Most economic statistics are adjusted for seasonal variances. However, statistics at local levels are generally not refigured to account for annually repeated phenomena.

Ed Fuller

Ed Fuller

At the national level, every year as the school year begins, home sales invariably decline in September from August. In the past 15 years, the average decline has been 16.4 percent per the National Association of Realtors economist Lawrence Yun, Ph.D.

Seemingly on que, pending single-family homes (homes reported under contract) in the Santa Barbara metro area for September dropped from 104 in August to 87 in September, or 16.3 percent. If those figures were adjusted for seasonal variation, we would be looking at an unchanged number between August and September.

Sold single-family homes rebounded from August’s 88 to a more normal 101. This appears to be a return of lower price range buyers as the median price dropped from $1,472,500 in August to $1.2 million in September.

The median price for pending single-family homes in September increased to $1,195,000 from August’s $1,105,000.

While inventory has increased to 355 single family homes for sale, it would only take 3½ months to deplete it at current rates with no new homes coming on market. The median list price dropping to $1,995,000 from $2,250,000 is an indication of the increasing offerings in the lower price ranges.

More choices are good for buyers! The number of single-family homes for sale in the Santa Barbara metro area at the end of September under $700,000 were 23. At the other end of the range, there were 71 homes listed for over $5 million, with the highest listing for $125 million in Montecito.

Ed Fuller is a real estate broker with San Roque Realty Inc. and president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact him at or 805.687.1551. The opinions expressed are his own.