April 1st, 2019
While comparing the 1st quarter 2019 statistics to that of the previous year, South Santa Barbara County (Goleta through Carpinteria) experienced more selection, more sales, and stabilizing prices. Inventory rose 13% to 1,161 active listings. The number of sales rose 7% to 349 and the number of escrows inched up 1% to 415. The median sales price remained unchanged, hovering at $1,045,000 and the average price grew 20% to $1,704,404. Listings had a longer shelf life this last quarter, with the cumulative days on market averaging 65 days, compared to 56 days the previous year, and on average, sold at 92% of their asking price, down 3% from last year. Sold volume experienced a substantial gain of 29% to $626,246,922. Keep in mind, the primary reason the average price and sold volume rose was due to the $70 million sale of Las Varas Ranch (more on that later).
The ultra-high-end market during 1st quarter outperformed last year, with 7 sales above $10 million, compared to 2 sales the previous year. The 7 sales were comprised of large Hope Ranch & Montecito estates, a beachfront estate, a large Goleta ranch, and a Hollister Ranch architectural. Among them, the highest sale was the 1,800-acre Las Varas Ranch, located at 1045 Calle Real Road in Goleta, which sold for $70 million to Charlie Munger, vice chairman of our company, Berkshire Hathaway, its our understanding that a considerable portion was donated to UCSB. There are also two other large ranches currently in escrow due to close in the 2nd quarter.
Q1 2019 in Montecito saw 30 sales and 6 off market sales, compared to 40 sales in Q1 2018 (3 off market). Average sales price was $4,092,241, with a median sales price of $2,440,000.
3 estates on the market over $6 million sold in Montecito Q1 2019, and there was 1 luxury off market sale. There were only 2 sales over $10 million in Q1 in Montecito.
Hope Ranch saw 9 sales in Q1 2019, with an average sales price of $6,424,667 and a median of $4,350,000, compared to 16 sales in Q1 2018.
4455-4445 Via Bendita sold off market in early January, after having been listed and cancelled numerous times since 2013. The property was offered at $17,000,000, and represented by Berkshire Hathaway.
3 Hope Ranch estates sold for over $6 million in Q1 2019, with 2 more currently under contract. There were 2 sales over $10 million in Q1 in Hope Ranch.
Nationally, a dip rather than increase in interest rates (1/2% drop since last year) and the realization there is more housing selection is helping buyers feel comfortable moving forward with their home searches. With a volatile stock market, the growing appeal of owning real property versus equities will help US real estate markets in 2019. However, the main issue will be accurate pricing. Buyers on the side lines are patiently waiting for asking prices to align more closely with their expectations of market value. Only those properties that are accurately priced are seeing positive results and that will continue throughout the year. It will be interesting to see what effect the recently enacted tax laws have on the California real estate market, when we review the 1/2 year statistics, so stay tuned for my next quarterly real estate update in July.