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Thanks and giving in Santa Barbara

November 24, 2015

There’s a lot to be thankful for in Santa Barbara; perfect weather, abundant natural beauty, incredibly nice people, and a wide range of breathtaking real estate. While many will be traveling this holiday week there will be a large number enjoying it here in paradise with their friends and family. If you’re in the area there’s lots to do in way of activities, food and comradery. A morning walk or run along the beach is a great way to start the day. Two organized runs are scheduled to take place; the ZeeBlu Thanksgiving 5K and the Thanksgiving Day 4-miler. For late morning/early afternoon enjoyment there’s a Thanksgiving Champagne Brunch being held at the Bacara Resort. If not watching football the afternoon could be spent playing tennis, volleyball, golfing, kayaking, biking or surfing. Whether cooking or eating out there’s an assortment of fine dining opportunities being offered in Santa Barbara for Thanksgiving. Some local favorites that will be serving up a special holiday menu include Bouchon, Fitch & Fork, El Encanto, Four Seasons, French Table, Holdren’s, Plow and Angel, and the Stonehouse. Click here for more information. There will also be an Organic Soup Kitchen (OSK) Thanksgiving Dinner at the Santa Barbara Veteran’s Building, providing good nutrition to those who need it most. All are invited and admission is free.

A special thanks this week to all of you with real estate inquiries, and a toast to those enjoying the holiday week in Santa Barbara. We most certainly have a lot to be thankful for.

A new age in Real Estate

November 10, 2015

The median age of a home buyer in today’s U.S. real estate market now stands at 43. In 2005 it was 39 and in 1985 it was 35. Santa Barbara’s real estate market has certainly coincided with this trend. Although the median age in Santa Barbara doesn’t differ tremendously from the rest of the U.S., its median home price and home owner occupancy percentage does. The year-to-date median home price in the Santa Barbara area currently stands at $1,155,000, putting financing into jumbo loan territory with extremely difficult qualifying standards, far harder than for conforming loans. This climate has turned over the home purchasing advantage to more mature buyers with large cash reserves. Seasoned investment oriented buyers have also been purchasing over half of Santa Barbara’s housing stock of late for purposes other than owner occupancy.

With this new age trend dominating the real estate markets we’ve seen a lower percentage of first-time home buyers. In a stand out Wall Street Journal article this month it’s stated that first-time home buyer percentages this year in the U.S. have dropped to the lowest level in three decades, adding that if home prices rise more it will become even harder for buyers to enter the market. Any increase in interest rates will also add to the challenges many first-time homebuyers face. These conditions do not fare well in economist’s eyes with regard to the long-term health of the U.S. real estate market.

I look forward to keeping you in tune with changes ahead for national and local Santa Barbara real estate. Although the current trends make purchasing difficult to some, I’ve been able to assist many young first-time buyers with successful home purchases in Santa Barbara this year. I appreciate the opportunity to be of assistance, as I was once a first-time home buyer in Santa Barbara myself.

Santa Barbara’s upcoming Dream Home raffle

October 27, 2015

This year the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santa Barbara will be raffling off its largest prize ever, a 4 bedroom 4.5 bathroom Santa Barbara Riviera dream home that’s located at 20 Las Alturas Circle. For a photo tour of the property click here. The grand prize winner will be given the option of claiming the dream home or $3 million in cash, provided that at least 45,000 tickets are sold. If MCASB doesn’t meet its quota of ticket sales the grand prize becomes a cash amount equal to half the net proceeds.

Santa Barbara Dream Home

Tickets are $150 each and must be purchased by Nov. 11. You can do so by calling 888.402.9222 or visiting If you purchase your ticket before Oct. 30 you’ll be entered in an early-bird drawing for a vacation to Paris or $5,000 cash. 2,500 total prizes will be given away including cars, vacations, electronics and gift cards. For a complete list of prizes click here. Benefits from the raffle go to helping support MCASB and its mission to provide contemporary arts on the Central Coast.

Good luck in the raffle and I appreciate any inquiries you have in helping you find your dream home in Santa Barbara.

Ocean views hard to find

October 13, 2015

Riviera homes with ocean views in Santa Barbara have recently been in very short supply. There are currently only 11 actively listed in the Santa Barbara MLS, with 4 for sale under $2M, 5 between $2M and $3M, and 2 over $3M. The number of new listings in Santa Barbara’s Riviera area has been down 25% over the past month when compared to last year. Details and photos of all currently available listings can be viewed through the following link.

All Active Riviera Ocean View Listings

Two other beautiful areas in Santa Barbara’s MLS region showing the largest decrease of active listings this year are Carpinteria and Hope Ranch, with drops of 23% and 36% respectively. Carpinteria (population 13,000+) currently has only 18 active home listings, with just 4 under $1M. In Hope Ranch there are only 14 active listings with none under $2.5M. All currently available listings in both of these areas can be viewed through the following links.

All Active Carpinteria Listings

All Active Hope Ranch Listings

With such a short supply of homes it can be difficult for enthusiastic buyers to stay focused on locating and purchasing a suitable property. It’s true though that some of the most rewarding things in life come through hard effort, and purchasing a home in paradise certainly has its rewards. I appreciate the opportunity to assist you and look forward to your inquiries!

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.


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