Activity along the South Coast for the 3rd quarter was mixed: we saw an increase in the number of sales, but a decrease in both average and median prices. Buyers are recognizing value and opportunity, and are taking advantage of good selections, low prices, and attractive interest rates. We are seeing inventory levels decline, as New Listings dropped 8% to 638, and the Total Active Listings was reduced by 7% to 1,594.
Despite the increase in sales, prices are still declining: Average Sales Price fell 19% to $958,781, and Median Sales Price slid 13% to $646,500. A sputtering economy, restrictive lending practices, and the negative impact of distressed properties are all contributing to the problem.
On a very positive note, the Number of Sales (425) increased 19% compared to the same time last year. We are also looking strong going into the 4th quarter, as the number of Pending Sales (436) increased 27%! Absorption of inventory will eventually lead to stabilization of prices. Interest rates continue to be extremely attractive for both mid and long-term fixed loans.
Montecito underperformed compared to the rest of the South Coast. Total Active Listings decreased by 4% to 354, while the number of New Listings (114) rose 2%. Prices continue to suffer, as Average Sales Price dropped 23% to $2,373,938, and Median Sales Price plunged nearly 26% to $1,636,00. The Number of Sales climbed 5% to 57, and Pending Sales are up 12% to 55. The most significant detriment to the Montecito market is the difficulty for qualified Buyers to obtain attractive jumbo financing. As more competitive financing options become available, look for an increase in Montecito sales activity.
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