Santa Barbara is getting an early start on summer with great weather and the scheduled Earth Day Festival at Alameda Park this weekend. Sunny skies are predicted for the week, with perfect mid-70 degree temperatures. Real estate sales are also off to an early start this season with 67 out of 501 active properties going into escrow already this month. Of course what else would you expect in Paradise?
Here’s a list of the upcoming festivities that are just around the corner for Santa Barbara:
Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival – April 18-19 – Alameda Park
Vintners Festival Grand Tasting – April 25 – River View Park in Buellton
Santa Barbara Fair and Expo – April 29 – Earl Warren Showgrounds
Fork Fest – May 9 – Chase Palm Park
I Madonnari Street Painting Festival – May 23-25 – Old Mission
Santa Barbara Wine Festival – June 27 – Museum of Natural History
I look forward to seeing you in Santa Barbara amongst all the upcoming events, and to the opportunity of assisting you with any real estate needs.
The drumroll please …. the first quarter real estate sale numbers for Santa Barbara are in! It’s been a better than expected year thus far with some interesting trends. Looking at the the sale numbers, the following first quarter increases have occured for Santa Barbara and surrounding areas including Goleta, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria, 2015 verses 2014.
Sold Volume Increase: 60% for homes; 84% for condos
Pending Sales (Under Contract) Increase: 22% for homes; 60% for condos
Number Sold Increase: 19% for homes; 42% for condos
Median Sale Price Increase: 7% for homes (currently $1,185,000); 7% for condos (currently $590,000)
The most interesting trend this first quarter has been that sales in the highest price ranges have increased the most. For homes and condos over $5M there has been an increase in sales of 170%. In comparison, the under $1M price range has only seen an increase of 15%. More inventory should bring more sales in the quarters to come, however the counterbalance could be that many homeowners will decide to stay in their current homes longer due to the finance and tax implications of moving. It will be interesting to see what trends the rest of the year brings. I look forward to keeping you up-to-date on the activities and also many great property opportunities along the way.
As outlined in a recent CNBC article many aging homeowners feel that the idea of downsizing is an attractive one. Homes with single level floor plans, good walkability to conveniences, low maintenance design, and security features are some of the most popular amenities desired and mentioned in the article. Developers certainly recognize what’s important to the downsizing segment of the real estate market and have been working on making the dream happen.
Two of Santa Barbara’s newest developments, Alma Del Pueblo and White Rose Lane, have taken into consideration what downsizing buyers have expressed interest in. Both offer single level floor plans and are in great walking locations. Smart design coupled with new construction also means low maintenance for years to come.
Alma Del Pueblo
White Rose Lane
With the many lifestyle advantages downsizing brings you might expect to see more development and sales of such convenient rich properties. Undoubtedly all good things come with a price, and luxury “move down” properties are no exception. A new 2 bedroom 2 bathroom Alma Del Pueblo condominium in the heart of Santa Barbara starts at $2.6 million, and a new 3 bedroom 3 bathroom home on White Rose Lane sports a price tag close to $2 million.
Housing sticker shock is not something new to Santa Barbara, although it has not typically been such a dilemma for potential move down buyers as it’s shown to be now. To complicate matters further, selling an expensive home which has been owned for years can cost an owner quite a bit in capital gains taxes. Other challenges include the potential increase in property tax base under some circumstances, and tough income qualifying standards if a loan must be obtained.
Downsizing is a simple concept, however with current tax rules, inflation, and financing regulations it can turn out to be a more complicated puzzle. Unfortunately lifestyle choices and dreams have been put on hold for many who have not found the right answers. If you find yourself in this category I welcome your inquires and the opportunity to assist you in succeeding with a comfortable lifestyle property transition. Quality of life is something we can all cherish and preserve in Santa Barbara.
If the first two months of 2015 are any indication of how the Santa Barbara real estate market will perform this year we should be in for a very active year of sales. January and February are typically two of the slowest months regarding homes going under contract, even though harsh weather in other parts of the country bring a lot of travelers looking for opportunities. An increase in second (or third, fourth, fifth, etc.) home purchases from recent visitors has certainly added to the increase in sales we’re experiencing.
Current year-to-date home sale increases over last year are as follows.
Active Listings: +4%
Pending Sales: +40%
Sold Volume: +46%
Active Listings: +9%
Pending Sales: +45%
Sold Volume: +59%
The median sale price for both homes and condos in Santa Barbara so far this year has remained virtually unchanged, $1.16 million for homes and $560,000 for condos. This is in part due to many sellers pricing their properties aggressively in order to attract the most qualified buyers that know the market and have the means to purchase now, or wait.
The amount of inventory which becomes available over the next ten months will undoubtedly be the biggest factor on the total number of home sales this year. With eyes on the past several months of pending sales and activity one can certainly feel confident that now is a good time to buy or sell real estate in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara has a great history of architecture which has been documented with many photographs and fine readings. The Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara offers Saturday and Sunday tours all year long highlighting some of the city’s most popular and significant buildings. Architectural firms such as Harrison Design Associates have also held workshops for those who like to study design features and styles that have shaped Santa Barbara into the city it is today.
Influences from all over the world have descended upon Santa Barbara throughout its history. Although the city is most noted for its Spanish buildings and homes, other styles of architecture have played majorly significant rolls. These include Adobe, Victorian, Italian, Moorish, Gothic, Colonial, Craftsman, Dutch, French, Cape Cod, Cottage, and more recently Mid-Century, Ranch, Contemporary, Ultra-Modern and Green.
A home can take on many characteristics depending on its creator and owner. There are traditional homes which use well know features and scale, and on the other end of the spectrum are highly individualized homes which incorporate different styles and layouts, along with everything in-between. For those looking to experience something a little different there typically many properties on the market to consider. You can view some of the most unique properties currently for sale in the Santa Barbara area by clicking here.
Whether you’re looking for a more traditional property or something completely unique I appreciate the opportunity to assist you with your search. Thanks for all of your inquiries!
While Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow yesterday, predicting six more weeks of winter for the east coast, Santa Barbara is certainly living up to its reputation as providing some of the best weather in the world. With recent 70 to 78 degree temperatures and sunny skies and similar predictions for the next couple of weeks it certainly feels like spring has already arrived in paradise. Yesterday the fragrance of flowers and abundance of citrus fruit already on trees let there be no mistake.
Signs of spring in the air have helped give Santa Barbara’s real estate market an early start this year as well. Plenty of buyers and sellers are out and about making decisions on what their next purchase or sale may be. Buyers now are dealing with a very low supply of available homes and continued strict qualifying standards for loans which is still prompting a large percentage of all-cash purchases though interest rates are incredibly low. Sellers also have much to consider including choosing the best pre-sale preparations for their homes and deciphering home values from a limited number of recent supporting sales.
It’s a popular topic of discussion regarding how much more complex and time consuming real estate transactions are today than they used to be. That may be true but you can simplify the process, save time and get better results by working early on with a trusted and experienced real estate agent. Realtors are not paid by the hour, they are compensated per a listing agreement with the seller when escrow closes. There is no reason not to take full advantage of their expertise and services early on when planning to make a move. I’m happy to assist at any point during the process, giving you more time to enjoy what you love to do best in paradise! I appreciate your inquiries and the opportunity to help simplify and make successful your next home sale or purchase.
If the first three weeks of 2015 are any indicator we could be looking at a very strong year in real estate sales for Santa Barbara. Compared with the same period last year we’ve seen the following increases for condos and homes combined: number of new listings up 34%, number of pending sales up 14%, number of closed sales up 11%, and total sold dollar volume up 61%.
The extremely low inventory levels that held back sales during most of 2014 look to be headed in a positive direction. This is a nice change for buyers who have been patiently waiting for a better selection of homes. Total inventory is now up 9% over the same period last year. Another nice purchasing incentive for buyers is the further drop in interest rates that have been occurring. The U.S. 30-year Treasury bond which has a big influence on rates actually hit an all-time low last Wednesday.
Although the number of homes available in Santa Barbara has increased from last year the level is still less than when Santa Barbara had its largest price increases in 2005. This may indicate that there’s not enough inventory for prices to fully rise to their potential. There have already been 19 new listings this month that have gone into escrow after being on the market for less than a week.
With such high demand and quick turnaround it’s important to stay informed of new listing information early on. Some of Santa Barbara’s best properties have been selling before their first scheduled open houses. If you have a specific type of home in mind I would be happy to hear from you and keep you up-to-date with the newest and best Santa Barbara offerings that fit your criteria. Your inquiries are much appreciated.