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Santa Barbara Real Estate Sales Market Trends

March 19th, 2015 · Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Market Conditions, Neighborhood News, Santa Barbara Real Estate

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KEYT Santa Barbara’s Number 1 News Resource

March 15th, 2015 · KEYT Television, Neighborhood News

2MarkLomasKEYTanchor2015Thank you to everyone at KEYT televison the other day for your hospitality and graciousness! I had a blast! A special thanks to CJ Ward who took this picture, his wife and co-anchor Beth Farnsworth, and Santa Barbara’s Citizen of the Year John Palminteri! Nope, just a fun shot, but perchance someday they’re looking for on air talent?

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Santa Barbara’s Cars and Coffee in Montecito

March 15th, 2015 · Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Montecito Real Estate, Montecito Realtors, Santa Barbara Real Estate, SB Cars and Coffee

Big crowd in Montecito’s Upper Village this morning, and most of the cars here were amazing!

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Santa Barbara’s Cars and Coffee Website

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Santa Barbara “Live” Real Estate Statistics

March 9th, 2015 · Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends, SB Real Estate Statistics

real-time real estate market research
Something new for Santa Barbara Real Estate! Live Statistics! Sales asking prices for the last 7 days, and the last 90 days. If you’d like to take the “Pulse” of today’s market here’s where you’ll find it.

Iif you’re not familar with Santa Barbara’s Zip Codes, here they are:
Carpinteria: 93013, Summerland: 93067, Montecito: 93108, SB Westside: 93101, SB Westside: 93109 , SB Eastside: 93103 (Riviera), SB Eastside: 93105, Hope Ranch: 93110, Goleta:93111. Goleta/county: 93117, and Santa Ynez: 93460

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The Millennials Are Moving!

March 8th, 2015 · Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Montecito Realtors, Real Estate News, Santa Barbara Real Estate

Kenneth Harney recently reported in the LA Times that the millennials that appeared to holding out on purchasing real estate may have changed their minds. The impact on real estate could be significant!

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Call them the prodigal millennials: Statistical measures and anecdotal reports suggest that young couples and singles in their late 20s and early 30s have begun making a belated entry into the home-buying market, pushed by mortgage rates in the mid-3% range, government efforts to ease credit requirements and deep frustrations at having to pay rising rents without creating equity.

Listen to Kathleen Hart, who just bought a condo unit with her husband, Devin Wall, that looks out on the Columbia River in Wenatchee, Wash.: “We were just tired of renting, tired of sharing with roommates and not having a place of our own. Finally the numbers added up.”

Erin Beasley and her fiance closed on a condo in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, D.C., in January. “With the way rents kept on going,” she said, “we realized it was time” after five years as tenants. “With renting, at some point you get really tired of it — you want to own, be able to make changes” that suit you, not some landlord.

Hart and Beasley are part of the leading edge of the massive millennial demographic bulge that has been missing in action on home buying since the end of the Great Recession. Instead of representing the 38% to 40% of purchases that real estate industry economists say would have been expected for first-timers, they’ve lagged behind in market share, sometimes by as much as 10 percentage points. But new signs are emerging that hint that maybe the conditions finally are right for them to shop and buy:

•Redfin, a national real estate brokerage, said that first-time buyers accounted for 57% of home tours conducted by its agents mid-month — the highest rate in recent years. Home-purchase education class requests, typically dominated by first-timers, jumped 27% in January over a year earlier. “I think it is significant,” Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson said. “They are sticking a toe in the water.”

•The Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey, which monthly polls 2,000 realty agents nationwide, reported that first-time buyer activity has started to increase much earlier than is typical seasonally. First-timers accounted for 36.3% of home purchases in December, according to the survey.

•Anecdotal reports from realty brokers around the country also point to exceptional activity in the last few weeks. Gary Kassan, an agent with Pinnacle Estate Properties in the Los Angeles area, says nearly half of his current clients are first-time buyers. Martha Floyd, an agent with McEnearney Associates Inc. Realtors in McLean, Va., said she is working with “an unusually high” number of young, first-time buyers. “I think there are green shoots here,” she said, especially in contrast with a year ago.

Assuming these early impressions could point to a trend, what’s driving the action? The decline in interest rates, high rents and sheer pent-up demand play major roles.

But there are other factors that could be at work. In the last few weeks, key sources of financing for entry-level buyers — the Federal Housing Administration and giant investors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — have announced consumer-friendly improvements to their rules. The FHA cut its punitively high upfront mortgage insurance premiums and Fannie and Freddie reduced minimum down payments to 3% from 5%.

Price increases on homes also have moderated in many areas, improving affordability. Plus many younger buyers have discovered the wide spectrum of special financing assistance programs open to them through state and local housing agencies.

Hart and her husband made use of one of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission’s buyer assistance programs, which provides second-mortgage loans with zero interest rates to help with down payments and closing costs. Dozens of state agencies across the country offer help for first-timers, often with generous qualifying income limits.

Bottom line: Nobody knows yet whether or how long the uptick in first-time buyer activity will last, but there’s no question that market conditions are encouraging. It just might be the right time.

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Santa Barbara Real Estate Statistics

March 6th, 2015 · Hope Ranch Real Estate, Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Montecito Real Estate, Santa Barbara Real Estate, SB Real Estate Statistics

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Santa Barbara Real Estate Statistics by Gary Woods 

This is an analysis of the Santa Barbara real estate market through the month of February 2015.  For the Homes and Condo market the numbers of sales fell from the previous month to 56 in February from 69 in January and 80 in December. The Median Sales price rose however going to $1,035,000 in February from $1,000,000 in January and $962,500 in December.  The opened escrows rose in February to 122 from 71 in January and the 70 we saw in December while the median list price on those escrows stayed steady from $1,050,000 in January to about $1,050,000 in February. There were 138 new listings that came on the market in February with a median list price of approximately $1.6 million and an average list price of just about $4.1 million which left the overall inventory rising from 247 units for sale at the start of February to roughly 260 at the start of March.

Year over year home sales are down about 3.1% from the start of 2014 and the median sales price is down to $1,000,000 from $1,087,500 at the start of last year. The average sales price is up however going from $1.536 million in 2014 to approximately $2.21 million in 2015 while the numbers of escrows are up with about 134 thru February ’14 to 192 thru Feb‘15 but, the median list price on those escrows is basically unchanged at roughly $1,050,000.

Looking at the Carpinteria/Summerland sales are up from 6 to 13 but the median sales price is down from $1,620,365 to $915,000. The numbers of escrows are also up from 10 to 19 with the median list price on those escrows falling from $1,167,500 last year to $859,000 this year.

For Montecito, sales are down going from 28 to 23 with the median sales price rising from $2.112 million to $4.09 million. Escrows are up however going from 18 to 30 but the median list price on those escrows is up from $2.772 million to $2.95 million.

East of State St sales are down going from 44 in ’14 to 29 in ‘15 and the median sales price is down from $1,173,000 to $1,084,450. The escrows went up however from 38 to 47 with the median list price on those escrows falling from $1,295,000 last year to $1.294 million this year.

West of State St sales are up from 33 to 34 and the median sales price is down from $942,200 to $850,000. The numbers of escrows are up however with 30 in ’14 compared to 38 in ‘15 and the median list price on those escrows is up from $897,000 last year to $929,500 this year.

Hope Ranch sales are up from 3 to 8 but the median sales price is down from $4.537 million to $2.95 million. The numbers of escrows are also up with 7 last year compared to 11 this year but the median list price on those escrows is down from $4.995 million in ’14 to $3.159 million in ‘15.

Goleta South sales are up with 7 last year and 10 this year but the median sales price is up from $705,000 to $712,500. The numbers of escrows are up however from 7 to 17 with the median list price on those escrows rising from $700,000 to $794,000.

Goleta North sales are up with 16 in ’14 to 19 in ’15 with the median sales price rising from $826,650 to $827,500. The numbers of escrows are also up from 26 to 29 with the median list price on those escrows going from $764,750 to $884,000.

For the Condo segment of the market sales came in around 27 in February from 24 in January and 47 in December. The median sales price fell from $565,000 in January to roughly $542,500 in February while the numbers of escrows rose from 34 in January to 38 in February with the median list price on those escrows falling from $612,000 in January to about $545,000 in February.

There were approximately 50 new condo listings that came on the market for the month with a median list price of about $560,000 rising from $549,500 the previous month and an average list price of approximately $705,000 going down from $732,707 in January. The overall inventory fell slightly in January from 94 units for sale at the start of February to 83 at the start of March.

Through the end of February sales of single family homes is down about 3.1% from ’14 while the median sales price for those homes is down to $1,000,000 from $1,087,500 last year. For condos, sales are up just slightly with the median sales price up about 3% to roughly $560,000. Of the single-family homes that sold for the month roughly 11.1% of those sales were over the asking price and for condos that number was also about 11.1%.  The average over asking price for homes that sold was about 1.01% and for condos that number was also about 1.01%. On the other side of the coin 17.5% of the single family homes had price reductions and 30% of the condos went down in price.

At the beginning of 2015 sales of single-family homes is down about .1% while condos are basically where they were at the start of 2014.  The big stories for the year are the high end with 17 sales over $5 million and escrows are up substantially for both homes and condos. Currently the inventory is up for homes but flat for condos so if the listings continue up for homes then 2015 will be a robust year.  But, if the pattern continues for condos then their sales will flatten out.

This information was created by Santa Barbara master statistician Gary Woods of Sotheby’s International Realty

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Are Zillow’s Zestimates a Deal Killer?

February 26th, 2015 · Real Estate News, Santa Barbara Real Estate, The Real Estate Scene

Zillow’s Zestimates a source of conflict reports Kenneth R. Harney in the LA Times on February 8, 2015.

When CBS’s Norah O’Donnell asked Zillow’s CEO Spencer Rascoff about the accuracy of his company’s automated “Zestimates” - she touched on one of the most sensitive perception gaps in American real estate.  Zillow is a popular online real estate website that recently merged with one of its competitors Trulia.

Buyers and Sellers routinely quote “Zestimates” to real estate agents. If a house for sale has a Zestimate of $350,000, a buyer might challenge the sellers asking price of $425,000. Or, a seller might demand to know from potential listing brokers why they say a property should sell for just $595,000 when Zillow has it at $685,000.

Disparities like this are what Westlake realtor Tim Freund called, “the bane of my existence! If either the buyer or seller won’t budge off Zillow’s estimated value that will kill a deal.”

The issue is how accurate is Zillow? Not very.  The average Zestimates have an error rate of 8% nationally says Spencer Rascoff Zillow’s CEO.  What Rascoff did not share is that the localized error rate sometimes far exceeds 8%.

That’s a problem!

The localized error rate in Manhattan is 19.9%, San Francisco 11.6% (it’s actually much higher since approximately 25% of San Francisco’s listings do not ever go on the MLS which is where Zillow gets it’s data),  and the error rate is an astounding 26% for some rural counties in California?

Zestimates are hardly gospel – and often far from it! The video below is from a real estate broker in San Diego that explains why professional real estate agents are not pleased with Zillow.

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How Not To Market Your Property

February 24th, 2015 · Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Real Estate Humor

Here are some examples of how NOT to market your property. Amazingly many of these tired worn out pitches are still used by some real estate professionals. Why?!  Here’s a humorous take on real estate marketing phraseology.  Hope you enjoy!

Will Not Last!      Not to burst your bubble, but those 347 days on the market are telling a different story

Seller Says Sell!  No way, I thought you had snuck this listing on the MLS without their knowledge!

Big Deck in Rear!  This is just one letter away from a whole heap of embarrassment, use only with extreme caution!

Needs TLC!  What’s the difference between Tender Loving Care and Tile, Lumber, and Concrete? Tons of Loose Cash! TLC!

Pottery Barn Decor!   The Pottery Barn is a store, not a style. And the sellers will be taking their decor with them!

Cozy  Which means small. C’mon let’s just call it what it is: an itty bitty nook.  You know a twin size bed won’t fit in there.

Priced to Sell! Well geez, I’d certainly hope so cause if it weren’t –  there wouldn’t be any point in selling it!

Mr. Clean lives here!  Does he come with the property?

Hot Water Heater!  Sorry, but technically it’s a water heater. Saying hot water heater is redundant.  If the water was hot you wouldn’t need a heater.

Updated!  This is cool to use if say the home was updated in the last couple of years.  But if the home was updated in the eighties I’m sorry it’s outdated again.

Better Than New Construction! Textbook example of hyperbole “C’mon down, these houses are better than new!”

Walking Closets! Ahh, that’s why we keep shoes in there!

Don’t Let This One Pass You By!  Why, is it on wheels?

Show and Sell!  So I’m showing just for kicks, and not try to sell a buyer a house? You have a wonderful grasp of the obvious…not!

Open House This Weekend!   Which weekend?

Room for a Pool!  There’s nothing like advertising something that it doesn’t have (but could). Why not room for a goat farm or ferris wheel? Doesn’t have it now, but it could?!

Rancher!  Ranchers have cows.  It’s a Ranch Style home.

Too much to list!  Not it’s not. C’mon give it to me.  I’d rather spend a few more seconds  reading your listing description than visiting your listing and have it underwhelm my client.

Honey Stop the Car!  Last time I saw that line, the house was being AUCTIONED!  Keep driving!

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Steve Martin’s Spectacular Concrete Home

February 15th, 2015 · Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe, Santa Barbara Real Estate

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He’s a wild and crazy home collector, but Steve Martin has lately been letting some real estate go.

The comedian and writer listed a villa in the French West Indies in 2013, and now he’s listed a home in Santa Barbara where he’s lived for at least two decades.

He’s asking almost $11 million for the modern-style home in eastern Santa Barbara, near Montecito. The house sits on 5.86 acres and was designed by Roland E. Coate, Jr.

The 7,377-square-foot home is built largely of concrete — including the walls and outdoor cylindrical sculptures — with views over the hills and to the ocean. It has 4 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, plus a detached 2-bedroom, 1-bath guest house and a 3-car garage.

The listing is held by Sotheby’s International Realty. For more information text, call, or email us today! Mark Lomas and Kirsten Wolfe

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Montecito Real Estate

February 14th, 2015 · Montecito Real Estate, Montecito Realtors

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Comedian and political commentator Dennis Miller has listed his oceanfront home (seen above) in Santa Barbara for $22,500,000 almost twice what he paid in 2003, and already has an accepted offer (Pending).  Sothebys International Realty recently listed Rancho San Carlos, a 237 acre ranch with 29,483 square foot Monterey Colonial manor (designed by Reginald Johnson) for $125,000,000 and it has an accepted offer (Pending). And lastly, a George Washington Smith estate that boost a 12,000+ square foot home with pool and tennis court was listed for $29,000,000.

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