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Downsizing in Paradise

March 17, 2015

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

Alma Del Pueblo

White Rose Lane

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.

Beginning of year trends in Santa Barbara

March 3, 2015

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.

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Current year-to-date home sale increases over last year are as follows.

Homes

Active Listings:  +4%

Pending Sales:  +40%

Sold Volume:  +46%

Condos

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.

Most unique homes in Santa Barbara

February 17, 2015

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.

Most unique homes for sale in Santa Barbara

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!

Feels like spring in Santa Barbara

February 3, 2015

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.

Santa Barbara market off to a quick start

January 20, 2015

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.

Hot housing trends this year

January 6, 2015

With most experts predicting a good rise in home values this year we should see more homeowners with extra equity willing and able to make much needed improvements and other enhancements to their properties. Deciding on materials and styles for upgrades can be a difficult task with all of the different choices available. Whether you hire a designer or trust your own personal tastes there’s a lot of media out there that can help you get a feel for what’s considered hot and what’s not. A great trend in current interior design is the intermixing of different styles to come out with something entirely fresh and new. This leaves the door open to a lot of creativity and takes away the stress of trying to make everything match.

Not to long ago many of us were paging through magazines like Architectural Digest to get our design ideas. Now there’s a whole world of digital media at your fingertips. No more going through dusty bookshelves while paging through hundreds of magazines and books! You can also now pinpoint exactly the type of ideas you’re looking for and bookmark them on your media device for easy access wherever you go. A couple of excellent and growing sources for checking out the most popular home design trends today are Pinterest and Houzz. Complimenting popular apps like these are many excellent articles and digital media sites which can quickly be brought up online. Realtor.org recently put out a nice article on hot housing trends which you can view here.

Santa Barbara’s beautiful natural environment has inspired gorgeous interior and exterior home design for years. There are many homes for sale to visit which you can experience great design up close and personal. If starting your own project there are also many wonderful professionals to consult with in the area. I’m happy to direct you to any of the incredible resources that Santa Barbara has to offer, and look forward to presenting you with the area’s best property opportunities throughout the year.

Santa Barbara’s next big year

December 23, 2014

Just by looking at median home sale prices over the past 12 months one might conclude that 2014 was a big year for Santa Barbara real estate. The year-to-date median for the South County is currently at $1,179,500, up 21% from $968,000 at the same time last year and 43% from $822,000 in 2012. However, with 15% less number of homes sold this year than last, a continuing trend from 2012, it may not be accurate to say that the market is booming.

When will Santa Barbara’s next big year be? Many believe it’s right around the corner and are looking forward to sorting through the new inventory that should start hitting the market in the first couple months of next year.

Sellers are certainly in tune with the different signs that the market is displaying, especially depending on which price range they’re in. Sales of homes over $2 million actually increased 25% this year where the number of sales for homes under $1 million decreased 22%. We’ve seen many entry level homes this year priced quite aggressively to keep in step with the market. It looks like 2015 may be the turn around year for lower end home sales as more and more investors enter the market to capitalize on high rents, and more entry level buyers who’ve spent the last several years reorganizing their finances rebound back into homeownership.

I wish you and your family a joyful holidays and prosperous New Year!

Here comes Santa Claus ….

Santa Barbara Santa Claus

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