The local real estate statistics for the first quarter of 2009 show a continuation of the downward trends of 2008. Although inventory levels rose only slightly, figures for both number of sales, and prices look bleak compared to the same period in 2008 (which was already down significantly compared to prior years). Along the South Coast, the number of sales is down 24%, the average selling price is down 37% to $1,028,821, and the median price dropped 18% to $715,000. Overall sales volume is down over $225,000,000 compared to the first quarter of 2008, a decline of over 50%!
In my last update I cautioned that the 2008 statistics showing an increase in median and average prices for Montecito were misleading and that the market in Montecito appeared to have declined similarly with the rest of the South Coast. This assessment proved to be accurate, as MLS figures for the first quarter of 2009 show the number of sales has declined 44% while inventory levels have increased 30%. More disturbing is the rapid drop in median and average prices, which plummeted 36% and 41% to $2,300,000 and $2,694,333 respectively. While median and average price statistics only represent trends, clearly Montecito is not immune to the market conditions that have negatively affected other segments of the market.
Some Positive News
Although the Santa Barbara market has not yet hit bottom, there are many positive signs on the horizon. Nationwide, pending home sales increased for the second straight month everywhere except the Western region. Consumer confidence, consumer spending and personal income all rose last month, too. Most significantly, mortgage interest rates have dropped to record lows (an analysis of the benefits of low interest rate is available in my article The Road to Recovery at www.DanEncell.com). Low mortgage rates and reduced prices have improved affordability for homebuyers, to the best level in decades. Hopefully, these positive trends will continue and lead to stability in the local real estate market.
Despite difficult conditions, I have been able to achieve results by substantially increasing my marketing and advertising budget during a time when others are cutting back drastically. In 2008 I had 26 closed transactions, totaling over $103 million in sales. If you are interested in selling your property, please call me at (805) 565-4896. All calls will be confidential.
If you are interested in finding out what has sold in the past year and for how much, we now have the following sales lists available to view: Montecito, Beachfront and Hope Ranch sales. Please click
here to request these lists.