The real estate market in the Santa Barbara area is still strong compared with other recovering areas.

The Santa Maria area to the north has narrowed the gap on volume with sales up 30 percent to 40 percent. There, the tipping point of distressed properties has affected home prices by about the same amount, while Santa Barbara area sales are steady at three or four a day for the past month. Overall inventory for the area is at a seven-month supply of homes.

Distressed properties have not affected prices. The demand of the added inventory has been absorbed by buyers. Homes are selling at 92 percent to 96 percent of list price.
Village Properties has only eight homes listed for less than $500,000 and 132 for less than $900,000. There are 51 condos for less than $500,000, down 20 from last month’s available inventory.

Elaine Abercrombie, a broker with Village Properties Realtors, is vice president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. She can be contacted at