By MARIA ZATE
NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER
Economy, election outcome affect sales
Confidence in the economy combined with strong demand from wealthy Buyers helped
push the median home price on the South Coast to a new high last month.
November's South Coast median for existing single-family homes hit $1,175,000, largely
because of the increase in sales of properties priced at more than $2 million.
The recent median reflects a jump of nearly 47 percent compared with November a year
ago, and it is the highest one-year appreciation for all areas in California tracked by the
California Association of Realtors.
Median price is the point where half the homes on the market sell for more and half sell
for less. The median reflects the mix of all homes sold, not appreciation rates on
A total of 86 homes on the South Coast sold in November, compared with 66 the same
time a year ago, an increase of about 30 percent.
An improving economy, low interest rates and end of the presidential election all played a
role, several local agents said.
Dan Encell of Prudential California Realty said the election likely led more people to
delay the closing of sales this year.
"Some people may have been fearful of higher tax rates depending on how the election
turned out," Mr. Encell said. "So many of them wanted to time their closings until after the
The number of sales of multimillion-dollar homes has increased dramatically compared
with a year ago, he said. So far this year, he has closed 23 sales of homes priced above $2
The rise in multimillion-dollar deals gave the November median a big boost. Last month,
23 homes total on the South Coast sold for more than $2 million. That compares with only
six sold in that price range last year.
Although the majority of the wealthy Buyers that Mr. Encell has worked with already live
in the area, about one in three is from out of town.
Bob Stevens, vice president of RE/MAX in Montecito, said he has seen similar trends in
Buyers of high-end homes.
Mr. Stevens recently opened an escrow for a Buyer from the East Coast who was going to
purchase a $3 million home with cash.