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Local Real Estate Sales Remain Steady Amid Economic Instability

Despite negative media reports about the economy, people are continuing to invest in the local real estate market. Sales were up 6 percent in October over last year, with most of the activity in the lower end of the market.

Goleta North has only a five-month supply of homes, which is tighter from last month’s seven-month supply of homes. Overall, the local market shows a nine-month supply of homes available.

In the Santa Barbara Multiple Listing Service, three homes a day are sold. This has trended upward from January, when we were selling about two a day. In the price range from $500,000 to $900,000, there is only a one-month supply of homes in Goleta.

The key market indicators of supply and demand in certain areas are changing and moving toward a tighter buyers market with local distressed properties trending downward for the past two months.

After attending the California Association of Realtors Conference in Long Beach recently where Leslie Appleton Young, a chief economist, spoke of California having lost more than 31 percent of its equity to date. Our lost of just 19 percent doesn’t look too bad. She predicts that we will lag for the first half of 2009, then recover and expand in 2010 and 2011.

The Santa Barbara area is leading the way to recovery with an increased sales volume of the low end, which usually marks a tightening in the market. There are plenty of real estate loans available for qualified buyers, which will allow this trend to continue.

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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