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

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)

1214 High Ridge Lane in Santa Barbara

1214 High Ridge Lane in Santa Barbara is listed with Sotheby’s International Realty.  Listing agent Wilson Quarre. 3,700 square feet. Mediterranean Style. 3 car garage. Gated entry. 4 bedrooms with master, one guest and office on main floor. 3.5 bathrooms. Two bedrooms downstairs with workout area, wine closet, and more. Remodeled in 1999/2000. $3,398,000

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.

Santa Barbara, Montecito, and Hope Ranch Median Prices 2007-2015

Santa Barbara, Montecito, and Hope Ranch market trends from 2007 to 2015: Right now there does not appear to be any downside to the Santa Barbara real estate market. The modest increases in median prices across the areas still look appealing to buyers. One concern is the Chinese stock market which recently has had an effect on the Dow Jones. If the Chinese market continues to slip it might have some affect on the buying power for some prospective buyers, and if the Feds continue to raise interest rates it might be prudent for some buyers to get off the fence. Click on Images to Enlarge

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Data provided by Fidelity Title Company