Santa Barbara Real Estate Review – A Stronger Market

Jackie Walters, a fellow realtor at Village Properties, recently wrote an article for the Santa Barbara News-Press recapping our 2012 real estate market. Her overall sentiment was that our market was much stronger at the close of 2012, leading us into a bright 2013.

Santa Barbara South Coast Real Estate Sales - courtesy of Carol Kruckenberg

Santa Barbara South Coast Real Estate Sales – courtesy of Carol Kruckenberg

When looking at sales totals from over the past decade or so, a strong increase in the volume of sales can be noted for 2012. In fact, more homes and PUDs sold in 2012 than any other year since 2000. Sales were up 33% from 2011, even exceeding annual numbers during the height of the market in 2004-2005. The dollar volume for these sales was up nearly 55% from 2001, with over $1.7 billion residential real estate sales. Riskin Associates had a banner year, contributing over $220 million to that total.

Inventory has dropped steadily over the past twelve months, with little over 300 homes for sale from Carpinteria to Goleta. With 3.9 months of inventory market-wide, this shows a solid seller’s market. In December, properties were on the market for an average of 56 days, dropping steeply from 101 days in December 2011.

High-end home sales, for properties priced over $5 million, increased almost 100% year-over-year. There were 25 such sales in 2011 compared with 48 in 2012. Many sellers adjusted their expectations on price, coinciding with a steady increase in buyers in the upper range.

Meanwhile cash sales are up, as some investors find local real estate a stronger investment than financial markets. The Cheif Economist of the California Aossication of Realtors, Leslie Appleton-Young, described our current market as “a buying opportunity that comes around only once in a generation.” What an exciting prospect!



Five Rainy Day Retreats

Here are five rainy day hangouts, perfect for days like today. If it’s cold outside where you are right now, envision yourself relaxing in one of these great spaces…

Montecito Estate Media Room

This media room has a 3D theater and is adjacent to two game rooms, a bowling lane, a gym, steam room and sauna

This pool pavilion has a fireplace, full kitchen, gym and office, perfect for enjoying the outdoors while shielding the rain

This pool pavilion has a fireplace, full kitchen, gym and office, perfect for enjoying the outdoors while staying dry

Escape the cold in this beautiful wine room and cellar

This mountain retreat pool house has a cozy stone fireplace, media area and nearby game room

This mountain retreat pool house has a cozy stone fireplace, media area and nearby game room

This estate's tower hosts a majestic, hidden dining room with views out over the ocean, valley and surrounding mountains

This estate’s tower hosts a majestic, hidden dining room with views out over the ocean, valley and surrounding mountains

Will Spring Come Early?

Superb Mediterranean Estate in Montecito, CA

A Montecito, CA estate recently listed with Riskin Associates

An article from the LA Times this weekend showed promising signs of a healthy real estate market already taking off this year. While most markets don’t show heavy or even steady activity until the Spring each year, there is growing evidence that more buyers are already active this January. According to the article, there are more pre-approval requests from mortgage companies, higher traffic on real estate websites and more foot traffic through listings already this year than in years past. It appears that savvy home buyers are looking to take advantage of lingering low home prices and still near record-low mortgage rates early this year while they still can.

Fannie Mae reported in a survey that the majority of American’s polled expected home prices and mortgage rates to rise. The National Association of Realtors reported foot traffic at listed homes up even over the busy holiday season in December in over half of the markets nationwide, prompting their economists to predict robust sales in the coming weeks. Meanwhile inventory is still down as many sellers still believe that it’s a buyer’s market. With the jump in multiple offer situations, at or above asking price offers and more buyers flooding the market even earlier this year, sellers may find that the tables are turning in 2013.

Promising Year End Real Estate Stats

December 2012 South County Santa Barbara Real Estate SalesThe Santa Barbara real estate numbers are in, and the end of 2012 is reporting a huge spike. Closed sales for South Santa Barbara County reached 275 in December, jumping 45% over the previous month, and up 62% over the same time last year. December closed sales were actually 22% higher than the county’s previous 5 year peak in May 2012.  Looking ahead to 2013, the Santa Barbara MLS had 63 new listings, 22 price reductions and 32 pending sales last week, all double what we saw the first week of year.

Nationwide, listing prices were up 5.1% year-over-year in December according to Truila. In fact 82% of major metro markets reported year-over-year listing price gains. This goes hand-in-hand with declining inventory, as December nationwide inventory dipped over 17% year-over-year. Four of the top ten cities with the largest asking price recovery were in California, while these same cities reported over a 50% decline in inventory.


Luxury Home Sales Jump Nationwide at Year-End

Montecito Ocean-View Estate Sold

A Montecito estate that closed on December 27, 2012

According to the National Association of Realtors, homes sales over $1 million jumped over 50% in November 2012, compared to 2011. It is believed that many sellers wanted to close prior to rumored capital gains hikes and the 3.8% Medicare surtax. Some sellers reportedly lowered prices for buyers who could close before the end of the year.

Some markets nationwide have reported a slump in inventory this month after the rush of sales at the end of last year. Even though the new year has come and gone, experts predict low mortgage rates to continue to draw more buyers, while foreign buyers will continue to consider U.S. real estate. In Montecito, high-end inventory remains healthy and very well priced.

90% of Home Buyers Use Online Search

A new report resulting from a joint study between the National Association of Realtors and Google offers staggering statistics on the digital house hunt. Here are some highlights from the study…

  • Online real estate search on increased 22% year-over-year
  • Google’s online real estate search increased a staggering 253% over the last four years
  • 54% of buyers went straight to the web first to start their real estate search
  • Google real estate related searches on mobile devices grew 120% year-over-year from 2011 to 2012
  • 36% of new home shoppers use their mobile device for real estate searches while watching TV
  • YouTube is the top video search destination for home buyers
  • 75% of seniors use the internet to search for real estate



LA’s High-End Real Estate Recap

Source: LA Times

An article from today’s LA Times recapped high-end real estate sales in Los Angeles County for 2012. According to DataQuick, it appears that properties over $5 million have finally returned to pre-recession sales rates in the LA area, a promising sign for real estate markets across Southern California. At 296 sales over $5 million, twice as many properties sold in 2012 than 2009 in LA county. As a comparison, 52 properties sold in the Santa Barbara area for over $5 million in 2012.

Some of LA’s most notable 2012 sales include Ryan Seacrest’s purchase of Ellen DeGeneres’ Beverly Hills compound for $36.5 million, Jennifer Aniston’s $20.97 million purchase of a Midcentury modern Bel-Air estate, and Jane Fonda’s $8.5 million sale of her Hollywood Hills estate originally built for Ronald Reagan in 1942.