495 Toro Canyon Road in Montecito, California

Open House Sunday July 9, 2017 from 1-4 pm

This enchanting gated estate, on 2+/- acres in magical Toro Canyon, is where chic luxury meets coastal casual. Its main residence is a refined yet uber-comfortable (nearly 4,000 sq. ft.) California farmhouse. This amazing property shares the grounds with a pair of guest cottages that are all set amidst native and tastefully introduced landscaping. Sandstone paths meander through luxuriant foliage, with a canopy of palm, oak and eucalyptus trees beside a seasonal creek, opening here and there to delightful ocean and island vistas. This showcase home is equally suited to enjoying family, and entertaining guests.  Captured here is the essence of California coastal living.

Offered for: $4,395,000 • 4 Bedrooms  4 Full Baths • Built in 2012 • 2 +/- acres (approx.) • 3,836 sq’ (approx.) * For Private Tour contact us at 805.845.2888

Montecito Real Estate at a Glance

Last year 203 single family homes, condos, and vacant lots sold in Montecito. This analysis was derived from the Santa Barbara Association of Realtor’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) using Montecito’s Zip Code of 93108 for the search parameter. In 2016 selling prices ranged from $525,000 (for an adobe studio on Coyote Road) to $28,850,000 (for the Seamair Farm which Oprah purchased)

In 2016 167 homes sold in 93108 from 170 sales in 2015.  Under $2,000,000 there were 48 home sales. Between $2,000,000 and $4,000,000 68 homes sold in that price range.  From  $4,000,000 to $6,000,000 32 homes sold.  From $6,000,000 to $8,000,000 15 homes sold. And, for more than $8,000,000 there were 6 home sales.

Ellen and Portia list their Montecito Home for Sale

Ellen and Portia have listed their newly remodeled home on Hidden Valley Lane with Sotheby’s International Realty for $45,000,000. Click on the link for more details and photos: Ellen and Portia’s Hidden Valley Lane home

New California State Property Regulations 2017

On January 1, 2017 a new California Civil Code: Senate Bill No. 407 Chapter 587 requires that all homes built on or before January 1, 1994 must be equipped with water conserving plumbing fixtures including low flush toilets (1.6 gallons per flush) , showers (not more than 2.5 GPMs), and interior faucets (not more than 2.2 GPMs).

The Bill requires that a seller or transferor of a home, multi-residential, or commercial property disclose to a purchaser or transferee in writing the specific requirements to replace these fixtures. The Bill also requires to make specific disclosures in this regard. This most likely will factor into negotiations where the seller could remedy the issues, or the buyer  accepts those conditions and takes on the responsibility to make the upgrades. Understandably this should be documented to protect all parties involved.

Locally, the City Council of Santa Barbara on December 6, 2016 passed a regulation banning lawn watering with limited exceptions as we go into our sixth year of a drought. This regulation takes effect on January 1, 2017. Photo Santa Barbara Courthouse by Technopanorama

Jeff Bridges Reduces Asking Price of Montecito Home

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Oscar winner Jeff Bridges recently cut $5 million more off the asking price of his estate in Montecito. It’s now available for $18.5 million. It was originally listed for $29.5 million.

The Tuscan-style property is drop-dead gorgeous with mountain and ocean views. The main house is 9,500 square feet with lavish hallways, soaring and exposed wood-beam ceilings, and a private tower/study that opens to a rooftop terrace. There’s a master suite, three en suite bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen, and a four-car garage.

The estate also includes a one-bedroom guest cottage, a two-bedroom caretaker’s cottage, and a swimming pool. The19.5-acre property also boasts a sculpted fountain, walking path, fruit orchard, and Italian cypress trees. A stately, iron gate rests between two pillars at the property’s entrance. (Image from Realtor.com)

California Real Estate still a Hot Commodity!

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Miramar Beach in Montecito by local artist Chris Potter

Demand for U.S. real estate remains strong this holiday season and appears poised to carry over into 2017, with California and Bay Area cities again ruling the list of the nation’s most sought-after housing markets.

That’s according to Realtor.com’s latest monthly analysis of the nation’s 20 hottest housing markets based on the number of listing views on its website and the fewest average days on market. Nationwide, the median list price held steady at $250,000 for the fourth consecutive month and marks a new high for November. Prices are up 9 percent from one year ago while inventory is down by 11 percent. Realtor.com projects that the average U.S. home will spend 82 days on the market in November.

As in the previous two months, the San Francisco metro area ranks as the hottest American housing market in November, with homes selling in an average of 40 days. The median list price in the region is $825,000, nearly unchanged from October and up 6.6 percent from Realtor.com’s November 2015 hot-markets report.

Golden State cities again account for 11 of 20 markets on the list, rounded out by San Diego (No. 6), Stockton (No. 7), Sacramento (No. 11), Santa Rosa (No. 13), Fresno (No. 14), Modesto (No. 15), Los Angeles (No. 18), and Oxnard (No. 19). The latter two cities returned to the list after dropping off in October, replacing Eureka and Santa Cruz.

Realtor. com’s Manager of Economic Research Javier Vivas said that though he expects this fall’s busy activity to carry over into 2017, the interest-rate increases that have followed in the wake of the U.S. presidential election could pose a challenge. According to Freddie Mac, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose to 4.03 percent for the week ended Nov 23., up on both a weekly and annual basis and marking the first time this year that interest rates have climbed above 4 percent.

Is Zillow Good or Bad for the Real Estate Industry

Some of the good things: 

  • Provides greater listing exposure to millions of consumers.
  • The addition of tax records, school ratings and other information to listings is good for consumers and makes the agents’ job easier.
  • Levels the playing field for newer agents and agents without many listings.
  • Gives consumer access to FSBOs, foreclosures and other non agent represented properties, painting a fuller picture of the available market.
  • Creates a new, broadly reaching, advertising platform for agents to advertise their skills.

Some of the bad things : 

  • A high percentage of their “available” listings are actually sold or off the market. This confuses and upsets consumers and makes agents look bad.
  • The sites’ property valuations are often way off, making agents’ jobs harder.
  • Promotes non-listing agents alongside listings that aren’t theirs, tricking consumers into believing they know the property.
  • Sells to any agent, regardless of experience, the title of “Premier” or “Pro”.
  • The “leads” generated for subscribing agents are low quality, non-responsive and a waste of time.
  • The cost of being a subscribing agent is too high for what you get.
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Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Trends

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Follow the purple line for 2016. Data reflects “Sold Homes” for that month in Southern Santa Barbara. This includes the communities from Carpinteria to Goleta. Data provided by Fidelity Title Company in Santa Barbara.

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Median Sales Price for Southern Santa Barbara July 2015 to June 2016 (Trulia)

Housing Recovery Picks Up Steam

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The Wall Street Journal reported this Wednesday (June 1,2016) that Home Prices are back to near record highs across the U.S. amid rising demand and supply constraints, a sign that the lopsided housing market recovery of the past five years is gaining strength. The S&P/Case Shiller national home price index says the recovery has clawed it’s way back to within 4% of it’s 2006 peak. A steep rise from the near 30% decline at the bottom in 2012.

After years of volatility home prices have grown at around a rate of 5% since early 2015. That bodes well for sellers heading into the peak home selling season of May and June but could pose a challenge for buyers, especially first timers who may be priced out of the market as supply, particularly among starter homes, remains thin.

Bottom line? The housing market is gaining strength and all indicators point to an even stronger real estate market moving forward.