Santa Barbara named a top town for $10+ real estate

Constantia Montecito Estate sold by Riskin Associates

Riskin Associates sold this Montecito estate earlier this year for $16.8 million

A recent CNBC report listed Santa Barbara as a top town for sales of $10 million homes. Santa Barbara tied for second place with Aspen, CO with thirteen homes selling for $10 million or more in 2012. Riskin Associates closed six of the thirteen $10+ million sales, representing sellers for three, buyers for two and both buyer/seller for one sale.  All six sales were in Montecito. The report also noted that the number of homes priced at $10 million or more continues to grow,  a good indicator for the coming year. There are currently 38 homes listed in the Santa Barbara MLS over $10 million, 22 of which are located in Montecito.


Montecito Luxury Gift Guide: For Her

As the third installment to our 2012 Montecito Luxury Holiday Gift Guide, here’s a look at some fabulous gifts for her. Better hurry guys…you’ve got less than two weeks! Happy Holidays!



1. Girls love to dress up for the holidays. This leather trim sequin jacket will keep your sweetie well dressed for any holiday party…from a formal office celebration to New Years Eve on the rooftop. DIANI Boutique Rag & Bone Faren Jacket, $655

2. For an extra special someone, surprise her with an 18 karat gold and diamond splurge from Montecito boutique Masion K. Maison K Adel Chefridi 18kt Diamond Necklace, $1,295

3. The perfect hostess gift for your coastal friends! This beautiful sea-inspired wine chiller is sure to please. Coast 2 Coast Collections Star Home Coquilles Nautilus Cooler

4. Hitting the spa for year-end rejuvenation is at the top of every woman’s list this year. Why not combine the perfect spa package with the incredible views at Montecito’s Butterfly Beach? The Biltmore’s Coastal Escape package includes a green jade rice body scrub, avocado citrus body wrap, custom facial, spa mani/pedi and lunch on your own private terrace. Four Seasons The Biltmore Santa Barbara Spa Coastal Escape Package, $785

5. Ideal for anyone on the go, this light yet cozy cashmere travel wrap can complement any outfit. Upstairs at Pierre Lafond Cashmere Travel Wrap, $360

Santa Barbara County’s Record Year

The November numbers are in from Santa Barbara County’s CORT report, which charts monthly sales for both North and South county. Santa Barbara South County sales for 2012 are up a staggering 41% over 2011. Last month’s sales were up 50% over the same month last year, and 90% over November 2007. Meanwhile, Rebecca Riskin & Associates has closed 32 sales year-to-date for a total of $218 million, four times the amount of sales in 2011.

November Santa Barbara South County Cort Graph

2013 Housing Market Outlook

Santa Barbara 180-acre estate, family compound

A unique listing in the competitive Santa Barbara housing market

Freddie Mac released its December U.S. Economic and Housing Outlook today, with projections for the nation’s housing market in 2013. As property values continue to strengthen in 2013, Freddie Mac expects U.S. house price indexes to rise by 2-3%. For the first half of 2013, long-term mortgage rates should remain near their record lows, which is good news to buyers struggling with low inventory and multiple offer situations. These buyers should still have some time to take advantage of low interest rates, as Freddie Mac expects long-term fixed-rate mortgage rates to remain below 4% next year. Finally, it projects mortgage refinancing to continue to grow in early 2013, but will eventually drop down from 2012 highs.



Montecito Luxury Gift Guide: For Him

As the second installment to our 2012 Montecito Luxury Holiday Gift Guide, here’s a look at some fabulous gifts for him. Happy Holidays!


Montecito luxury holiday gift guide for him1. With warmer temps and a year-round outdoor lifestyle, what Montecito guy wouldn’t want his very own outdoor gourmet pizza oven? This little beauty will be the hit of the party, and blends in fabulously with other stainless steel outdoor kitchen hardware. Its gas flame mimics the heat of a wood-burning pizza oven, and can cook a perfect neopolitan-style pizza in just 3 minutes.  Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Artisan Fire Pizza Oven, $6,495

2. If Tom Brady is wearing UGGS, perhaps your guy will want to? While UGGS may still be a brand that registers primarily with women, the Santa Barbara based company has stylishly expanded their men’s line.  These cozy velvet slippers are irresistible, complete with the infamous sheepskin lining. UGG Mens Ascot Velvet Slippers, $130

3. The perfect stocking stuffer for guys of all ages! Saxs Fifth Avenue has stocked up on the ultimate man refuelling system, complete with face wash, shave cream, moisturizer, lip balm, soap and hand salve. Kiehl’s Since 1891 Ultimate Man Refuelling System, $58

4. What Montecito holiday isn’t complete without a trip to the beach? Stylize your man with Ray-Ban’s latest twist on their classic aviator style with luxurious leather touches, available at Nordstrom.  Ray-Ban ‘Outdoorsman’ 58mm Polarized Aviator Sunglasses, $239

5. Generally the waves are great this time of year on the Central Coast. These locally made custom wood surfboards are as light as foam boards but should last a lifetime and look amazing. Made with a 100% recycled foam core and highly sustainable wood, the Sugar Glider is a classic longboard available between 9′ and 9’8″. Timberline Surfboards Custom Sugar Glider Longboard, $1,800

Buying vs. Renting in Santa Barbara County

Recent headlines have indicated that many markets show a better buying scenario when compared to rental costs. A recent report by Zillow studied the breakeven horizon for buying vs. renting in major markets across the country. The idea is that if buyers plan on staying in a home past the breakeven horizon, it becomes more financially advantageous to buy a property instead of renting.

So what does this scenario look like in Santa Barbara County? Montecito has the longest breakeven horizon at 5.7 years, comparable to other high dollar markets like Manhattan. Santa Barbara came in at a projected 4.7 years. Zillow took into consideration all costs associated with buying a home and renting the same property to determine their breakeven horizon.

Buying vs. Renting breakeven horizon for Santa Barbara County

Home for the holidays

Home for the holidays can mean many things to many people. Consider your family traditions, the place where you grew up, your favorite holiday meals, and all the memories you’ve built over the years. Here’s a peek into what it means to be home for the holidays in Montecito, California.

Montecito French Provincial Estate dining room

The perfect spot for a formal holiday meal in Montecito, surrounded by warm colors and stunning Pacific Ocean views.

Sip hot cocoa, roast marshmallows and pray for extremely rare Montecito snow flakes.

Host unforgettable holiday wine dinners from this Montecito estate’s basement wine cellar and tasting room.

The perfect landing pad for Santa's sleigh!

The perfect landing pad for Santa’s sleigh!

Elegant Montecito dining room in historic estate

This elegant Montecito dining room is the perfect place for holiday meals, complete with a charming children’s table.

Montecito English Manor with pool house

A large pool house is the perfect place to house your in-laws for extended holiday visits at this historic Montecito manor.

When December Montecito temps reach the 70’s, outdoor holiday gatherings can be the best way to celebrate the season.

Santa Barbara estate site with stunning pacific ocean views

Watch the twinkling lights and the Santa Barbara Holiday Boat Parade atop the Riviera at this stunning estate site.