Sunday, August 29, 2010

What's Driving Current Santa Barbara Real Estate Trends?

When the Association of Realtors held its economic forecast for 2010 in southern Santa Barbara county, Santa Barbara real estate trends post-recession were a hot topic. It’s a fact that property values have declined since pre-recession days, but Santa Barbara property sales are 25 percent better than the bottom of the market in January 2009. While our region reflects the same general real estate trends as the rest of the country, the Santa Barbara real estate market is coming out strong.

Billionaire Warren Buffett appeared on CNBC in March and had these comments about the national economy: "the worst is behind us"; "things are getting better but at a very slow rate,” and; " the jobs will come back but it won't be fast". The rest of the country is starting to feel the effects of the recovery. It’s not the same economy as before we started, but we are coming out of one of the biggest recessions in the history of the United States.

What effect does this have on local Santa Barbara real estate trends?

It’s a buyer’s market in Santa Barbara. The strong appeal of Montecito and Santa Barbara neighborhoods, from good school districts to exclusive private living in paradise, is translating to more real estate and investment property sales in Santa Barbara. We are hovering well above the rock bottom of last year - and climbing. Current MLS statistics show that we are averaging between 20 and 30 pending sales a week.

A closer look shows that a majority of the sales are in the conforming sales market. What does that mean? Conforming loan sales are purchases with loan amounts under $729,000. This translates into a majority of our transactions coming in under $900,000.

What is driving all the activity in this market? In pre-recession days, the medium house price on the South Coast was over $900,000. Today that number is $760,000. Home loan interest rates are at historic lows, and attractive government tax credits (soon to expire!) are strong incentive for first time home buyers (who make up 47% of buyers) and young families to take a foothold in the Santa Barbara real estate market.

Santa Barbara, Hope Ranch, and Montecito estates and high end home sales over $1,000,000 have also increased over the past six months. Just like the Beatles song says, they're “getting better all the time." This premier property market offers the most opportunity for buyers today - whether you’re looking for a new luxury Santa Barbara home or investment property. Inventories are high and sellers are competing for a limited number of buyers, making this by far a buyer’s best opportunity to buy Santa Barbara real estate that was priced 25-35% higher in value just two yeas ago.

This newly recovering market is your chance to buy Santa Barbara property that is both a great value and a once-in-a-generation investment opportunity.

It is vital to have a qualified team of professionals at your service to purchase and sell your home - and especially to navigate a major estate property transaction. In 24 years of listing and selling properties on the South Coast, John Sener has built a superb team of marketing specialists, contractors, service people and consultants to help you in every aspect of your real estate needs. Santa Barbara Realtor John Sener and his remarkable team will help you plan your pathway to Santa Barbara real estate or property investment. Contact John at (805) 331-7402 or visit

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