Santa Barbara and Montecito, California’s Residential Housing Market Review – First 3-Months of 2015

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Montecito and Santa Barbara Estate Market
First Quarter 2015
By Harry Kolb

During the first 3-months of this year, the market for finer homes in the Santa Barbara Coastal area including Montecito, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Hope Ranch and Goleta continued to show an improving market moving up the price ranges and about to finally approach our highest level, that of homes selling for over $15 million. The vital signs in all four general price ranges making up our community generally show improvement with one price range practically exploding with dramatic results.

The majority of homes in our market, those sold for below $4 million, improved in the number of homes sold over the first quarter of last year with 382 sold this year compared to 305 sold in 2014 – an increase of 25%. The average sales price also increased from $1,038,000 to $1,092,000. During the high point in 2000 when we sold 522 homes under $4 million, the average sales price for those homes sold was only $616,000.

Estate Market Summary 4 Graphs 1 Qtr

The group of homes priced from between $4 million and $8 million did very well and was back to the volume of sales recorded at the height of the market in 2007 and 2008. During the first three months of this year, we recorded 16 homes sold. As a comparison, in 2012 and 2013 we sold only 5 and 8 homes in this important price range during the first quarter of those years. The average time on the market for these 16 homes was 299 days and they sold for an average of 95% of their last asking price and 86% of their first asking price – all much improved from previous years.

Estate Market Summary 3 Graphs 1 Qtr

The homes priced from between $8 million and $15 million did remarkably well after several years of rather lackluster performance. This year we sold 13 homes compared to only one last year during the first quarter. These 13 homes sold represent more than we’ve sold in this period over the past six years. These 13 homes sold for an average of 92% of their last asking price and 80% of their first asking price and with an average of 922 days on the market due primarily to two homes that had been on the market for over 2,000 days. The market was so strong in this price range that three of these homes sold without coming on the active market. Agents were calling other agents trying to find suitable homes that weren’t yet available for buyers ready to buy, but unable to find what they were looking for.

Estate Market Summary 3 Graphs 1 Qtr

During the first quarter of this year we sold only two homes priced at and over $15 million. Although this activity in the first quarter shows a definite improvement over the past two years, it represents a continued softness in the major estate market that has persisted since the peak of the market in 2007. But as the general real estate market seems to be improving more and more as buyers progress up the price ranges, we see improvement finally coming to this upper range with three properties priced above $15,000,000 now pending among the 40 or so that are currently available. We anticipate these three homes will complete their sales transactions within the next few weeks and reflect an improving market in this price range as well.

Estate Market Summary 3 Graphs 1 Qtr


Sotheby’s Announces New Marketing Program

Sotheby’s International Realty today announced the launch of its 2015 marketing program designed to reach a global audience of qualified luxury real estate consumers.

At the core of the brand’s 2015 strategy are its relationships with preeminent media powerhouses in both the print and online arenas including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest, Bloomberg, Dwell, Hong Kong Tatler, Financial Times and Google Digital Network. These relationships were developed to showcase unique properties from the Sotheby’s International Realty® brand’s 760 offices in 60 countries and territories through unique, media-rich advertising units that offer an immersive experience and position the brand in front of a relevant audience of luxury consumers worldwide. Several relationships feature elements that are exclusive to the Sotheby’s International Realty brand. Our focus is to be where the luxury consumer is searching for real estate and today that is via mobile and tablet devices. In the United States alone, time spent with mobile devices is growing at a significant rate.

The Sotheby’s International Realty brand’s website,, has been re-launched to provide a fully immersive, responsive, video-based experience with unique content. Last year, the site saw the most traffic in its history with 11 million visits and 75 million page views.

Art & Home tablet

The brand also will continue to work with Sotheby’s auction house to produce Art & Home, a jointly produced magazine that launched last year, designed to engage readers with sophisticated content related to the art and real estate worlds.

The Sotheby’s International Realty network currently has more than 16,500 sales associates located in approximately 760 offices in 60 countries and territories worldwide. Sotheby’s International Realty listings are marketed on the global website. In addition to the referral opportunities and widened exposure generated from this source, the firm’s brokers and their clients benefit from an association with the Sotheby’s auction house and worldwide Sotheby’s International Realty marketing programs.