Santa Barbara Home’s One of the Fastest Rising List Prices in California!

CAR Top 7 Metros

The California Association of Realtors has released the top seven metropolitan areas with the fastest rising list prices, and Santa Barbara is #2! With a 38% year-over-year increase, Santa Barbara comes in just behind Sacramento. According to the CAR, the median list price of homes in the Santa Barbara area is just under $700,000. According to leading real estate professionals, nearly every neighborhood in Santa Barbara has seen an increase in list prices since the beginning of the year. Many listings are receiving multiple offers and offers coming in at full price. This active summer selling season is motivating home owners to put their homes on the market, and commanding top dollar.  Although the first quarter of 2013 was quiet in the luxury real estate market, the market has picked up significantly with multiple new properties coming on the market every week. Riskin Associates is excited by the active market and is reveling in this busy time!


Young Buyers Investing in Luxury Properties!

outdoor dining in Montecito california

The Wall Street Journal is reporting a boom in younger demographics purchasing luxury real estate! As the market continues to heat up, buyers in their 20’s and 30’s are getting in on the high-end action. In a never before seen trend, young adults across the country are skipping the “starter home” and investing $1M+ in their first real estate purchase. As Riskin Associates reported in a recent blog post, foreign buyers are a large market for real estate investment and as the WSJ reports, many of those buyers are young heirs, looking to purchase property in the US. Domestic parents are also offering a helping hand to their adult offspring’s real estate endeavors, often gifting or loaning substantial down payments or combining resources with their adult children to purchase a home at a higher price point. While Montecito holds a reputation for boasting ultra-luxury real estate and a casual, relaxed community, near-by Santa Barbara offers a plethora of fun and exciting adventures for young adults and families alike to explore while searching for the perfect luxury home.

Foreign Buyers are Snatching Up Luxury Real Estate

Hand shakes close many business transations

AOL Real Estate is reporting an influx in foreign homebuyers with staggering figures. Between March 2012 and March 2013, foreign buyers spent over $68 billion in real estate! Interestingly, Chinese buyers are taking the lead in purchases, contributing 18% of that $68B. The article reports that Chinese buyers spend more on real estate than any other foreign demographic and nearly 70% of their purchases are made in cash. California is their location of choice for home purchases; last year, more than half of the homes sold in California went to Chinese buyers!

Interestingly, these Chinese buyers do not spend their time in the homes they buy. Most buyers are wealthy industrialists and real estate tycoons who spend less than half the year in the U.S. Motivations for purchases include California’s abundance of prestigious school systems, with many purchasing homes for children receiving an education in the state.

Riskin Associates affiliate Christie’s International Real Estate recently held a conference in San Francisco which focused on this emerging market, providing further insight into the motivations of Chinese buyers. With interests in winemaking and vineyard ownership as well as premier golf facilities, Chinese buyers are flocking to California to explore all that the diverse state has to offer.

California’s luxurious neighboring communities, Montecito and Santa Barbara, are home to several prestigious educational institutions, multiple premier golf courses, and just a short drive up the coast, the Santa Ynez Valley is emerging as a first-class region for vineyards and winemaking.

As the economy continues to strengthen and foreign buyers contributing substantially to it’s growth, the residential real estate market continues to experience a surge as well.

Sumptuous Sarabecca is the Belle of the Ball

Sarabecca perfume

Sarabecca’s elegant aura is present in both its fragrance and its show stopping presentation.

Rebecca Riskin, together with her Husband Ken Grand, has spent many months perfecting an all-natural perfume, Sarabecca, which has been named for Ken’s two daughters Sarah and Rebecca, using only natural essence oils like vetiver, lemon, and an array of herbs. With two distinct yet harmonious fragrances, Day and Night, the duo provides a light and floral option ideal for sunny Spring afternoons and a silkier evening counterpart which is both warm and luminescent with notes of ginger and sage.

Respected perfume blog has caught wind of this enticing new fragrance, and like those of us around Montecito who have had the pleasure of experiencing Sarabecca, instantly fell in love with each version of the sumptuous fragrance. A glowing write-up perfectly describes the whimsical flirtation shared by Sarabecca Day and Night. The article aptly details the story of Sarabecca’s creation while providing fun facts about the processes involved, and those not involved (read: Sarabecca is not tested on animals).

Do you need to experience Sarabecca? (Answer: Yes!) Head to Cos Bar in Montecito’s Lower Village, try it to be instantly transported a sun drenched field of summer wildflowers.

The Empire State Building Receives 2nd Offer!

The Empire State Building

Will America’s Empire State Building sell?

In honor of America’s 237th birthday, Riskin Associates would like to report on a developing story posted by the Wall Street Journal regarding one of the U.S.A’s most famous and patriotic landmarks: The Empire State Building in NYC. Currently owned by 2,800 shareholders and controlled by New York Family The Malkins, the building has received two unsolicited bids for purchase, the first at $2 billion offered by a company run by New York real estate investor Rubin Schron and the 2nd, coming in just slightly higher at $2.1 billion, was offered by an undisclosed party. The Malkins have received support for the plan to sell from 80% of the stakeholders, however a legal battle is brewing between the the remaining 20% who have opposed the plan. While none of the mentioned parties have commented on their plans moving forward, this second, mysterious offer may is certainly adding a new dynamic to an already intriguing real estate story!

Housing Market’s Recovery Barometers reads: 61%

Trulia reports the housing market is 61% back to normal.

Trulia reports the housing market is 61% back to normal.

Online real estate giant Trulia’s Housing Barometer charts the market improvement each month, tracking how quickly the housing market is moving “back to normal.” An article posted on’s real estate section discusses the three key pieces that paint this market picture for us:

  • Construction starts: this represents the number of new homes being built throughout the country. Increased number of construction starts equates to housing availability and inventory for homebuyers. In May, starts were over 900,000, a healthy boost from April up 7%.
  • Existing home sales: As inventory begins to expand, we begin to see a rise in sale of existing homes. Just over 5 million homes sold in May 2013, up 4% from April and a whopping 23% increase year over year. May was also the 4th straight month of inventory expansion.
  • Delinquency + foreclosure rate: As we see the market begin to regain a sense of normalcy, we want to see this number drop. And in May, thats exactly what it did, to 9.13% from last years 11.08%. Fewer people are falling behind on their mortgages gently pushing the delinquency + foreclosure rate down. It is currently 57% back to normal.

By comparing these numbers to (1) their pre-recession “normal” numbers and (2) the numbers at their worst, we are able to see the market’s recovery rate, exactly how close we are to a full recovery, and when we can expect that 100% recovery we are all anxiously awaiting. One year ago, the market was just 35% “back to normal” and this is the first time the barometer has crossed over into the 60th percentile.