California Median Home Prices


Across the country, the real estate market is seeing a strengthening, home prices are holding steady and increasing in many places. According to the California Association of Realtors, counties across California are experiencing a jump in median home values. Offering a price point for everyone, California’s multimillion dollar estates are met by affordable family homes across the state. Median home prices are ranging from $143,330 in Lake County to as much as $942,070 in Marin County, and everywhere in between. Santa Barbara county finds itself in the middle at $558,330 with neighboring counties Ventura at $463,820 and San Louis Obispo at $486,510. As we receive updated information on median home prices throughout the year, Riskin Associates will report on the changes and progression of the real estate market.


The Key Factor to Getting Your Home Sold

Stunning Spanish Compound w/ Ocean views in Montecito.

A tale as old as time, “I want to get my house sold NOW!” Every seller’s dream is a quick offer and a short escrow, but attaining this elusive goal is easier said than done. Location, quality or condition, market conditions, marketing, price… each factor has it’s own hand in the turnaround time for listing your home, and accepting an offer. However, no factor has a heavier influence on getting your house sold than – you guessed it- price.

According to a new article by, a house in a good location will see for a fair price, as will a home in a bad location. Same goes for quality of construction and condition of the house. Listing a home for a fair price will always yeild higher interest than an over-priced proeprty. This is important for sellers to keep in mind, and while listing your home at price x, consider the time on market and number of showings. If the property fails to maintain momentum and intersest, a price reduction is often a beneficial move. Not only will adjusting the price bring back buyers previously interested, it will also allow a larger pool of buyers to take an initial look, bringing you – the seller – an offer you can accept!

Curb Appeal is the Real Deal

Investment return on home improvement

Doing some remodeling?

Spring is just around the corner, as the season has gotten itself a reputation for being a great time to sell your home, many homeowners like to know where their home improvement investment should be spent. According to an article  by, exterior improvements are going to yeild the highest returns. The article references the 2014 Remodelings Costs vs. Value report, which compares the average costs of the 35 most popular home improvement projects.

For 2014, eight of the top ten most popular improvements were exterior upgrades. Exterior appeal is often the most important factor in a buyer’s opinion of a property as first impressions are known to have a heavy influence on overall feelings. To view the highest investment returns in Montecito’s neighboring Ventura County, click here. Below, enjoy three Montecito estates with incredible curb appeal.

A Montecito estate listed by Riskin Associates

A meandering drive introduces this historic Montecito estate. A sprawling lawn and majestic oaks are the ideal complement to the home’s stunning, traditional facade.

For additional information on this Montecito estate, click here.


This ocean-view Tuscan villa’s motor court gives an impressive first impression, just a hint of the sumptuous interiors awaiting inside.

To see more of this designer residence, click here.

Rustic ocean-view home in Carpinteria

A rustic beauty in the ocean-view hills of Carpinteria, this compound has been featured in Architectural Digest.

To see inside the estate, click here.



How to Do Well In a Drought

A luxurious Montecito estate

This Montecito estate boasts its own private well, a luxury property coveted asset during California’s dry spell.

California is dry, and thirsty. Perhaps the driest and most thirsty the state has been in a century. With the state recently declaring the situation a “drought emergency,” we wanted to educate our readers on the benefits of owning a home with a private well.

Firstly, and most appropriately, private wells are often excluded from municipal water bans. During times of drought or water conservation, a private well would allow homeowners to continue with their normal water usage and lifestyle, experiencing limited interruptions.

Secondly, and possibly more importantly, is the absence of a water bill. Drawing the water directly from the ground, rather than being tracked by a meter, allows homeowners to rid themselves of water bills every month or, if well water is used only for landscape or agriculture, would significantly reduce the amount paid each month for municipal water.

Below indulge in some real estate eye candy. These luxury properties all include private wells.

An expansive French Provincial estate in Montecito with ocean and mountain views.

690 Picacho Lane, Montecito, Ca

Offered at $27,000,000

9 acres with orchards, vegetable gardens and lake

Private well

Riskin Associates, 805.565.8600 or

Ocean view Mediterranean estate in montecito, ca

588 Freehaven Drive, Montecito, Ca

Offered at $14,900,000

Approx. 20 ocean and mountain-view acres

Private well

Riskin Associates, 805.565.8600 or

A palatial Montecito estate over looks the Pacific Ocean and acres of manicured grounds.

1140 East Mountain Drive, Montecito, Ca

Offered at 9,875,000

6 acres with manicured rose gardens, lush lawns and oak trees

Shared private irrigation well

Riskin Associates, 805.565.8600 or

What’s Happening in Santa Barbara?

Beautiful Santa Barbara sunset coastline

Santa Barbara: The American Riviera

It’s nearly impossible to decide on the best aspect of living in the Santa Barbara area. Ideal weather with year round sun and temperate temperatures, a culinary wonderland of fresh, inventive flavors paired with the region’s award winning wines, vast sandy beaches nestled against the Santa Ynez Mountain’s hiking trails or the numerous cultural community events which throughout the year bring visitors and locals alike into the streets to celebrate Santa Barbara’s rich history and modern lifestyle. Fortunately, being a resident of this fantastic locale allows for the enjoyment of each of these pleasures and the countless others waiting to be discovered.

This month, our town is bustling with excitement as the Santa Barbara International Film Festival approaches! The world renowned festival brings hollywood heavyweights up from LA to a warm welcome of Santa Barbara-style events. Take a look at a sampling of this month’s events and get in on the action. (Note: when planning your attendances, please note that the average temperature in Santa Barbara during the month of January is 64 degrees and this week’s forecast puts our temperatures in the high 70’s all week. Just saying.)

January 16th: Meet the Masters, Miro Restaurant – Bacara Resort. Enjoy an intimate dining experience that offers culinary enthusiasts the rare opportunity to dine with Master Sommeliers from across the globe who share a proven mastery in the art and science of wine and spirit pairing.

January 19th-26th: Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant WeekRestaurants throughout the Santa Ynez Valley are offering special 3-course tasting menus for the price of $20.14

January 21st: New Year Modern with the Santa Barbara Chamber OrchestraCelebrate the beginning of 2014 with SBCO at New Year Modern and dive into the world of modern music! This concert features contemporary works of the 20th century and Appalachian Spring performed as a ballet.

January 30th-February 9th: Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), announces its highly-anticipated line-up for 2014. The 29th edition offers a vast array of films representing 60 countries and a rich selection of films sure to delight audiences from all reaches of the globe. SBIFF is proud to welcome many promising and established filmmakers, as well as honorees to join in its grand tradition of celebrating independent film.

January 30th-February 9th: Film Feast. Libations, cuisine, APPETITE! The original lights of Hollywood are shining brighter than ever, as Santa Barbara goes to the movies for a performance your taste buds will never forget. For eleven straight days, Film Feast 2014 is your invitation to explore the best plates and pours throughout Santa Barbara’s many theatre districts during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. If something is made here, it’s just a little more special, more flavorful, more memorable. This is where the greatest things come together. Ocean meets mountains. Sunny meets year-round. The good life meets the great life. This isn’t the end but actually just the beginning. Take a walk down the red carpet to savor the flavors made in Santa Barbara during Film Feast 2014.

For further information on Santa Barbara’s seemingly endless entertainment offerings, visit Additionally, we invite you back each month the find out what’s going on around town.

The Negative Impact of Celebrity on Real Estate

A Santa Barbara Ocean view estate.

A pool with a brilliant ocean view remains a coveted amenity to both high-profile and more private buyers.

Modern media revolves around celebrity and the personal lives of high-profile individuals, and is no different for the buying and selling of residential real estate. The media loves to know when a public figure is listing their property or in negotiations for purchasing a new abode. And as is usual in the world of celebrities, the more the media wants to know, the less they are willing to share. Celebrities go to great lengths in order to protect the privacy of their personal lives and their homes as possible, and as an article by argues, often to the detriment of future resale values. The article discusses several elements that celebrities find attractive in their homes, but can be too personal for future buyers to identify with.

While exposing the name of a famous owner can get a listing extended exposure, a dream come true from a marketing standpoint, a well-known listing can also be seen as a negative by some high-end buyers. A buyer may not want to purchase a home which has gotten a lot of press due to a well-known seller being attached to the property. This also goes for high-rise apartment complexes and gated communities. Having a high-profile neighbor attracting paparazzi attention may be a negative attribute of a home or apartment driving buyers away.

Customization of a home, while usually a huge selling point, can often be overdone by celebrities making the home too personal to them, making it difficult for buyers to see themselves living in a home. While a star athlete may want an indoor sport court with their jersey number splashed across the court, or a young movie star may love the idea of a private bowling alley in their own home, a buyer may find these amenities disarming and be off-put by the home as a result.

While celebrity and fame do have positive attributes for real estate from a marketing standpoint, often the attention this garners can be viewed as negative to buyers.

How Does Housing Make You Feel?

The start of a New Year tends to bring our awareness to the future, causing us to reflect upon the state and future states of our most pressing affairs. Be it our business, our finances or our fitness, the first of the year always gets us revved up to make the 12 months ahead better than the previous. The housing market, which remained of particular interest throughout 2013, appears to have maintained it’s position in the forefront of the minds of the general public for 2014.‘s Tory Barringer reports on the housing market’s standing in the eyes of consumers.

According to Tory’s article, consumers are feeling the warm and fuzzies toward the market, with attitudes on solid ground toward the end of last year with a whopping 49% (up from 45% last year and 43% the year prior) expecting prices increase over the next year and only 9% predicting a decrease. The price change expectation is returning to pre-government shut down levels, hovering around 3.2%. Of particular note were the gains in price expectations and attitudes about the current selling market as well as increased optimism regarding acquiring a mortgage, which is at the highest level of the 3 and a half year duration of the survey.

With morale high for the coming year, Riskin Associates will continue to report on the current and future states of the real estate market.