The Year in Review
Thanks to the strength of the high-end segments of the market, the
statistics for 2007 indicate a relatively solid market, especially
compared to our neighbors to the south. Overall, along coastal Santa
Barbara County, median prices climbed 5% to $1,049,000 and average
prices rose 9% to $1,806,726. Contrast this to the latest figures
for a six-county region of Southern California where median home prices
for December plunged more than 13% compared to a year ago.
Montecito, Hope Ranch and beach properties have continued to be the
pillars of strength for values along the South Coast. Hope Ranch had
an increase in number of sales (36) and saw average sales prices rise
to $4,328,202. Montecito also experienced a rise in number of sales
(243) and enjoyed its 5th straight year where both average price and
median price rose ($3,835,891 and $2,650,000 respectively).
Unfortunately, other areas did not perform as well. Santa Barbara
saw a slight decline in both the number of sales (837) and median
price ($1,015,000). Goleta had its 3rd straight year of declining
sales (347) and 2nd straight year of both falling average price ($1,037,621)
and median price ($825,000).
Perhaps the most troubling indicator is the decline in the number
of sales. Although the total number of sales (1662) is down only 3%
compared to 2006, we have experienced nine straight months of decreased
sales since March 2007. Only Carpinteria, Hope Ranch and Montecito
experienced an overall gain in sales during the year.
Fortunately, mortgage rates continue to be very low and attractive
loans are still available to borrowers with good credit who have the
ability to actually pay the loans off.
Predictions for 2008
Regardless of area, the lowest-priced segments of our market have
not yet hit bottom. Estate properties should enjoy another solid
year as inventory levels remain low. Overall demand will be influenced
by: interest rates, the strength of the economy, and the performance
of the stock market.