The decision to purchase real estate or to place your home for sale in the Santa Barbara real estate market can be one of the biggest you and your family will make at any given time. This decision can be made easier if you are adequately informed about the buying and selling process, the local real estate market and the neighborhoods and communities in which you are interested. As a local real estate professional with more than thirty years of experience helping buyers and sellers just like you, it would be my great pleasure to introduce you to the Santa Barbara Real Estate Services I offer to both buyers and sellers.
For sake of simplicity, buying a home is a three-step process: finding the right community, finding the right home and negotiating the best contract terms. For your convenience, I have compiled a wealth of information on local communities and their real estate trends as well as provided you access to the search the entire Santa Barbara MLS to view available properties. Once we have narrowed down the ideal community and the right home, I will use my many years of experience and expertise and my Santa Barbara Real Estate Services to negotiate the contract terms to suit your needs and to exceed your expectations.
For sellers, I believe you will find my commitment to untiring communication and service, masterful marketing and negotiation skills to be most refreshing. Resulting from years of extensive experience and research, a superior ability to anticipate problems and solve them and unsurpassed ethics and professionalism, you will find these qualities will help your home sell quickly and for its highest dollar.
Whether you are moving across town or across the country, it would be my great pleasure to assist you with all your housing needs and to share my Santa Barbara Real Estate Services with you and your family. Please feel free to browse my Santa Barbara Home Buying and Selling Tips at your leisure and do not hesitate to contact me, Stan Tabler at your convenience. I look forward to hearing from you soon and assisting you with all your real estate goals, big and small.
Santa Barbara South Coast Real Estate Update
March 8, 2023
Direct from the County Recorder’s Office by way of Fidelity National Title, the total number of monthly residential sales on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County was down 36% from 128 in February 2022 to 73 in February 2023. In February 2023 there were 49 House/PUD (Planned Unit Development) sales (down 44% from 2022) with a median sales price of $2,090,000 (down 16% from 2022) and an average sales price of $3,146,770 (down 7% from 2022). In February 2023 there were 24 Condominium sales (down 60% from 2022) with a median sales price of $990,000 (up 13% from 2022) and an average sales price of $1,119,515 (down 11% from 2022). For 2023 Year-to-Date, there have been a combined total of 142 residential sales (down 40% from 2022), with a median sales price of $1,533,000 (down 11% from 2022) and an average sales price of $2,574,146 (down 6% from 2022).
In Carpinteria, there were a total of 8 residential sales in February 2023, up from 6 in January. In February 2023 the median price of the 4 House/PUD sales was $2,587,500 and the average price was $3,643,750. In February 2023 the median price of the 4 Condominium sales was $665,000 and the average price was $708,750. The lowest-priced Carpinteria sale in February 2023 was a Condominium on Hickory Street @ $515,000 and the highest was a beachfront House on Sandyland Road @ $8,100,000.
In Summerland, there were a total of 3 residential sales in February 2023, up from 1 in January. In February 2023 the median price of the 3 House/PUD sales was $5,350,000 and the average price was $7,733,450. In February 2023 there were no Condominium sales in Summerland. The lowest-priced Summerland sale in February 2023 was a House on Golden Gate Avenue @ $2,529,150 and the highest was an Estate on Ortega Ranch Road @ $9,321,200.
In Montecito, there were a total of 3 residential sales in February 2023, down from 9 in January. In February 2023 the median price of the 3 House sales was $6,505,000 and the average price was $9,609,333. In February 2023 there were no Condominium sales in Montecito. The lowest-priced Montecito sale in February 2023 was a House on Miramar Avenue @ $4,823,000 and the highest was an Estate on Buena Vista Drive @ $17,500,000.
In the City of Santa Barbara, there were a total of 34 residential sales in February 2023, up from 33 in January. In February 2023 the median price of the 21 House/PUD sales was $2,300,000 and the average price was $2,292,907. In February 2023 the median price of the 13 Condominium sales was $1,302,540 and the average price was $1,384,873. The lowest-priced Santa Barbara sale in February 2023 was a Condominium on San Pascual Street @ $560,000 and the highest was a House on Alston Place @ $4,325,000.
In Hope Ranch, there were a total of 3 residential sales in February 2023, up from 2 in January. In February 2023 the median price of the 3 House sales was $7,250,000 and the average price was $7,658,333. There are no Condominiums or PUDs in Hope Ranch. The lowest-priced Hope Ranch sale in February 2023 was an Estate on Via Fruteria @ $5,325,000 and the highest was an Estate on Via Roblada @ $10,400,000.
In Goleta, there were a total of 22 residential sales in February 2023, up from 18 in January. In February 2023 the median price of the 15 House/PUD sales was $1,405,316 and the average price was $1,497,488. In February 2023 the median price of the 7 Condominium sales was $808,000 and the average price was $861,429. The lowest-priced Goleta sale in February 2023 was a Condominium on Dearborn Place @ $559,000 and the highest was a House on Meadowlark Lane @ $2,775,000.
Sellers who had avoided listing their homes due to pandemic concerns moved forward in 2022 to list their properties, but the inventory of listings for sale still remained and to this day remains relatively low. The historically low mortgage interest rates have risen dramatically since early 2022 when many would-be Sellers locked in on mortgage rates of 3% or less, so there is now a financial consideration to remain in their current homes.
All markets are hyper-localized, including the real estate market on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County with its still limited inventory and relatively higher values as compared to many other areas of California and the United States. Focusing on the supply in any market is a good way to anticipate where the markets are heading. Along the South Coast of Santa Barbara County as of February 1st, there were 86 active House/PUD listings (up from 78 in January) and 22 active Condominium listings available (down from 29 in January). Historically there has been more inventory available in the higher price ranges than in the lower ranges; as of January 1st, 30% of the 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 fluctuated 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 for Buyers to choose from.
In 2021 and 2022, there were only 2 bank-owned sales each year on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County. There are no bank-owned listings available at this point in time. Nationally, the rate of seriously past due mortgage debt was only 0.6% as of the 4th quarter of 2022, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The reason there have been so few distress sales on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County is due to owner’s equity rising so quickly, allowing them to “bail out” of their financially distressed properties, pay off the mortgage, and avoid foreclosure. There have been a few bankruptcy sales where the homeowner’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 Federal Reserve (the Fed) had maintained a near-zero interest rate since early 2020 due to the negative effects on the world economy due to the pandemic and supply chain issues, but due to inflationary pressures, the Fed reversed course in 2022, began raising rates and that course continues into 2023. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on March 7th confirmed in his testimony to a Senate committee that the Fed is ready to increase the pace of its hikes again as needed. Powell testified that “the ultimate level of interest rates is likely to be higher than previously anticipated. If the totality of the data were to indicate that faster tightening is warranted, we would be prepared to increase the pace of rate hikes. Restoring price stability will likely require that we maintain a restrictive stance of monetary policy for some time.”
Mortgage interest rates have more than doubled since the beginning of 2022. As of March 6th, you could lock in a $647,200 30-year fixed-rate loan at 6% with a 1% closing fee if you used a mortgage broker, but large banking institutions seem to be offering the loans at 5%+ (sometimes this also requires a substantial deposit). 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 March 6th, the payment would be $3,880/month. Increased mortgage interest rates have dissuaded many potential buyers from searching for a new home and discouraged some sellers from moving to a new home due to the low-interest mortgage payments they have locked in on their current home; this is now known as “Mortgage Lockdown”.
According to USA Today, the national average for all-cash real estate sales was 31.4%. On the South Coast in February 2023, 33% of the sales were cash sales, up from 26% in January. Review the attached list of the 69 properties sold on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County in February 2023 and/or contact me for information on specific sales.
Of the 73 sales in February 2023, 55 were over $1,000,000 which equates to 75.3% of the total sales, down from 75.4% in January. 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 sales ZIP codes in the country. Montecito’s 93108 ZIP came in at #8 nationally. https://www.propertyshark.com/Real-Estate-Reports/most-expensive-zip-codes-in-the-us
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market index in the US increased for a second month to 42 in February of 2023, the highest since September and beating market forecasts of 37. It is also the biggest monthly gain in nearly a decade excluding the rebound after 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns. The gauge for current sales conditions rose to 46 from 40, sales expectations in the next six months went up to 48 from 37, and traffic of prospective buyers edged 6 points higher to 29. “Even as the Federal Reserve continues to tighten monetary policy conditions, forecasts indicate that the housing market has passed peak mortgage rates for this cycle. And while we expect ongoing volatility for mortgage rates and housing costs, the building market should be able to achieve stability in the coming months, followed by a rebound trend back to home construction levels later in 2023 and the beginning of 2024”, said NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz. For the full report check out https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/nahb-housing-market-index
“Consumer confidence declined again in February. The decrease reflected large drops in confidence for households aged 35 to 54 and for households earning $35,000 or more,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director, Economics at The Conference Board. “And, while 12-month inflation expectations improved—falling to 6.3 percent from 6.7 percent last month—consumers may be showing early signs of pulling back spending in the face of high prices and rising interest rates. Fewer consumers are planning to purchase homes or autos and they also appear to be scaling back plans to buy major appliances.” To review the full report: https://conference-board.org/data/consumerconfidence.cfm .
As for the worldwide cost of living as of March 2023, Expatistan compiled an index of 246 major metropolitan areas. The cost of gasoline in these areas was checked on March 1st. Expatistan’s list indicates that #7 San Francisco with a 202 Price Index score is the most expensive area in California (the least expensive gallon of regular gas costs $4.99) and the least expensive is #113 Modesto with a Price Index score of 118 ($4.12/gallon). In the USA, the most expensive area to live in is #1 New York City @ 235 ($3.04/gallon) and the least expensive is #167 Cedar Rapids, Iowa @ 95 ($2.94/gallon). Of the top 25 most expensive areas worldwide, 4 are in California including San Francisco @ #7, Los Angeles @ #15 ($4.69/gallon), #24 San Diego @ 174 ($4.89/gallon) and #25 San Jose @ 172 ($4.65/gallon). The most expensive area to live in the world is New York City @ #1 and the least expensive is #246 Nagpur (India) @ 41 ($5.09/gallon). Santa Barbara is not on the list as Expatistan does not rate it as a major metropolitan area. Local gas prices of $4.39/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: https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/index
In late February, Jiayi Xu at realtor.com wrote about national housing trends https://www.realtor.com/research/freddie-mac-mortgage-rates-feb-23-2023/ :
“The Freddie Mac fixed rate for a 30-year loan continued to rise to 6.5%, the highest level of 2023. On an ordinary day, strong retail sales data and a 53-year low unemployment rate would be a cause for celebration among investors and businesses. However, under current conditions, these robust data raise uncertainties in the markets. On one hand, the hotter-than-expected inflation might force the Fed to reopen doors to faster interest rate growth, which is unwelcome news for both investors and businesses. On the other hand, some policymakers did not interpret January’s data as signs of accelerating growth, choosing to wait for more information before deciding. As a result, they are in favor of implementing smaller rate hikes in the coming months, which would be welcomed by markets.”
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 February 2023 the median sales price was $1,476,000, down from $1,615,000 in January and down 14% from 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 a new record-high median sales price was being set each month, but prices have now leveled off and declined. In February 2023 the average South Coast sales price was $2,480,275, down from $2,673,549 in January.
Based on the Santa Barbara Multiple Listing Service data, as of March 1st in the City of Santa Barbara, there were 37 active House/PUD listings (up from 36 in February) and 26 pending sales (up from 18 in February), which equates to a low 1.42-month supply (down from 1.8 in January) 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 March 1st, Carpinteria/Summerland had a 6-month supply (up from 2.4 in February), Montecito had a 4-month supply (down from 9.5 in February), Goleta had a .67-month supply (down from 1.5 in February) and Hope Ranch had a 7-month supply (up from 2.3 in February). These inventory statistics indicate that Santa Barbara remains in a heated Seller’s market. Goleta has crossed over into a feverish Seller’s market. Carpinteria/Summerland are in a balanced market. Hope Ranch is now in a basic Buyer’s market and Montecito has crossed over into a basic Seller’s market. With a combined total of 49 House/PUD pending sales (up from 38 in February) and 86 active listings (equal to February) on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County, there is only a 1.75-month supply (down from 2.3 in February) of House/PUD listings from which Buyers can choose. With a combined total of 20 Condominium pending sales (up from 15 in February) and only 20 active listings (down from 22 in February) on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County, there is a 1-month supply (down from 1.5 in February) of Condominium listings from which Buyers can choose. The South Coast market as a whole still remains entrenched in a variety of Seller and balanced markets, except for Hope Ranch which is now in a Buyer’s Market. As our market is in a transition flux, there is still a lack of inventory for Buyers to choose from. Even with all the negative national press, Santa Barbara real estate values have been more resilient to the downward pressures than other parts of the country: people just want to live on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County.
While the economic ramifications of the concerns about the pandemic have mellowed, the war in Ukraine, high inflation, the cost of gasoline, scarcity of insurance coverage in California or rising premiums, rising mortgage rates, and the possibility of recession are all concerns to many Buyers, and Sellers. Since Proposition 19 has taken full effect, 55+ year-old homeowners can transfer their existing real estate tax base to a home anywhere in California, which should encourage some older Sellers to sell their homes. Mortgage interest rates have risen lately and are nowhere near the historic lows of the last few years. Low inventory and accelerated pandemic migratory trends toward smaller cities all led to a surge in Santa Barbara property values. Market corrections will affect values on the South Coast of Santa Barbara, but not as much as in many other areas. Listings may stay on the market a bit longer than in 2022, but there are still multiple offers on alluring properties; one property I know of had 27 offers on it in February. With continuing low inventory, supply and demand dynamics have and will continue to affect the South Coast of the Santa Barbara Real Estate Market now and for a long time to come.
Feel free to contact me with any specific questions.
Stan Tabler, CRS, GRI, ABR, GREEN
801 Chapala Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
CalBRE Brokers License #00774377 since 1980