First Quarter, 2006
Overall, 2005 proved to be another good year for local real estate, although the first half of the year was considerably stronger than the last half. Median prices rose 14% to $1,005,000; average prices rose 22% to $1,608,899; and the number of sales over $1 million jumped 24% to 1175.
As interest rates steadily increased throughout the year, activity slowed, especially for properties under $1 million. Overall, the number of sales along the South Coast declined about 8% compared to 2004 (2296 sales in 2005 vs. 2508 sales in 2004). Inventory levels rose throughout the year in all areas except Hope Ranch and Montecito, where they remained relatively unchanged.
After a pretty quiet ending to 2005, 2006 is starting strong, especially for estate properties. Although, on average, properties are taking longer to sell, there is still very strong Buyer demand for nice homes that are appropriately priced.
Activity in Montecito was consistent with the overall Santa Barbara area. The number of sales declined slightly and median and average prices climbed to new highs. 2005 ended with the average priced property in Montecito nearing $3 million ($2,981,493).