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Elaine Abercrombie: Santa Barbara Reports Recent Uptick in Homes Sold

Statistics show 30-day sales volume doubling on South Coast.

It’s back to 2002’s median price for a home today.

Elaine Abercrombie
Elaine Abercrombie

Compared to the rest of California and across the nation, the Santa Barbara area’s real-estate prices have fared well. Leslie Appleton Young, chief economist for the California Association of Realtors, reports a 31 percent loss of property value in California in the past year while the Santa Barbara area has softened only 16 percent. Primarily, this is due to our limited supply of homes and our high demand by buyers, even in a tough economic times. The Santa Barbara area did not see many sub-prime loans made, leaving us in a stronger position today.

Looking back to 2007, when our high end was more active than it is today, the median sold price was $845,000 and our average sold price was $1,349,362. Compared to 2008 with most of our activity in the lower end of the market, it just makes sense that our median sold price would decline to $750,000. Now, we are seeing our average sold price rise to $1,443,252 with properties staying on the market an average of 15 days longer than last year.

So, where is our bad news? We are in an area that is located outside the 20 percent of ZIP codes that are in trouble in California. Fringe properties like Modesto, Riverside and Stockton are the forerunners of the troubled areas. In the North County, Santa Maria is reporting increased sales activity by 50 percent in the past four months. In the Santa Barbara area, meanwhile, in the past 30 days sales volume has doubled to four homes a day. This is up from two a day earlier in 2008. What’s so bad about that?

Since the media’s motto is “If it bleeds it leads,” we are not likely to hear the good news about the real-estate recovery for a long time. It will have to be on a room-sized screen before they even acknowledge it, and then it will be too late for buyers to take advantage of the great values we have to offer today.

The bottom line is that the Santa Barbara area is doing fine, average sales prices are up, while the median is down. The low end is active, representing our working people who need to live where they work. And the good news is that they are beginning to find homes that fit their needs and their pocketbooks.

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

 

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