Spring Seller’s Season Hits the West Coast

This Spanish Revival Compound overlooks lush grounds and brilliant ocean views.

This Montecito Spanish Revival Compound overlooks lush grounds and brilliant ocean views.

What does spring bring? Not enough rain, but certainly a flurry of activity in California real estate markets. As we enjoy endless sun and soft spring breezes, (and secretly hope for some more rain to quench our partched soils) we also enjoy what the L.A. Times is calling a Seller’s Season here in the Golden State. Discussing Zillow’s latest report, the LA Times defines the east coast as a “buyer’s market” with many price cuts and lengthy DOMs, and the west coast going to the Seller’s with quick transactions, multiple offers, few price reductions and many properties selling at or over asking price. Riskin Associates can attest to this view with regards to Santa Barbara’s wealthy yet casual neighbor, Montecito. Despite new listings coming on the market what seems to be daily, inventory is remaining relatively stable as many listings are receiving multiple, very strong offers and opening escrow quickly. Other California markets seeing seller’s holding the negotiation power are San Jose and San Francisco. Buyers on the otherhand can do well in the midwest and Northeast, try Cleveland or Philidelphia.

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Positive Thinking: The Economy

Stunning Montecito Estate

Things are looking up, economically speaking, and this time, it isn’t mere hear-say. According to the results of the latest Home Index Survey released by PulteGroup, Inc., published by DSNews.com, Millennials are holding positive thoughts about the current state and future of the U.S. economy. In February, 1,000 Gen Y consumers were polled, with a combined 74% reporting that they felt the economy was in the same or better shape as last year. Additionally, 74% reported positive feelings about purchasing things they want/need, including homes. The increased optimisim is leading Gen Yers to believe they can live the lives they want or expect to live in the future. Homeownership seems to be a big part of that future life with 85% of Millennials reporting that they are planning to purchasing a home and 49% planning to do so in the next two years. Millennials report associating owning a home with “happiness” and “achievement.”

Friday Fever: Ocean Views

We never take Montecito‘s beauty for granted. So when the sun is shining and it’s Friday afternoon, we like to marvel at the stunning ocean views that our listings command. We hope a little coastal eye candy will get you through your Friday as well. Intruiged by what you see? Click on each photo for an extensive photo tour. Note to Montecito and Santa Barbara locals, this is a beach weekend: 78 & 79 degrees on Saturday and Sunday!

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Happy Friday, enjoy the weekend!

Montecito, California: Niche Market Report

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In recent weeks, the housing market has been at the forefront of the headlines, with major metropolitan markets booming. From London to New York to L.A. the big city areas are experiencing a fantastic upswing in transactions and foreign influences. Niche markets, such as Montecito and Santa Barbara are also experiencing a surge, however the specifics are decidedly unique.

One of the Montecito market’s niche characteristics is that many homeowners own multiple residences and spend a portion of their time living or vacationing in their Montecito homes. Many buyers come from within the U.S., many East Coast and Mid-Westerners. Internationally, the U.K. has a firm presence and we do not experience the high influx of Asian, Russian or Canadian buyers that the larger markets are seeing.

In Montecito, over 60% of homes are priced above $1M with the luxury price range starting around $7M. The under $2M price range is robust, many desireable properties receive multiple offers. The mid-range, $3M-7M is also steady with low inventory and a relatively high demand. The luxury market is somewhat slower. Inventory is saturated but we are not seeing the demand. The high-end market is experiencing a shortage in demand, inventory is steady however we are lacking in buyers. Prices are still down from 2007 but have held steady over the last 12 months.

In niche markets, “luxury” or “high-end” properties are often defined differently, with certain amenities demanding a premium. Montecito’s unique location, between the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, provides idyllic coastal views – which high-end buyers covet. Most luxury buyers want an ocean-view, turn-key property with a close-in location. Being within the prestigious Montecito Union School Distict and Montecito’s “Golden Quadrangle” is another desirable factor of location, near to The Upper Village shops and restaurants and the world renouned San Ysidro Ranch resort. Picacho Lane, Park Lane and Riven Rock Road are considered first class streets.

America’s Most Overpriced Cities 2014

Riskin Associates Listing

Forbes’ Erin Carlyle recently chronicled the countries most expensive cities and many  California cities found themselves labeled “overpriced.” In fact, California cities showed up most often on the list taking a whopping 9 spots. Covering the entire state, San Francisco, Fresno, L.A., Riverside and San Deigo all made the list, with L.A. snatching up the #20 position. Of relatively little surprise, Honolulu, Hawaii and New York City tied for first followed by South Connecticut and Boston. Philidelphia, Miami, Portland, North New Jersey and Long Island, N.Y. all made the list as well.

Aloha – Honolulu made a great case for being the most overpriced city with a median housing price of $430,000 and an exorbitantly high cost of living. While the median home price does not reflect the highest in the counrty for a Metropolian area, it is financially out of reach for most of the city’s resident families earning the median income of $86,300 per year. Cost of living plays a major role as well, with groceries costing an astounding 55% more than in the rest of the country and utilities costing – wait for it – 67% more.

Forbes compiled this data by looking at Metropolian Statistical Areas (areas with populations of 600k or more), and housing affordability and cost of living index in these areas.

Santa Barbara‘s humble approx. 89,000 population disqualified the city as a Metropolitan Statistical Area. With is no shortage of adventure, culture and cuisine in the area, and a airport an airport for quick jaunts to L.A., the Bay Area and beyond, Santa Barbara is an ideal town.