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Daniel Encell's
Quarterly Real Estate Update
~ Archives ~

1st Quarter 2015

2014 in Review
2014 was a relatively neutral year for real estate along the South Coast. Overall Sold Volume was nearly identical to 2013, with $2,329,975,020 in sales in 2014, compared to $2,332,661,103 in 2013. Inventory levels declined 5% from 2013 to 2,803 Active Listings. The Number Sold, 1,701, dropped in every community except Hope Ranch, falling 14% compared to 2013. Average Sale Price rose 16% to $1,369,768, and Median Sales Price climbed 10% to $880,000.

Nationwide, median home prices rose about 5%, as interest rates remained extremely attractive to home buyers. In California, median prices are still about 20% below the peak of $484,000, set in early 2007. Distressed sales, made up of short sales and foreclosures, continue to decline as market conditions improve. The stock market remains extremely robust, hitting a high of over 18,000 to end 2014.

4th Quarter 2014
Locally, after a strong first, second, and third quarter, 2014 ended on a downward trend. The fourth quarter of 2014 finished well behind the same period in 2013. The Number Sold fell 8% to 400. After climbing in every quarter of the year, Median Sale Price fell 3% and Average Sale Price dropped 10%. Total Sold Volume declined 17% to $469,272,735.

Montecito
Lack of inventory continues to be a problem for the Montecito market. Active Listings continued to decline, falling 12% to 501. Consistent with the lack of inventory, the Number Sold dropped 12% to 228. Sold Volume was almost unchanged in 2014 at $770,358,381, due to a 13% increase in Average Sale Price to $3,378,764. Median Sale Price also rose a solid 18% to $2,657,500.

Birnam Wood
There are currently only two Active Listings in Birnam Wood. Despite low inventory levels, 2014 was a strong year for sales, with sixteen Closed Sales: 1920 Boundary Drive for $1,950,000; 2000 Sandy Place for $2,060,000; 526 Las Fuentes Drive for $2,700,000; 527 Crocker Sperry Drive for $2,700,000; 490 East Gate Lane for $2,810,000; 564 Crocker Sperry Drive for $2,934,000; 2076 China Flat for $2,975,000; 2118 Birnam Wood Drive for $3,075,000; 1930 Lemon Ranch Road for $3,150,000; 525 Las Fuentes Drive for $3,475,000; 1997 Lemon Ranch Road for $4,000,000; 489 Crocker Sperry Drive for $4,185,000; 529 Las Fuentes Drive for $4,300,000; 2085 Stratford Place for $4,454,000; 2117 Forge Road for $4,750,000; and 514 Las Fuentes for $6,200,000.

Hope Ranch
Hope Ranch was the strongest community along the South Coast in 2014. Inventory levels rose a healthy 8%, helping the Number Sold increase 15% to 38 properties. Average Sale Price climbed 8% to $2,799,157. Median Sale Price jumped an impressive 21% to $2,525,000. Sold Volume soared 25% to $106,368,000.

Predictions for 2015
With interest rates low, and the economy doing well, 2015 should be a good year for real estate, both locally and nationwide. The chief economist for the National Association of Realtors expects median home prices to rise by 4% in 2015. Economists at lending giant Freddie Mac are predicting a 3% increase. Interest rates are expected to rise slowly throughout the year. Low inventory levels, and a strong economy should continue to benefit Sellers of luxury properties. Rising interest rates will hamper activity in the lower price ranges.

Sincerely,

Daniel Encell
Director, Estates Division
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
(805) 565-4896

 

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