Santa Barbara South Coast Real Estate Update
April 15, 2021
Direct from the County Recorder’s Office by way of Fidelity National Title, the total number of residential sales on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County was up 88% from 128 in March 2020 to 240 in March 2021. In March 2021 there were 156 House/PUD (Planned Unit Development) sales, up 71% from 2020, with a median sales price of $2,052,500 and an average sales price of $3,576,920. In March 2021 there were 84 Condominium sales, up 127% from 2020, with a median sales price of $827,750 and an average sales price of $1,022,238. There have been a total of 534 residential sales in 2021 (up 39% from 2020), with a median sales price of $1,485,000 (up 34% from 2020) and average sales price of $2,500,595 (up 71% from 2020).
In Carpinteria there were a total of 30 sales in March 2021, up from 10 in February. In March 2021 the median price of the 7 House/PUD sales was $1,200,000 and the average price was $4,491,429. In March 2021 the median price of the 23 Condominium sales was $786,000 and the average price was $808,987. The lowest priced Carpinteria sale in March 2021 was a Condominium on Franciscan Court @ $565,000 and the highest was a beachfront House on Sand Point Road @ $23,000,000.
In Summerland there were a total of 4 sales in March 2021, up from 1 in February. In March 2021 the median and average price of the 2 House/PUD sales was $5,575,000. In March 2021 the median and average price of the 2 Condominium sales was $1,225,000. The lowest priced Summerland sale in March 2021 was a Condominium on Banner Avenue @ $1,150,000 and the highest was an Estate/Ranch on Lambert Road @ $9,250,000.
In Montecito there were a total of 55 sales in March 2021, up from 28 in February. In March 2021 the median price of the 44 House/PUD sales was $4,832,500 and the average price was $6,941,750. In March 2021 the median price of the 11 Condominium sales was $2,000,000 and the average price was $1,918,273. The lowest priced Montecito sale in March 2021 was a Condominium on Virginia Road @ $750,000 and the highest was a beachfront House on Fernald Point Lane @ $45,000,000.
In Santa Barbara there were a total of 99 sales in March 2021, up from 57 in February. In March 2021 the median price of the 64 House/PUD sales was $1,763,500 and the average price was $2,167,516. In March 2021 the median price of the 35 Condominium sales was $893,000 and the average price was $979,771. The lowest priced Santa Barbara sale in March 2021 was a Condominium on Anacapa Street @ $580,000 and the highest was a House on Las Tunas Road @ $9,590,000.
In Hope Ranch there were a total of 5 sales in March 2021, down from 7 in February. In March 2021 the median price of the 5 House sales was $4,815,000 and the average price was $3,999,300. There are no PUD’s or Condominiums in Hope Ranch. The lowest priced Hope Ranch sale in March 2021 was a House on Laguna Blanca Drive @ $2,600,000 and the highest was a House on Via Esperanza @ $4,950,000.
In Goleta there were a total of 47 sales in March 2021, up from 33 in February. In March 2021 the median price of the 34 House/PUD sales was $1,257,500 and the average price was $1,507,500. In March 2021 the median price of the 13 Condominium sales was $692,000 and the average price was $724,500. The lowest priced Goleta sale in March 2021 was a Condominium on Moreton Bay Lane @ $493,000 and the highest was a House on N. San Marcos Road @ $3,800,000.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected our daily lives, but also how everyone buys and sells real estate. Open houses and Broker Caravans are not allowed and strict safety protocols are in place for any in-person by appointment showings of listings. Due to COVID-19 concerns, many Sellers have avoided listing their homes which has only exacerbated the lack of housing inventory on the market. While the unemployment rate has leveled off and is slowly heading towards pre-COVID rates, historically low mortgage interest rates and the pent-up Buyer demand for housing is driving values of real estate upward on the South Coast. It would seem that one of the unanticipated side effects of COVID-19 is that Buyers are fleeing from highly populated areas to more lightly populated areas, such as along the South Coast.
A limited supply of available properties along the South Coast of Santa Barbara County is keeping values higher than one might expect, even taking into account the effects of COVID-19, as compared to many inland areas of California and most areas of the United States. Along the South Coast of Santa Barbara County as of April 2nd there were 99 active House/PUD listings (down from 106 in March and 125 in February) and 28 active Condominium listings available (up from 26 in March and down from 39 in February). Historically there has been much more inventory available in the higher price ranges than in the lower ranges; as of April 2nd 33% of the 99 active House/PUD listings were located in the higher valued Montecito and Hope Ranch areas. Compare these current low totals to the inventory levels from 2007 to 2011 when the total number of active listings ranged between 734 and 1,026. Historically the highest number of active listings along the South Coast was recorded in June of 1992 when there were an astounding 1,297 active listings available.
In 2020 there were only 2 bank-owned sales along the South Coast of Santa Barbara County. As of April 2nd there were no bank owned listings for sale or pending on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County. There was one bank-owned sale in January on Cresta Avenue @ $3,040,000 and one in February on Las Positas Place @ $981,000. There have been very few distress sales due to home equity rising quickly allowing Owners to “bail out” their financially distressed properties. To check out California’s foreclosure by county, visit this RealtyTrac link: California Foreclosure Trends by County .
As of February 2021 (the latest monthly data available from CoreLogic), the highest recorded County median sales price in California was in San Mateo County @ $1,322,500 (up 4.1% from 2020) and the lowest recorded County median sales price was in Siskiyou County @ $210,000 (up 16.7% from 2020). The median sales price in the County of Santa Barbara was $714,500 (up 29.5% from 2020) while the median sales price in the City of Santa Barbara was $1,562,000 (up 27.5% from 2020). Other than residential fire-lot sales, the lowest median sales price recorded in any California city was in Trona in San Bernardino County @ $75,000 (same as in 2020) and the highest was in Atherton in San Mateo County @ $4,700,000 (down 33.3% from 2020). You could buy 63 median priced Houses in Trona, 7 in the County of Santa Barbara or 3 in the City of Santa Barbara for the same price as 1 House in Atherton. If you care to see a House you can buy in Trona for only $15,000, check https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/13059-Alameda-St_Trona_CA_93562_M92615-42702 . If you care to see an Estate you can buy in Atherton for $4,988,000, check https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/307-Walsh-Rd_Atherton_CA_94027_M25860-18923 .
The Federal Reserve (the Fed) has maintained a near zero rate since early 2020 due to the negative effects on the economy due to COVID-19. “There are a number of factors that are coming together to support a brighter outlook for the U.S. economy” Jerome Powell said during an April 8th meeting. “It’s important to remember we’re not going back to the same economy,” Powell said. “This will be a different economy.” Powell said that he doesn’t expect any move up in prices to be long lasting or enough to change the Fed from its “accommodative monetary policy.” As of April 2nd you could lock in a $510,000 30-year fixed rate loan at 3.25% up from 3.125% in March and 2.65% in February. Historically the lowest 30-year mortgage interest rate since 1970 was recorded in 2012 @ 3.31%, so February 2021’s 2.65% rate is now the new low. The highest mortgage rate was recorded in 1981 @ 18.63%. If you were able to obtain a $510,000 mortgage in 1981, your payment would have been $7,949/month; as of March 2nd it would be $2,220/month.
Of the 240 sales in March 2021 there were 167 over $1,000,000 which equates to 70% of the total sales, down from 79.9% in February. The South Coast of Santa Barbara is not an inexpensive place to purchase real estate as compared to most areas of the United States, but again many people will pay more to live and invest in Santa Barbara. According to Forbes the national average for all cash real estate sales is 20%; on the South Coast in March 2021, 35% were cash sales, up from 29% in February. See the attached list of the 242 properties sold on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County in March 2021 and/or contact me for information on specific sales.
On March 30th the Conference Board reported that the Consumer Confidence Index surged to 109.7, up from 90.4 in February and 88.0 in January. In recent years the highest recent Index level recorded was 137.9 in October 2018 and it was recently as high as 132.6 in February 2020, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Historically the highest Consumer Confidence Index level was recorded in September 2000 when the Index stood at 142.5. “Consumer Confidence increased to its highest level since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions and their short-term outlook improved significantly, an indication that economic growth is likely to strengthen further in the coming months. Consumers’ renewed optimism boosted their purchasing intentions for homes, autos and several big-ticket items. To review the full report: https://conference-board.org/data/consumerconfidence.cfm .
As for the cost of living as of April 2021, Expatistan compiled an index of 186 major metropolitan areas worldwide. Expatistan’s list indicates New York, NY @ #4 is the most expensive area in the USA with a Price Index score of 237 (a gallon of regular gas costs $2.82) and the least expensive was #108 San Juan, PR @ 120 ($2.86/gallon). Of the top 25 most expensive areas worldwide, 4 are in California: #6 San Francisco @ 235 ($3.37/gallon), #17 Los Angeles @ 198 ($3.26/gallon), San Jose @ 198 ($3.27/gallon) and #24 San Diego @ 193 ($3.49/gallon). The most expensive area to live in the world is #1 Hamilton (Bermuda) @ 279 ($8.50/gallon) and the least expensive is #186 Tbilisi (Georgia/Russia) @ 52 ($2.71/gallon). Santa Barbara is not on the list as Expatistan does not rate it as a major metropolitan area, but gas prices are a bit higher than in other California cities. The cost of living list is interesting to check out if you care to compare the cost of living in cities around the world: https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/index .
As of April 1st, Danielle Hale, the Chief Economist at realtor.com, wrote about March’s Housing Trends:
“The housing market continues to be competitive for buyers resulting in higher home prices and quick-selling homes. One bright spot for buyers is new listings increased for the first time this year, and more is likely ahead in upcoming weeks as we move into the heart of home selling season. More listings should give buyers more options, but this good news is somewhat tempered by higher mortgage rates, which will increase the monthly cost of those homes even if price gains slow.” To read the full article, check out https://www.realtor.com/research/weekly-housing-trends-view-data-week-mar-27-2021/
Historically the highest Year-to-Date median sale price recorded on the Santa Barbara South Coast was recorded in 2007 at $1,031,500. The 2020 median sales price was $1,200,000. In March 2021 the median sales price jumped to $1,485,000. The median sale price had been hovering near 2007’s historic high for most of 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 but is now setting new records, up 34% from March 2020. The March 2021 average sale price was $2,500,595 up 71% from March 2020.
Based on the Santa Barbara Multiple Listing Service, as of April 2nd, in the City of Santa Barbara there were 45 active House/PUD listings and 58 pending sales, which equates to a very low .78 month supply (up from .69 in March) of listings for Buyers to choose from. Generally up to 3 months of inventory would be considered a Seller’s market where demand is high and inventory is scarce, lower than 2 months supply of inventory indicates a heated Seller’s market and lower than 1 month supply indicates a feverish Seller’s market. Historically a 4 to 5 month supply of available inventory would indicate a fairly well-balanced market between Buyers and Sellers. Typically a 6+ month supply is considered to be a Buyer’s market where inventory is plentiful; Buyers are slower to make decisions and want to see everything on the market. Based on Santa Barbara Multiple Listing Service data and as of April 2nd, Carpinteria/Summerland had a .5 month supply (down from 1.4 in March), Montecito had a 1.1 month supply (down from 1.5 in March), Goleta had a .27 month supply (down from .32 in March) and Hope Ranch had an amazingly low .43 month supply (up from .5 in March). These inventory statistics indicate that Carpinteria/Summerland, Santa Barbara, Hope Ranch and Goleta are in a feverish Seller’s market with a month or less of inventory. Montecito is in a heated Seller’s market. These supply levels are all extremely low for all of the areas, but it is very interesting to note just how low the supplies are in Montecito with a 1.1 month supply (down from 6.5 months in April 2020) and Hope Ranch with only a .5 month supply (down from 11 months in April 2020). With a combined total of 148 House/PUD pending sales and only 99 active listings on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County, there is only a .69 month supply of House/PUD listings from which to choose. With a combined total of 40 Condominium pending sales and only 28 active listings on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County, there is only a .7 month supply of Condominium listings from which to choose.
The ramifications of the concerns about COVID-19 and how it has and will affect our world, government spending in response to COVID-19 and the stimulus package, home insurance scarcity and rising premiums and the Federal $10,000 limit on State tax deductions are concerns to many Sellers and Buyers along the South Coast of Santa Barbara County. That being said, pent-up demand for homes along the South Coast (from national and international Buyers), historically low interest rates, and low inventory have boosted real estate values along the South Coast of Santa Barbara County. COVID-19 has actually increased real estate values as Buyers appear to be flocking to the “safe haven” of the Santa Barbara area. The current lack of available inventory in all areas along the South Coast continues to drive values upward. Supply and demand dynamics have and will continue to affect the South Coast of the Santa Barbara Real Estate Market for a long time to come.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Stan Tabler, CRS, GRI, ABR, GREEN
801 Chapala Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
CalBRE Brokers License #00774377 since 1980