Santa Barbara South Coast Real Estate Update
June 9, 2023
According to data obtained from the County Recorder’s Office through Fidelity National Title, residential property sales on the Santa Barbara South Coast decreased by 26% in May 2023, with 104 sales recorded, compared to 141 in May 2022. Out of the 104 sales in May 2023, 67 were houses or planned unit developments (PUD), down 27% from 2022. The median sale price of these properties was $2,435,050, up 9% from 2022, and the average sale price was $3,327,434, up 3% from 2022. There were also 37 condominium sales in May 2023, down 23% from 2022. The median sale price of these condominiums was $950,000, down 14% from 2022, and the average sale price was $1,309,854, up 20% from 2022. Year-to-date in 2023, there have been a total of 441 residential property sales on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County, down 36% from 2022. The median sale price for all residential properties sold year-to-date in 2023 was $1,620,000, down 10% from 2022, and the average sale price was $2,627,206, down 6% from 2022.
In Carpinteria, there were a total of 9 residential sales in May 2023, the same number as in April. In May 2023 the median price of the 3 House/PUD sales was $1,805,000 and the average price was $1,918,333. In May 2023 the median price of the 6 Condominium sales was $849,500 and the average price was $836,500. The lowest-priced Carpinteria sale in May 2023 was a Condominium on Franciscan Court @ $725,000 and the highest was a House on Calle Ocho @ $1,525,000.
In Summerland, there were a total of 2 residential sales in May 2023, up from 0 in April. In May 2023 the median/average price of the 2 House/PUD sales was $2,563,125. In May 2023 there were no Condominium sales. The lowest-priced Summerland sale in May 2023 was a House on Banner Avenue @ $1,626,250 and the highest was a House on Freesia Drive @ $3,500,000.
In Montecito, there were a total of 25 residential sales in May 2023, up from 10 in April. In May 2023 the median price of the 22 House/PUD sales was $4,997,500 and the average price was $5,854,159. In May 2023 the median price of the 3 Condominium sales was $4,350,000 and the average price was $4,200,000. The lowest-priced Montecito sale in May 2023 was a Condominium on Fairway Road @ $2,550,000 and the highest was an Estate on Cold Springs Road @ $5,900,000.
In Santa Barbara, there were a total of 44 residential sales in May 2023, down from 50 in April. In May 2023 the median price of the 28 House/PUD sales was $2,112,500 and the average price was $2,217,413. In May 2023 the median price of the 16 Condominium sales was $884,000 and the average price was $1,031,762. The lowest-priced Santa Barbara sale in May 2023 was a Condominium on N. Calle Cesar Chavez @ $576,500 and the highest was a House on Mission Canyon Road @ $4,425,000.
In Hope Ranch, there were no sales in May 2023, down from 3 in April.
In Goleta, there were a total of 24 residential sales in May 2023, the same number as in April. In May 2023 the median price of the 13 House/PUD sales was $1,560,000 and the average price was $1,754,154. In May 2023 the median price of the 11 Condominium sales was $1,120,000 and the average price was $1,155,558. The lowest-priced Goleta sale in May 2023 was a Condominium on Moreton Bay Lane @ $515,000 and the highest was a House on La Espada Drive @ $3,615,000.
The real estate market on the Santa Barbara South Coast has been affected by various factors. Many Sellers who were previously hesitant to list their homes due to the pandemic, listed and sold their properties in 2022, but the inventory of listings for sale still remains relatively low. Historically low mortgage interest rates have risen dramatically since earlier in 2022 and this is now providing a financial incentive for homeowners to remain in their current homes with mortgage rates of 3% or less.
As of June 1st there were 123 (up from 104 in May) active House/PUD listings and 24 (up from 13 in May) active Condominium listings available along the Santa Barbara South Coast. This is a significant reduction compared to the inventory levels from 2007 to 2011 when the total number of active listings fluctuated between 734 and 1,026. Historically the highest number of active listings along the Santa Barbara South Coast was recorded in June of 1992 when there were an astounding 1,297 active listings available for Buyers to choose from.
Bank-owned sales on Santa Barbara’s South Coast have been rare; in all of 2021 and 2022, there were only 4 bank-owned sales. There is currently one bank-owned listing available; an oceanfront estate on Marina Drive in Hope Ranch for $21,500,000 (this rates as the highest bank-owned property in all of California). According to the Wall Street Journal, the national mortgage delinquency rate is now around 1.94%; it was 3.5% just before COVID hit at the end of 2019. Rising home equity has allowed most owners to “bail out” of their financially distressed properties, pay off the mortgage, and avoid foreclosure. There have been a few short sales and bankruptcy sales where an owner’s debt has had to be restructured resulting in the sale of a property. To check out California’s foreclosure list by County, check out this link: California Foreclosure Trends by County .
The stubbornness of high inflation is dividing the Federal Reserve over how to manage interest rates in the coming months, leaving the outlook for the Fed’s policies cloudier than at any time since it unleashed a streak of 10 straight rate hikes beginning in March 2022. Many Fed watchers have expected the central bank’s officials to forgo another increase in their benchmark rate when they next meet in mid-June. Yet recent warnings from several of the officials about the continuing threat from high inflation suggest that that outcome is far from certain. We shall see what the Fed decides at their June meeting next week.
Mortgage interest rates have more than doubled since the beginning of 2022. According to Bankrate, as of June 1st, you could lock in a $647,200 30-year fixed-rate loan at 7.08% (up from 6.875% in May). Historically the lowest 30-year mortgage interest rate since 1970 was recorded in February 2021 at 2.65%, which was matched again in July 2021. The highest historical conforming mortgage rate was recorded in 1981 @ 18.63%. As a comparison, a mortgage payment for a $647,200 mortgage in 1981 would have been $10,087/month, the payment in February 2021 would have been $2,608/month, and as of June 1st, the payment would be $4,341/month. Many potential buyers have switched to applying for adjustable rate loans in anticipation of fixed rate mortgages moving lower in the future. At the same time, many homeowners are waiting, unwilling to list their homes and trade their sub-3% mortgages to borrow at 6% or 7% for a replacement home. These factors have limited the listing inventory and therefore the amount of 2023 sales as compared to 2022.
According to Business Insider, in April, cash buyers represented 33.4% of the national sale transactions, far above levels hovering around 25% for the last 10 years. Some areas have a much higher percentage of all cash sales; as an example during the first quarter of 2023, 57% of the transactions in Manhattan were all cash sales. On the Santa Barbara South Coast in May 2023, 41% of the sales were cash sales, up from 26% in April.
Of the 104 residential sales in May 2023, 82 were over $1,000,000 which equates to 79% of the total sales, the same as in April. The South Coast of Santa Barbara is not an inexpensive place to purchase real estate compared to most areas of the United States, but again many people will pay more to live and invest in Santa Barbara. According to PropertyShark’s 2022 report, California has 7 of the 10 most expensive median-priced ZIP codes in the country. Montecito’s 93108 ZIP came in at #8 nationally. Check out: https://www.propertyshark.com/Real-Estate-Reports/most-expensive-zip-codes-in-the-us
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index in the United States rose by 5 points to 50 in May 2023, easily beating market consensus of 45. This marks the fifth consecutive month of growth and the highest level since July of the previous year, due to strong demand for new construction driven by limited housing supply. However, builders are still facing challenges in meeting this demand due to shortages of building materials like transformers, as well as tightening credit conditions for residential real estate development and construction, influenced by the Federal Reserve’s interest rates hikes. The gauge for current single-family home sales was up 5 points to 56, while the home sales over the next six months sub-index increased 7 points to 57. In addition, the gauge for prospective buyers rose 2 points to 33.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index fell in May to 102.3, down from 103.7 in April. “Consumer confidence declined in May as consumers’ view of current conditions became somewhat less upbeat while their expectations remained gloomy,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director, Economics at The Conference Board. “Their assessment of current employment conditions saw the most significant deterioration, with the proportion of consumers reporting jobs are ‘plentiful’ falling 4 points from 47.5 percent in April to 43.5 percent in May. Consumers also became more downbeat about future business conditions, weighing on the expectations index. However, expectations for jobs and incomes over the next six months held relatively steady. While consumer confidence has fallen across all age and income categories over the past three months, May’s decline reflects a particularly notable worsening in the outlook among consumers over 55 years of age.”
As for the worldwide cost of living as of June 2023, Expatistan compiled an index of 230 major metropolitan areas. The cost of gasoline in these areas was checked on June 1st. Expatistan’s list indicates that #8 San Francisco with a 192 Price Index score is the most expensive area in California (the least expensive gallon of regular gas costs $4.89) and the least expensive is #46 Walnut Creek (this is because they did not survey cities in the Central Valley) with a Price Index score of 141 ($4.73/gallon). In the USA, the most expensive area to live in is #2 New York City @ 213 ($3.59/gallon) and the least expensive is #162 Cedar Rapids, Iowa @ 87 ($3.09/gallon). Of the top 25 most expensive areas worldwide, 4 are in California (same as in May) including San Francisco @ #2, #12 Los Angeles @ 184 ($4.15/gallon), #14 Oakland @ #183 ($4.29/gallon) and #25 San Diego @ 160 ($4.29/gallon) . The most expensive area to live in the world is #1 Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands) @ 215 ($6.00/gallon) and the least expensive is #230 Irkutsk (Russia) @ 37 ($2.43/gallon). Santa Barbara is not on the list as Expatistan does not rate it as a major metropolitan area. Local gas prices as low as $4.45/gallon are similar to other California coastal areas. Expatistan’s Cost of Living Index is interesting to check out to compare the cost of living in cities around the world:
According to Realtor.com®’s May housing data, growth in the inventory of homes actively for sale has slowed and is declining in many metropolitan areas across the country as sellers continue to list fewer homes than last year and buyers compete over the remaining affordable homes for sale. While the median asking price for a home is growing seasonally, listing prices remained about the same as late last spring and this year’s median list price may not reach the previous year’s peak for the first time in our data. Additionally, the median listing on a price per square foot basis declined compared to the previous year for the first time in our data’s history (since 2016). Nevertheless, as projected in our 2023 Housing Forecast, home buying costs haven’t come down. The monthly mortgage payments required to purchase a typical home remain higher than last year due to elevated mortgage rates, which continue to provide headwinds to buyers despite stalling listing prices and declining sale prices. Check out the full article at https://www.realtor.com/research/may-2023-data/
Historically the highest Year-to-Date median sales price recorded on the Santa Barbara South Coast was recorded in 2007 at $1,031,500. In May 2023 the median sales price was $1,620,000, up from $1,600,000 in April and down 6% from the same month in 2022. The median sales price had been hovering near 2007’s historic high for most of 2017, 2018, and 2019, then started an upward swing in 2020, accelerating in 2021 and into most of 2022. In early 2022 new record-high median sales prices were set each month, but prices have now leveled off somewhat. In May 2023 the average Santa Barbara South Coast sales price was $2,627,206, down from $2,632,627 in April.
Based on the Santa Barbara Multiple Listing Service data, as of June 1st in the City of Santa Barbara, there were 53 active House/PUD listings (up from 42 in May) and 26 pending sales (up from 21 in May), which equates to a low 2-month supply (same as in May) of listings for Buyers to choose from. Generally, a 1-month supply would indicate the listings would all be sold within one month. A less than 1-month supply of inventory indicates a feverish Seller’s market, a 1-to-2-month supply indicates a heated Seller’s market and a 2-to-4-month supply would be considered a basic Seller’s market where Buyer demand is still high and inventory is scarce. Historically a 4-to-6-month supply of available inventory would indicate a fairly well-balanced, normal market between Buyers and Sellers. Typically more than a 6-month supply is considered to be a Buyer’s market where inventory is plentiful; Buyers will be slower to make decisions as they compare the numerous properties on the market. Based on Santa Barbara Multiple Listing Service data and as of June 1st, Carpinteria/Summerland had a 2.3-month supply (down from 3 in May), Montecito had a 6.6-month supply (up from 2.7 in May), Goleta had a .6-month supply (down from 1.3 in May) and Hope Ranch had a 12-month supply (up dramatically from 7 in May). These inventory statistics indicate that Santa Barbara and Carpinteria/Summerland are in a basic Seller’s market. Goleta has crossed over into a feverish Seller’s market. Montecito has crossed over into a Buyer’s market and Hope Ranch has crossed far over into a Buyer’s market. With a combined total of 55 House/PUD pending sales (down from 47 in May) and 123 active listings (up from 104 in May) along the South Coast of Santa Barbara County, there is only a 2.2-month supply (same as in May) of House/PUD listings from which Buyers can choose. With a combined total of 16 Condominium pending sales (down from 25 in May) and only 24 active listings (up from 13 in May) on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County, there is a 1.5-month supply (up from .52 in May) of Condominium listings from which Buyers can choose. The South Coast market as a whole still remains entrenched in a variety of Seller markets, except for Montecito and Hope Ranch which have now entered into a Buyer’s Market. As our market is in a transition flux, there is still a lack of inventory for Buyers to choose from. Santa Barbara real estate values have been more resilient to the downward pressures than other parts of the country: people just want to live and enjoy the weather and lifestyle along the Santa Barbara South Coast.
While concerns about the pandemic’s economic impact have diminished, there are several other concerns for many Buyers and Sellers. These include the conflict in Ukraine, inflation, the cost of gasoline, rising premiums, rising mortgage rates, and the possibility of a recession. Now a major concern is the scarcity of homeowners insurance coverage, especially since State Farm and Allstate have recently refused to issue new insurance policies to California home buyers: see attached articles. California’s Proposition 19, which has now taken full effect, allows homeowners aged 55+ to transfer their existing real estate tax base to a home anywhere in the State; this change should be encouraging to some older Sellers who wish to sell their current homes and find a suitable replacement. Although mortgage interest rates have risen and are not as extremely low as in the past few years, they still remain historically low. Due to low inventory and increased migration trends towards smaller cities during the pandemic, a trend which continues to this day, there has been a surge in property values on the Santa Barbara South Coast. While market corrections may still negatively impact property values on the Santa Barbara South Coast, the impact is expected to be less severe compared to many other areas in the state and country. Listings in 2023 may remain on the market a bit longer than in 2022, but each week I am still seeing multiple offers on certain well-priced listings. Home values in the Santa Barbara South Coast Real Estate Market continue to be positively affected by supply and demand dynamics due to persistent low listing inventory; I expect this dynamic to continue into the foreseeable future.
Review the attached list of the 104 properties sold on the Santa Barbara South Coast in May 2023 and feel free to contact me for information on specific sales.
Stan Tabler, CRS, GRI, ABR, GREEN
801 Chapala Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
CalBRE Brokers License #00774377 since 1980