high demand of housing in one of the most desirable areas to live in the US. Over the long term Santa Barbara’s property appreciation rates can add up to substantial amounts of financial gain.

For more information regarding the best investment property opportunities currently available in and around the Santa Barbara area please send your inquiries.

Best place to live for longevity

April 26, 2016

Santa Barbara Health & Fitness

Santa Barbara has many incredible qualities which draw visitors from around the world every year. The county has recently been rated amongst the best places to live in the United States for scenery and climate, and now is being recognized as the best place to live for health and longevity. The following article from Yahoo.com talks about some of the reasons that a long life goes hand-in-hand with living in Santa Barbara – read here.

From just visiting to considering making Santa Barbara your home forever there’s no disputing the favorable lifestyle the area offers. Something that becomes even more apparent the longer you live in the area is the abundance of extremely accomplished, happy and easy to converse with people you have the opportunity of meeting and getting to know. It’s a wonderful culture to be part of, with healthy ideals that spread and add benefit to the whole community.

For more information on obtaining a home in the Santa Barbara area I appreciate your inquiries. Cheers to your good health and longevity!

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