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February attracts many to Santa Barbara

February 2, 2016

With plenty of beautiful sunny 70-degree plus weather forecast for the next two weeks in Santa Barbara it’s certainly a good time to take advantage of many upcoming events and opportunities in Paradise. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival takes place February 3rd – 13th, with over 200 films and 53 premieres including The Little Princess and Night of Cups. Johnny Depp, Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Sylvester Stallone and Rachel McAdams will all be presented awards at the festival. Super Bowl 50 is scheduled for February 7th and can be enjoyed at many venues in town, including a 10-foot screen presentation at Velvet Jones, 423 State Street. Santa Barbara’s Winter Wine Classic happens February 20th at Fess Parker’s Resort with one of the largest gatherings ever of California’s ultra-elite winemaking masters. The Banff Mountain Film Festival takes place February 23rd – 24th at the Arlington Theatre promising some of the most incredible outdoor adventure footage in its history.

Santa Barbara’s ever abundant selection of outdoor activities can also be enjoyed during this month’s perfect weather. From walking, hiking, biking, surfing, sailing, golfing,… to touring a wide range of incredible real estate. In addition to the 152 new residential listings that have come on the market since January 1st there are still many properties that were priced or reduced in price at the end of last year and are still available. Following are a few current standout values.

3 Las Alturas Rd

3 Las Alturas Road – $1.599M

1642 Shoreline Dr

1642 Shoreline Drive – $1.995M

7720 Kestrel Ln

7720 Kestrel Lane – $2.150M

I look forward to seeing you enjoy Santa Barbara’s great atmosphere and activities this time of year and appreciate the opportunity to assist with any of your real estate needs.

A favorable time for home buyers

January 19, 2016

Events over the past several months have helped move the Santa Barbara real estate market into a favorable position for home buyers. Last September, October, November and December saw the lowest number of sales in the Santa Barbara area since 2010 and 2011. With such a duration of lack luster sales the stage is now set for buyers to have a better time negotiating on currently available properties.

Adding incentive to good timing for buyers is the current downward trend in mortgage interest rates. Local conforming 30-year fixed loans ended last week at 3.875%, and jumbo loan rates lowered to 3.75% for a 30-year fixed and 3.125% for a 5/1 ARM. Although interest rates are not predicted to rise much throughout the year a .5% difference from today’s rate would change a buyer’s monthly payment by $181.71 on a maximum conforming loan amount of $625,500.

It’s difficult for many to act on opportunities when they don’t see others doing the same, just as it is intuitively easier to follow in another’s footsteps. There are currently excellent opportunities to purchase real estate in the Santa Barbara area that will not be available during peak months when buyer interest increases and sales begin to rise.

I look forward to keeping you up-to-date on the latest Santa Barbara market trends and purchasing opportunities throughout the year, and to responding to your very important inquiries.

Santa Barbara looking to 2016

January 5, 2016

National news has recently reported that home prices in 40% of several hundred metro areas are back to peak, and predicts that over 50% will be back to peak by the end of 2016. Looking at all areas nationally home prices are still down an average of 12% from pre-recession peaks. The national average is very close to where Santa Barbara home prices are with relation to the last peak. Following are three Santa Barbara properties that have sold in the past two months, and also sold around the last peak.

1010 N Nopal St

1010 N. Nopal Street  –  Sold in 2006 for $860K  –  Sold in 2015 for $740K

618 Castillo St

618 Castillo Street  –  Sold in 2007 for $1.35M  –  Sold in 2015 for $1.26M

1026 E Canon Perdido St

1026 E. Canon Perdido Street  –  Sold in 2006 for $1.716M  –  Sold in 2015 for $1.6M

Santa Barbara and surrounding areas actually recorded an overall median home sale price drop in 2015, from $1.175M to $1.15M, with the median fluctuating from $1.2M in the first half of the year to $1.08M in the second half. The last peak median home sale price in the Santa Barbara area was $1.275M in 2005.

Most financial experts predict that although interest rates may rise slightly in 2016, they will still be at historic lows. This is good news for buyers who’d like to take advantage of the slowdown in sales aftershock we may experience through the first part of 2016.

I appreciate your inquiries and wish you a very Happy New Year!

Santa Barbara holiday opportunities

December 8, 2015

While harsh weather in other parts of the country typically cause slowdowns in real estate activity during the holidays, Santa Barbara’s temperate Mediterranean climate gives buyers the perfect opportunity to enjoy and look at the inventory. Today’s weather is a gorgeous 76 degrees with sunny skies, and many serious home sellers have their houses on the market and ready to show. Currently there are over 300 available homes and over 100 available condominiums to look at in the Santa Barbara market, and over 160 of these available properties have ocean views.

The continued real estate activity in Santa Barbara at this time of year offers with it plenty of good incentive for buyers and sellers. Buyers have the advantage of less competition as many of the more casual lookers set aside their home searching in favor of holiday events. Sellers have the advantage of less competition also as many less motivated sellers either take their homes off the market for the holidays or offer more limited available showing times. Sellers also tend to see more serious buyers showing up at the doorstep during the holidays.

I’m used to hearing a lot of area real estate agents tell their clients that the holidays aren’t such a good time to look at or list a property. Coincidentally these are the same agents who have vacations scheduled and would like to have business waiting for them when they return, or have done what they feel is enough work during the year and want to take a break. I’ve seen and participated in many high producing November and December sale months during my career in Santa Barbara and make it a point to be available to clients during those times. Your inquiries are certainly welcomed and appreciated throughout this and every holiday season, as well as they are at any other time during the year.

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 SBHomeRaffle.com. 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.

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