In addition to being one of the driest months for rain, Santa Barbara is experiencing a drought of lower-priced, single-family listings.
In this community estimated at 200,000 people, there are only 256 active single-family homes for sale as of Monday. Only 38 of those are under $1 million, or less than 15 percent. That means 85 percent of all available single-family homes in the Santa Barbara metropolitan area are listed for $1 million or more.
This lack of low-end inventory changes the shape of our real estate statistics, providing a very dramatic picture of how increases in median prices are not necessarily correlated to increases in individual home values.
With so few lower-priced homes available for sale, the median sale price for single-family homes in the Santa Barbara metropolitan area has gone from $944,000 in October to $1.25 million in January, an increase of 31 percent.
Individual home prices have not risen by that much since October, but without lower-end sales, the median (half above and half below) is skewed by sales of higher-priced homes that are still in decent supply.
This phenomena also appears in the median list price of currently for sale single-family homes. This median price was approximately $2.5 million at the end of October but nearly $1 million more at the end of January. Again, the median means that half the homes for sale are under $3.5 million and half the homes are listed for more than $3.5 million.
The South Coast desperately needs lower-priced homes for sale just like it needs rain.
— Ed Fuller is a real estate broker with San Roque Realty Inc. and president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805.687.1551. The opinions expressed are his own.