Before we continue with the neighborhood “Now and Then” posts, I though it would be nice to add periodic posts on our local market, especially when the news is this positive!
The Santa Barbara real estate market is gaining a lot of momentum. Optimism over this upswing in the market is warranted, as January and February made up the best winter for completed sales in last five years, (Christopher Rugaber). Compared to the first quarter of last year, we are seeing that both home sales and escrows in the South Santa Barbara County (Carpinteria to Goleta) as having an increase of 41.6 percent. According to the CAR (California Association of Realtors) much of this increase stems from the high-end market, which is something we haven’t seen in a long time and is a good indication of things to come.
Prices have been stable over the last 2 years, and with inventory shrinking we should see them gradually increasing. General consensus among industry professionals and local agents is that Santa Barbara has seen the bottom and although it will be a slow rebuild, it is happening and it is starting now. With interest rates at a 40 -year low and prices still affordable, this is really a time for those who are thinking of buying to make the decision. Inventory is dropping and the demand is much greater creating a competitive market, especially since there has also been a marked increase in investor purchasing.
While Santa Barbara real estate is surely on the upswing, the rebuild will be slow and there will be caution as to avoid the bubble that we saw beginning in 2005. Nevertheless, this news should be comforting and exciting, and all factors are showing a much stronger 2012 than 2011. A fellow realtor at Prudential feels that “2012 is a nice change in pace and confidence from that past several years,” and that “we are starting to see a major influx in multiple offers on sub-million dollar markets which is a great sign of an improving real estate market. The real estate winds are changing and it is a real breath of fresh air! The main challenge now is winning the bidding war!”