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california real estate

Drought, Desalination... What's The Deal?

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Drought, Desalination... What's The Deal?

Drought

The current drought in California has commanded the attention of many and as we continue to see minimal rain here in Santa Barbara and throughout the state, this is not an issue that we will be disengaging from anytime soon. This particular drought began in 2012 and is the worst drought in 1,200 years. This year also marks an all-time record low for snow pack levels in the Sierras amounting to an equivalent of 24 billion gallons of water loss. For a striking visual perception of the drought, Click Here to view an article which compares photos of California's water sources just before the drought in 2011 and their recent state, in 2014.

Limited rainfall has caused our water reservoirs to become depleted and over drafting of groundwater is underway. Looking at our future, "the 2016-2017 water year is looking dire...assuming that there will be no surface water coming from Lake Cachuma, the State Water Project or Jameson Lake." State-wide, Governor Jerry Brown has issued a mandate that urban water use must be reduced 25 percent below 2013 levels by February 2016. To put this all in perspective, NASA estimates, "it would take 11 trillion gallons of water to get us out of drought," and it is these types of severities that are causing people to seek for solutions to this complicated problem.

Recently, Santa Barbara increased to Stage 3 drought regulations, which call for stringent water use restrictions and increased water rates. Conservation techniques are another alleviation, which Santa Barbara residents are implementing effectively. In the month of May, residents conserved an astounding 37%, bringing reduction efforts up to 24% since last July and only 1% away from the city's goal (go SB!). Santa Barbara also holds the lead for highest conservation rates in the state, but we must also consider what else may lie in the near future for our community. If the drought persists and there is no water available for purchase, the city needs another fallback.

Desalination

Desalination has been a topic of discussion as the vast ocean near our homes provokes its consideration as a potential water source; after all, 97.5% of all the water on Earth is sea water. Click here to watch a 30-second informational video explaining the process of desalination. For a smaller Santa Barbara community like Montecito, drought relief options are limited and, aside from increased water rates, desalination seems a viable recourse. According to Montecito general manager, Tom Mosby, "Santa Barbara expects to get its desalination facility operational next year [and] if it’s approved by the state and the Santa Barbara City Council moves forward, Montecito could get emergency permit status by the end of 2016 for its own facility." A new Montecito plant would cost between $60 and $80 million and in conjunction with the Santa Barbara plant,  "could handle almost all the city’s water needs"; but only as long as residents continuation their conservation and cut their existing usage by 25%.

The Deal

- The drought is very serious and even with some recent minor rainfall, residents must keep in the mind that this issue has not been overcome. There is a 70% likelihood that the drought will persist.

- Santa Barbara locals are responding productively to water restrictions and conservation efforts yet that does not mean we should ease up on conservation techniques and implementation - this is an ongoing endeavor. For further tips and information regarding reduction of your water consumption, visit the Santa Barbara County Water Conservation page by clicking here. 

- Desalination is only a complementary aid to water conservation, and efforts are underway to recommission the Santa Barbara plant as well as construct a new plant for Montecito; however, this may be costly, energy-intensive and it is questionable whether or not the plants will be ready and functioning before the drought is over.

- Effect on the real estate market: Water allotments per parcel are tightening and causing buyers to reconsider their water sources and water use (on average in California, almost 50% of total residential water use is for the outdoors/landscaping). Now more than ever, buyers are placing high value on wells and also drought-considerate landscaping in order to remain within these allotments.

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New Listing! El Fureidis - The Scarface Estate

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New Listing! El Fureidis - The Scarface Estate

Riskin Partners is honored to have this architecturally significant and historically unique co-listing with Emilly Kellenberger. El Fureidis – translated as ‘tropical paradise’ – is one of Montecito’s most celebrated estates and steeped in rich and colorful history.

26 - Exterior with Greenery -  Tom Ploch
26 - Exterior with Greenery - Tom Ploch

The estate was founded in 1906 by James Waldron Gillespie, a visionary hailing from New York who came to the West Coast looking for a location with a landscape and a climate that rivaled that of the Mediterranean. Originally known as a botanic garden, the estate boasts 10 acres of exceptional grounds offering the utmost in privacy and a variety of trees, many of which are over 100 years old.  The estate was inspired by Gillespie’s world travels, and designed by renowned architect Bertram Goodhue, known mainly for his churches, museums, and monumental buildings.

21 - Four Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch
21 - Four Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch

Goodhue’s works include the Los Angeles Central Library, Saint Thomas Church in New York City, the Nebraska State Capitol, and the Chapel and Original Campus of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

25 - East Elevation, Walkways and Fountain - Tom Ploch
25 - East Elevation, Walkways and Fountain - Tom Ploch

El Fureidis is known as Bertram Goodhue’s outstanding Mediterranean Revival masterpiece.

10 - Lee Lawrie Original Signature - Zac Smith
10 - Lee Lawrie Original Signature - Zac Smith

A Grand Roman Villa

Together, Gillespie and Goodhue embarked on a yearlong trip to Europe and the Mediterranean region to gather inspiration for the estate; a significant portion of their journey included over 500 miles on horseback from the Caspian Sea to the Gulf of Persia. This journey birthed the concept of a grand Roman villa with Persian gardens, a very progressive architectural style for the time.

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631ParraGrande_01

A Careful Eye for Detail

Constructed of steel-reinforced concrete and retaining the original layout footprint, Goodhue built El Fureidis to last. The main house recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation with a careful eye for detail, preserving the historic elements of the estate, while equipping the estate for modern living in a new era.

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631ParraGrande_02

Piéce de Résistance

The estate itself forms a rectangle with a bright atrium terrace at its center, and is accessed through an entry hall and a “conversation room,” a Byzantine-style alcove crowned with an 18-foot-high central dome that is decorated with a floral hand painted, gold and blue design in 24k gold-leaf modeled after the church of St. John Lateran in Rome.  The conversation room has remained the piéce de résistance of the house.

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631ParraGrande_08

Neoclassical Era

Offering numerous areas for entertaining, the public rooms of the estate are grand in style. The formal dining room is unique with a barreled ceiling painted in 24k gold leaf and depicting a scene of Alexander the Great conquering Persepolis by Henry Wadsworth Moore. The original signature by the artist remains intact. A musician’s balcony overlooks the formal dining room and is accessed via a glass door.

11 - Interior Couryard - Tom Ploch
11 - Interior Couryard - Tom Ploch

Each public room is bathed in natural light from the numerous sets of double doors, which open to the central courtyard and other patio areas.

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631ParraGrande_03
Living Room
Living Room

From the entry, one may enter the formal living room with lovely blue paneled ceilings, representing the heavens, and the neoclassical era of the estate.

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631ParraGrande_04

From the living room, the floor plan continues to a library, a sitting room and a lounge.

Kitchen
Kitchen
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631ParraGrande_07

Modern Appointments

Many of the original fixtures and appointments remain, and are coupled with fully modernized and deluxe appointments in the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry facilities, such as radiant floor heating, a steam shower, and top-end appliances. The renovation includes a second floor configured with three guest suites.

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631ParraGrande_09

Upstairs, an exquisite rooftop with three access points provides 360-degree views of the lavish ten-acre property, Pacific Ocean, and the Channel Islands. The desirable Montecito climate allows the rooftop to be enjoyed year round, while expansive space for rooftop lounging and sunset views provide the perfect setting for events.

3 - South Elevation with Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch
3 - South Elevation with Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch

The property is bordered by a seasonal creek and offers significant gardens and landscaping, originally Persian in design, and reflective of Gillespie’s fondness for palm trees.  At one time, the gardens boasted more than 100 different varieties of palm and other trees, and today the expansive 10-acre grounds still harbor several century-old tree specimens, including a massive Chilean wine palm, Montecito’s largest Moreton Bay fig tree, magnificent king palms, a grove of coast redwoods, citrus and walnut orchards, and many others.

22 - Lower Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch
22 - Lower Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch

Significant Landscape

9 - Back Patio - Tom Ploch
9 - Back Patio - Tom Ploch

The many terraces, reflecting pools, and gardens are enhanced by Lee Lawrie’s nine bas-reliefs located at the rear of the estate. Lee Lawrie and Bertram Goodhue collaborated on many projects, bringing Lawrie to the forefront of the architectural industry. Lee Lawrie known as one of the United States’ most influential architectural sculptors and likely best known for the sculpture of Atlas at Rockefeller Center. The nine bas-reliefs depict scenes from Arthurian legends, which form a band between the tops of columns on the south side of the estate and feature Lawrie’s signature etched in stone.

The south elevation of the estate is dominated by a dazzling terrace of herringbone brick and turquoise reflecting pools, which descends via a walkway graced with additional water features—ending at a stately Roman temple or casino.

23 - Lower Fountains - Tom Ploch
23 - Lower Fountains - Tom Ploch

The prevalent rectangular shape of the pools, terraces and walking paths in the gardens provide a tranquil atmosphere while water transports from one place to the next via narrow, shallow channels that are terraced to create cooling water.

24 - Lower Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch
24 - Lower Reflecting Pools - Tom Ploch

The estate includes numerous original brick pathways offering opportunities to take in the lovely trees, and to reflect on the peaceful atmosphere across the grounds.

27 - Moreton Bay Fig Tree - Tom Ploch
27 - Moreton Bay Fig Tree - Tom Ploch

El Fureidis is a place of legendary provenance and has at times received credit for playing host to many memorable tenants and visitors, including Thomas Mann, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Charles Chaplin, and John F. Kennedy. It is perhaps best known in recent years as a location for the 1983 film “Scarface,” and the wedding scene of Michele Pfeiffer and Al Pacino. The estate is one of only three residences in Montecito designed by Goodhue, and is a true piece of art history.

El Fureidis

631 Parra Grande, Montecito

Offered at $17,900,000

Click here to experience the virtual tour of the estate

Click here for a complete list of all of Riskin Partners' luxury listings

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A Quick Look Into the Inaccuracies of Zillow Home Zestimates in Santa Barbara

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A Quick Look Into the Inaccuracies of Zillow Home Zestimates in Santa Barbara

The LA Times recently examined Zillow's price inaccuracies, where Zillow CEO, Spencer Rascoff, remarked that their "Zestimates are a 'good starting point' but that nationwide they have a 'median error rate' of about 8%." This is of significance considering that Zillow is one of the most popular real estate information sites. "Shoppers, buyers, and sellers" alike often quote these estimated value prices to real estate agents, and discrepancies can sometimes lead to disagreements. The disparity can be especially significant in regards to luxury homes, where that "small" percentage can translate to hundreds of thousands of dollars - possibly even more in market areas where inaccuracy percentages are even higher. (Read the full LA Times article here) So, we decided to do a little bit of our own research about the Santa Barbara area including Carpinteria, and Montecito. We compared the sales price of 10 different homes that closed since January 1, 2015 to current Zillow Zestimate prices. Differences ranged from +/- 3% all the way up 31%, with the majority of discrepancies being between +/- 3% and 11%; the average deviation from actual closing sale price was 11.8%. Although it would be a stretch to assume this is the average for the entire Santa Barbara housing market, it does give us a general idea of the extent to which Zestimates are flawed. Fortunately, it seems Santa Barbara does not suffer from drastic price discrepancies, but it is a factor that home buyers, sellers, and shoppers should be aware of.

Lesson to learn from all of this: online home estimates should be used for general reference, and not treated as factual or explicit. Buyers and sellers are encouraged to trust the valuations of real estate professionals and appraisers.

For more information on Santa Barbara real estate, or the luxury enclaves of Montecito, Hope Ranch, the Riviera and Beaches, please contact Riskin Associates, the top producing real estate team in Santa Barbara.

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Riskin Associates of Village Properties Sells Mediterranean Estate in Montecito for $15,000,000

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Riskin Associates of Village Properties Sells Mediterranean Estate in Montecito for $15,000,000

LuxuryRealEstate.com, "a compendium of the finest residential real estate firms from around the world," has published a press release regarding the recent sale of one of Riskin Associates' exceptional properties in Montecito. The two-story Mediterranean estates which prides ocean- and mountain-views, a six bedroom main house, two bedroom guest cottage, pool and cabana, tennis court, and lusciously manicured gardens, was sold for $15,000,000.The press release from LuxuryRealEstate.com contributes to the recognition of Riskin Associates as a prominent figure within the Who's Who in Luxury Real Estate network; we genuinely feel inspired and motivated to continue striving toward our goals! If you would like to browse more closed sales by Riskin Associates, click here, or if you would like to view more of our available listings, click here.

To read the full significant sale articleclick here or on the picture below

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New Listing! Tranquil Montecito Retreat

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New Listing! Tranquil Montecito Retreat

Nestled on a tranquil, gated acre, this captivating Montecito home has been impeccably updated with outstanding design elements, top of the line finishes, lush landscaping and abundant character throughout.

LivingRoom
LivingRoom
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Dining-2

Wonderful indoor/outdoor living is enjoyed through vibrant, spacious rooms including an airy living room with a whitewashed brick fireplace, large windows and charming built-ins. The dining room’s pitched ceiling and skylights enhance the airy feel of the room while a wall of French doors open completely to the patio for extraordinary entertaining. 

FamilyRoom
FamilyRoom

The spacious family room’s French doors open to a soothing waterfall.

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2860EValley_Kitchen
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BreakFastNook

The state-of-the-art Bulthaup kitchen boasts Miele and Sub-Zero appliances, a generous chef’s island with abundant storage and a charming built-in breakfast nook with skylights. French doors open to a beautiful deck and garden, welcoming lovely sunlight into the heart of the home. A powder room conveniently serves the home’s public spaces.

MasterBedRoom
MasterBedRoom
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2860EValley_Bath

Luxuriously appointed, the master suite is warmed by a corner fireplace and gorgeous garden views through French doors.

A sumptuous ensuite bath is outfitted with floating teak cabinets, Brazilian marble, a vast walk-in rainforest shower with linen tile and a freestanding spa tub surrounded by lush outdoor greenery.

BedRoom
BedRoom
GuestHouse
GuestHouse

Three additional light-filled bedrooms are welcome retreats for guests. Two bedrooms share a pristine bath while a third spacious suite boasts a dedicated bath and custom built-in storage. A sizeable pine-paneled art studio (the converted garage) sits apart from the main house, inspired by garden views and magnificent skylights.

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2860EValley_Waterfall
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2860EValley_Porch

Enjoying a rural creek-side Montecito location, mature Oaks tower above enchanting gardens, whimsical paths, colorful specimen plants, native boulders and numerous outdoor patios. Zen-like serenity is achieved with a stunning waterfall feature, cascading into a stone pond adorned with banana trees, palms and lily pads.

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2860EValley_Ext2

Refined design is met with unassuming comfort to create a truly exceptional property.

2860 East Valley RdMontecito, CA 93108

Click Here to view more incredible properties available at Riskin Associates

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Feature Listing: A West Coast Estate with East Coast Charm - Montecito, CA

Brookside Montecito

Escape to an enchanting East Coast country estate in one of the West Coast’s most enviable locations. A ninety-minute coastal drive from Los Angeles, or just fifteen minutes from Santa Barbara Municipal Airport, finds one in the idyllic town of Montecito. Effortlessly luxurious, Montecito invites a relaxed lifestyle ideal for enjoying near perfect year round weather and endless options for leisure by the sea. Throughout the incredibly charming town, upscale hotels, fine restaurants and shopping are lavish amenities.

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764SanYsidroLane_06

On a quiet lane minutes to Montecito’s Upper Village and the celebrated San Ysidro Ranch, approximately 2.38 magical acres host Brookside, an enchanting estate. A gated drive winds past ancient oaks towards the sprawling residence reminiscent of traditional Nantucket homes with a stone facade and slate roof. A spacious stone motor court and three-car garage provide ample parking for residents and guests.

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764SanYsidroLane_12

An inviting brick porch beckons guests into the entry foyer. Introducing the home’s gracious and welcoming atmosphere, this tasteful reception room accesses the formal spaces and private master wing while an elegant staircase leads to the upper level bedroom suites.

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764SanYsidroLane_18

The resplendent formal dining room is rich with elegant details. Poised for formal hosting, silk and wainscot wall treatments, crown molding and a large picture window framing majestic mountain views create a gracious dining space. For casual daily living and entertaining, French doors open to an outdoor patio and lush lawn.

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764SanYsidroLane_17

The formal living room welcomes grand tradition. A towering ceiling combines with the dramatic mountain view, affording a commanding air to the magnificent space. Custom built-in bookcases and an impressive fireplace prominently display the exceptional craftsmanship which defines the house. Three sets of French doors open to the stunning estate grounds providing access to the pool terrace, outdoor kitchen and dining patio.

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764SanYsidroLane_16

The north wing of the home hosts an incredibly lavish yet comfortable eat-in kitchen, outfitted with luxurious amenities while remaining both inviting and livable. Beneath a beamed ceiling, the kitchen boasts mountain views, a spacious center island with a six-burner range and ample storage. In the impressive butler’s pantry, abundant china storage, warming drawers, a wine refrigerator and dishwasher allow for effortless entertaining. The kitchen opens to a cozy family room where built-in storage, a charming fireplace and French doors leading to the outdoor kitchen and dining area are resplendent details for everyday living.

Completing the north wing of the home are spacious laundry facilities, a full bath and an upstairs staff apartment. Offering it’s own entrance, a bedroom, full bath and a sitting room with mountain vistas, this lovely space perfectly doubles as an office or guest suite.

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764SanYsidroLane_19

In the handsome library, paneled walls complementing the French oak floor, exquisite built in bookshelves, French doors and warming fireplace create an ideal space for quiet leisure.

An exquisite galleria leads to the private master wing. Exceptional built-in cabinetry provides both elegant design aesthetics and abundant storage, alluding to the amenities of the sophisticated yet intimate master suite.

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764SanYsidroLane_15

Defined by a lingering air of romance, the expansive master suite is rich with luxurious design details. Delicate rays of sun waft through large windows overlooking the estate grounds, drenching the room in soft light. A fireplace and sunny sitting area welcome quiet personal moments while two private dressing rooms are lavish retreats within the suite.

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764SanYsidroLane_24

The first is pristine with a tranquil soaking tub, oversized shower and elegant vanity creating a sensual haven for relaxation. Beyond, a magnificent walk-in closet exceeds every expectation. Designed with the utmost attention to function as well as aesthetics, the expansive closet affords organization and order to each item and accessory.

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764SanYsidroLane_14

A second dressing room of equal design pedigree, cloaked in handsome alder, includes a distinguished ensuite bath with an oversized shower and access to the pool terrace, completing the gracious master suite.

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764SanYsidroLane_11

In close proximity to the master suite, a lovely bedroom offers playful design, two closets and an ensuite bath finished in marble. Upstairs, two impressive bedrooms boast pitched ceilings, ensuite baths and French doors opening to a spacious mountain view terrace. Equally inviting to family or guests, a glowing fireplace warms the first suite while the second enjoys a large walk-in closet.

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764SanYsidroLane_27

The attached pool cabana is an idyllic accompaniment to the exquisite pool terrace. With a pitched ceiling, the bright and airy cabana includes fantastic built-in storage, a heated loggia and a full bath.

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764SanYsidroLane_09

Two sets of sliding doors pocket into the walls, opening to the pool, lawn and outdoor dining areas creating a true indoor/outdoor experience. When needed, the pool cabana offers all the amenities of a guest suite.

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In addition to the sprawling main residence, two auxiliary structures create the estate’s magical compound. Set privately away from the main house, the immensely charming guest house provides wonderful accommodations for long-term guests, offering dedicated parking, two bedrooms, a full bath, a delightful living room and kitchenette. Soaring ceilings, a warming fireplace and a terrace overlooking a magical oak trees, putting green and tranquil, trickling creek offer a impressive welcome to guests.

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764SanYsidroLane_03

Additionally, a quaint cottage built in 2010, yet designed to appear to have occupied the site for decades, offers a cozy office with built-in cabinetry and a large multipurpose room with a half bath perfect for a gym or art studio.

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764SanYsidroLane_04

An exquisite landscape of blossoming rose gardens, majestic oaks and redwoods, and tasteful entertaining terraces surround Brookside while offering relaxed outdoor living in Montecito’s enviable year-round climate.

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764SanYsidroLane_26

A staggering mountain view is an impressive backdrop to the stunning pool terrace, which is easily accessible from the residence and features a large swimmer’s pool, lounge patio and grand outdoor fireplace. A vine-covered pergola and lush lawn are verdant accompaniments to the beautiful brick terrace.

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764SanYsidroLane_01

Enjoy al fresco cooking and dining as the glorious peaks of the Santa Ynez Mountains are painted shades of purple by the exquisite “pink moment” sunset. An outdoor kitchen boasts a Viking barbecue, a refrigerator and sink aside a dining terrace for seamless outdoor entertaining. Also in this area, a lawn and large play structure await imaginative adventures and games.

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764SanYsidroLane_08 (1)

Stone pathways meander through an enchanting oak woodland toward the creekside guest house, putting green and half basketball court.

Beyond the estate grounds additional amenities lie just moments away. Hiking trails, luxurious shopping and dining, exceptional golf clubs and Montecito’s expansive beaches are all within close proximity to the residence.

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764SanYsidroLane_02

One of Montecito’s finest estates, Brookside is the culmination of grand tradition delicately balanced with luxurious, modern amenities.

764 San Ysidro Lane

Offered at $12,950,000

Click here to explore more listings at Riskin Associates

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Santa Barbara Hosts Second Most Expensive Home for Sale in the United States

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Santa Barbara Hosts Second Most Expensive Home for Sale in the United States

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An article by SuperCompressor.com has listed the most expensive homes available in each of the 50 states, per Zillow reports. Among an abundance of jaw-dropping properties, Santa Barbara hosts the second most expensive on the list, representing the entire state of California (it ranks just behind an estate on Hillsboro beach in Florida listed for $139,000,000)!

The $125,000,000 hilltop manor shown above was built in 1930 by renowned architect Reginald Johnson and is located in none other than Montecito; in fact, it's only a short drive from our office! This property is evidence of the rich history, beautiful panoramas, and luxurious lifestyle available in the area. Riskin Associates has a variety of similarly impressive and exceptional properties in the area also including a historic Reginald Johnson home.

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The historic property described above is also one of Hope Ranch's original estates - to experience the enchanting charm of 1520 Roble Drive, simply click on the video above.

1664 East Valley Road, currently listed by Riskin Associates
1664 East Valley Road, currently listed by Riskin Associates

Just down the road from the chart-topping manor is 1664 East Valley Road - a romantic Mediterranean villa where impressive architectural details complement contemporary amenities. On approximately 2 acres, this home boasts 7 bedrooms and 12 baths, with an additional bedroom and 2 baths in the pool house. List price is $13,795,000.

[vimeo 104343670 w=500 h=281]

1530 Roble Driveis another 1930 compound on 8 acres. It features a comparable architectural style, charming interiors, romantic gardens, and lush lawns. With an 8 bedroom/10 bath main house, an additional cottage with 2 bedrooms/1 bath, and another guest house with a bedroom and 2 baths, this elegant listing is available for $15,500,000.

Check out the Riskin Associates website for even more incredible listings available in the Santa Barbara area

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New Listing! Pristine Sand Point Beach

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New Listing! Pristine Sand Point Beach

Another incredible new offering from Riskin Associates! Nestled down a private, gated lane paralleling the breathtaking California coastline, a turnkey mid-century modern home offers a quintessential beachfront lifestyle on coveted Sand Point Beach. Known locally as one of the area’s most desirable beach locations, Sand Point Beach boasts a unique air of privacy, while offering the luxury of an afternoon stroll to charming Santa Claus Lane’s shops and cafes. Meanwhile, Montecito, Summerland and Carpinteria are just a short drive away.

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645SandPt_09

Upon arrival at the residence, the staggering mountain view is on impressive display. A two-car detached garage and motor court offer ample parking while expanses of glass introduce the vast ocean views and indoor/outdoor atmosphere enjoyed throughout the home. Stepping through the entry door, the interior’s chic, pristine design features include hardwood floors, beamed ceilings, skylights, a sleek fireplace and walls of glass doors opening to a spacious ocean-view lounge deck.

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645SandPt_03

The eat-in kitchen is defined by expansive ocean, island and mountain views, perfectly complementing the casual atmosphere. Top of the line appliances including Miele, Wolf and SubZero offer a sense of luxury to the chef’s kitchen.

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645SandPt_06

A cozy reading or television nook with built-in bookshelves lies between the public spaces and the home’s three private bedrooms.

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645SandPt_04

The inviting master bedroom offers a serene open ambience with abundant doors and windows welcoming staggering ocean and mountain views and accessing the sunny lounge deck. A luxurious ensuite bath and a spacious closet complete the ocean-view master suite.

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645SandPt_07

Two additional bedroom suites are tranquil retreats for guests, one boasts a private ensuite bath while both offer mountain views and beautiful beamed ceilings. A full bath with shared shower and a laundry room complete this area of the home.

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645SandPt_12

Outside, the home is surrounded by coastal beauty. From the spacious lounge deck, the glistening Pacific Ocean is an awe-inspiring view, offering a casual yet impressive entertaining space.

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A large glass wall on the western side of the deck keeps the occasional coastal breeze at bay, while creating an outdoor living roomlike atmosphere. Beyond the lounge deck, a spacious lawn and patio beckon afternoon barbecues and lawn games year-round.

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Aerial-1

A rare offering for nearby homes, the residence offers easy beach access via a spacious view deck between the lawn and the sand. The deck enjoys 360-degree views, encompassing the ocean and islands, the entire meandering coastline and the majestic Santa Ynez Mountains, and is ideal for enjoying the “pink moment.” The Santa Barbara coastline is renowned for brilliant sunsets affectionately referred to as the “pink moment,” when the sun dips just below the oceanic horizon, setting the sky ablaze.

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Aerial-3

A home on the sand lures one to endless outdoor activities. Waves break in synchronization, ideal for surfing, kayaking or paddle boarding alongside marine life while the shoreline is a most tranquil host for running, yoga or simply bathing in warm California sun.

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645SandPt_01

An oceanfront home defined by a casual beach lifestyle, 645 Sand Point Road offers chic, turnkey design in a premier beach location.

645 Sand Point Road
Offered at $9,000,000

Click here for more Information about the Carpinteria area

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New Listing! Quintessential Montecito Villa

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New Listing! Quintessential Montecito Villa

Riskin Associates is excited to announce one of our newest listings! World-class scale and grace abound in this near new Montecito Villa, only moments from the shops and restaurants of the upper and lower villages. The exquisite Mediterranean estate enjoys monumental mountain views from nearly every room and throughout the nearly three acres of manicured gardens. Grand entry gates introduce a meandering, palm lined drive leading to a gracious motor court graced with roses. The lushly landscaped property presents the home’s breathtaking façade—a two-story Mediterranean masterpiece accented with Moroccan-style arches, pulling inspiration from southern Spanish architecture.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_52

The interior begins with a grand, two-story entry foyer that boasts a sweeping staircase and limestone floors. Just off the main hall, a gracious formal dining room offers magnificent mountain and garden views, and abundant natural light.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_33

The lavish kitchen-- with a large center island and state of the art appliances-- connects to both a cozy family room with a fireplace and a beautiful breakfast room that looks out to the majestic mountain range. Nearby, the home offers a large bedroom suite, well suited for staff quarters or guest accommodations alike. Downstairs below the main living spaces, an ideal setting for a wine cellar and home theater awaits, providing a fantastic opportunity to create a custom dream.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_24

The opposite wing of the first floor presents a grand formal living room with lustrous hardwood floors, intricate woodwork on the ceilings and an elegant fireplace as a focal piece. Adjacent to the living room is a warm library with paneled walls clad in bookshelves and another charming fireplace. Additionally, the first floor offers a peaceful home office with a fireplace and French doors to the garden; and a lavish guest suite complete with ample privacy, a walk-in closet and spacious bathroom and an inviting outdoor patio.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_49

An open galleria spans the upper floor, leading to the glorious master suite. Enormous in scale, Venetian baroque plaster designs reminiscent of Addison Mizner grace the ceilings, plentiful windows frame phenomenal views, and a sitting area sits before a fireplace. With stunning, separate his and hers bathrooms and closets replete with custom details, this room offers an airy, elegant retreat. The galleria leads to two additional bedroom suites, each with its own bathroom and private terrace.

2733SycamoreCanyon_Guesthouse
2733SycamoreCanyon_Guesthouse

The enticing guesthouse on the property offers an airy living room, sunny bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette, making for premiere accommodations with a delightful view of the pool.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_54

A grand terrace with a large, stone fireplace enjoys views over the property, and surrounded by lush gardens. Every public room on the first floor boasts doors out to this spectacular space, offering a beautiful seating area to enjoy the towering views. Below the terrace is a deluxe pool pavilion with another fireplace, a cooking and dining space, and a lounging area just steps away from the expansive swimmer’s pool.

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2733SycamoreCanyon_56

Impeccably designed and in pristine condition, this exceptional estate seamlessly welds the best of indoor and outdoor living, and pulls in superlative views while doing so.

2733 Sycamore Canyon Road, Montecito
Offered at $13,900,000

Click Here for more information about the Montecito area

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Synopsis: Luxury Consumer Survey

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Synopsis: Luxury Consumer Survey

Realtor.com has released the results of their most recent survey of luxury home buyers, reporting on purchase motivations, amenity priorities and expectations. The numbers are encouraging, with 13% of home buyers looking to buy a luxury home and 26% considering a high-end luxury home. In the niche markets of Santa Barbara and Montecito, properties priced over $1M are considered luxury properties. The report also states that with such a large portion of homebuyers searching for high-end homes, trends in the entire market are being driven by the luxury sector.

A number of factors are motivating luxury homebuyers to make a move, chief among them being recent career success (19%) followed by retirement (17%). Investment and first time home buying were also catalysts to entering the housing market. Challenges homebuyers reported when shopping for a high end home were expected. Challenges included finding a property to meet family needs (40%), a limited inventory (20%) and access to mortgage loans (8%).

Buyers were also questioned on the most desirable amenities and what was the most important features of a home. Chef's kitchens were the most desirable with 54% of homebuyers listing a fabulous kitchen as their top priority. That million dollar view! Second on the list of desired features was a beautiful view (44%) particularly of an ocean, the mountains or cityscapes. Size also matters. Square footage (38%) and a large master suite (36%) also made the list. Resale value was also taken into consideration with 36% of buyers indicating resale value as "very important" and 27% feeling resale value was "extremely important."

For a further breakdown of luxury home buyers and information on homebuyers not looking for luxury real estate, view the full Realtor.com report.

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Six Insights into the Selling Season

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Six Insights into the Selling Season

The weather forecast isn't the only telltale sign that Spring is in full swing here in Santa Barbara. It is 80 degrees and sunny this week and the housing market seems to be equally hot with the unwritten real estate law "Spring is the best time to sell a home" being fully enforced. With so much activity in the market, Riskin Associates would like to educate our clients and readers with some insights into the current state of the market.

This quintessential Santa Barbara home offers the coveted, coastal lifestyle with ocean and mountain views and an enchanting landscape.
This quintessential Santa Barbara home offers the coveted, coastal lifestyle with ocean and mountain views and an enchanting landscape.

Firstly, the long, cold winter is finally over. The Polar Vortex quite literally froze the market and as the East and North East melts back into action, buyers are ready (and more motivated thane ever!) to relocate or purchase second residences in sunny California. Additionally, the rule rings true that spring and summer are THE time of year for real estate transactions. According to Trulia.com, sixty percent of all homes will be bought and sold between May and August in 2014.

Pricing is important. Consider it a bit of a reflection on the obvious, but pricing your property appropriately is still considered one of the chief factors in getting it sold quickly. While we have seen price increases into the double digits over the past year, the first quarter of 2014 did not reflect these increases. Trulia.com suggests closely considering comps of other homes in the area and trusting the expertise of the listing agent. Also, keep recency in mind. For luxury homes, give recently sold comps more weight than older sales. The more recent a sale, the more accurate picture it paints of the current market. A hot market often brings fears of the dreaded bidding war. But fear not, statistics are showing that bidding wars are not as common as they were last year.

Another suggestion for grabbing a quick sale is to list your home earlier rather than later. Many homes will come on the market in late May and early June. Listing your home before the "rush" will give it a chance to shine as a new listing and get the attention and activity it deserves. Have your home ready to market before listing it the MLS and keep it in show condition so short notice requests will be easily accommodated.

Marketing a listing appropriately is key. A good team of agents will offer five star marketing services and will ensure your home is as attractive as possible to the buyers browsing the web for homes for sale. Riskin Associates employs a full time marketing staff. Having this manpower gives the Riskin Associates team the ability to create high-definition showcase videos, pitch listings to a network of public relations connections and design custom marketing strategies for each of their special listings.

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America's Most Overpriced Cities 2014

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America's Most Overpriced Cities 2014

Forbes' Erin Carlyle recently chronicled the countries most expensive cities and many  California cities found themselves labeled "overpriced." In fact, California cities showed up most often on the list taking a whopping 9 spots. Covering the entire state, San Francisco, Fresno, L.A., Riverside and San Deigo all made the list, with L.A. snatching up the #20 position. Of relatively little surprise, Honolulu, Hawaii and New York City tied for first followed by South Connecticut and Boston. Philidelphia, Miami, Portland, North New Jersey and Long Island, N.Y. all made the list as well.

Aloha - Honolulu made a great case for being the most overpriced city with a median housing price of $430,000 and an exorbitantly high cost of living. While the median home price does not reflect the highest in the counrty for a Metropolian area, it is financially out of reach for most of the city's resident families earning the median income of $86,300 per year. Cost of living plays a major role as well, with groceries costing an astounding 55% more than in the rest of the country and utilities costing - wait for it - 67% more.

Forbes compiled this data by looking at Metropolian Statistical Areas (areas with populations of 600k or more), and housing affordability and cost of living index in these areas.

Santa Barbara's humble approx. 89,000 population disqualified the city as a Metropolitan Statistical Area. With is no shortage of adventure, culture and cuisine in the area, and a airport an airport for quick jaunts to L.A., the Bay Area and beyond, Santa Barbara is an ideal town.

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"My Home Is My Castle" Understanding American Real Estate Needs

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"My Home Is My Castle" Understanding American Real Estate Needs

Unique in many ways, American's have a variety of characteristics which set their lifestyle apart from the rest of the world. One of Americans' most distinctive lifestyle choices is their home - no surprise - as Americans covet their personal time and space. Inman News contributor Bernice Ross recently delved into the unique real estate needs of Americans. During her account of the four basic needs of American real estate, Riskin Associates noticed a trend, Montecito real estate easily covers all the bases: safety, privacy, size and retreat. 1. Safety. Americans consider safety one of their top concerns. Safe neighborhoods for children and home security systems are important amenities American's rarely compromise on. Particularly in the luxury real estate market, increased safety precautions and a high-end security system is often the standard and expected among wealthy home buyers.

Protective gates provide privacy to this Montecito estate.
Protective gates provide privacy to this Montecito estate.

 This magnificent French Chateau is set behind it's own private entry gates. Before arriving at the gates of the Chateau, visitors to lavish the entertainer's estate must identify themselves at the Birnam Wood Country Club's manned community gates.

Offered at $13,900,000.

State-of-the-art home secuirty systems protect this fabulous Italian Villa in Montecito.
State-of-the-art home secuirty systems protect this fabulous Italian Villa in Montecito.

Surrounded by protective gates, this newer Italian villa boasts a state-of-the-art home security system. For security reasons (natch), we can't disclose the brand or extensive features of the system. Offered at $17,750,000.

2. "Top of the Heap." Hilltop properties are often valued higher than low-lying properties becaues being higher up exudes a "powerful" facade. Also, having extended visibility (apart from providing a stunning view) often allows people to feel increased safety. These two Montecito properties provide that extended hilltop advantage (and that million-dollar view).

A hill top view provides this Montecito estate a stunning ocean view.
A hill top view provides this Montecito estate a stunning ocean view.

The incredible ocean-view may be the most obvious advantage of this hill top estate, but the safety and privacy advantages are also (almost) priceless. Offered at $9,875,000

A rustic hill-top retreat
A rustic hill-top retreat

Surrounded by 5+ private, hill-top acres, this luxurious rustic retreat's location affords a view as far as the eye can see.

Offered at $6,495,000.

Supersize. Another point of rare surprise: Americans' belief in "bigger is better" translates to their property as well. Whenever possible, Americans prefer bigger homes, bigger cars and bigger televisions. You name it, Americans would supersize it. The following properties are just plain big.

An expansive French Provincial estate in Montecito with ocean and mountain views.
An expansive French Provincial estate in Montecito with ocean and mountain views.

On over nine lush and private acres, there is nothing miniscule about this coveted Montecito estate. An approximately 12,000sf main residence overlooks expansive lawns, gardens and a private lake. Offered at $27,000,000.

AN expansive equestrian property in Santa Barbara
AN expansive equestrian property in Santa Barbara

This approx. 13 acre equestrian property features multiple guest structures, horse facilities, tennis court and two pools.

Offered at $18,200,000.

4. "My home is my castle." Americans covet their personal time and their privacy and view their home as their retreat from the stresses of daily life. A home in a quiet, tranquil setting is often a major priority for Americans. These two properties embody the stress-free living Americans strive toward.

Enchanting gardens and a tranquil location in Montectio.
Enchanting gardens and a tranquil location in Montectio.

This magical English Manor's private location is renowned in Montecito to be tranquil and quiet. Serene ocean views and enchanting gardens define the estate's placid aura. Offered at $7,995,000.

A tranquil zen garden surrounds this Montecito home.
A tranquil zen garden surrounds this Montecito home.

Zen gardens and trickling fountains surround this chic contemporary home near Montecito's Lower Village. While the location is desireably close to luxurious shops, restaurants, hotels and beaches, the floor plan allows for California-style indoor/outdoor entertaining and living. Ocean vistas and tranquil grounds create the ideal retreat from hectic daily life. Offered at $5,495,000.

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Featured Property of the Week: A Stunning Ocean View Estate

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Featured Property of the Week: A Stunning Ocean View Estate

This week, our featured property is defined by the unparalleled views and bright, inviting interiors. 

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588Freehaven_BalconyView

Commanding a serene hilltop, this magnificent Montecito estate offers unrivaled panoramic ocean and mountain views, while approximately 20 acres provides uninterrupted privacy. This sprawling 12,000+/- square foot residence exemplifies Montecito’s casually luxurious tenor with inspiring architectural elements, elegant finishes and breathtaking views gracing each bright and airy room.

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588Freehaven_TwilExt_

Stepping into the gracious foyer, a sweeping ocean view is the focal point while a spiraling iron-railed staircase hints at the home’s upper and lower levels. Bathed in natural light, the airy formal living room enjoys a generous, pitched beamed ceiling, an expansive ocean-view picture window and two sets of French doors leading to an outdoor patio and the beckoning grounds. A pair of iron chandeliers and a grand limestone fireplace create an elegant atmosphere.

588Freehaven_LivingRoom
588Freehaven_LivingRoom

Privately set behind a set of double doors, the sumptuous master suite is a feast for the senses. Immediately upon entering, a sweeping ocean view is the centerpiece to room, enjoyed through a set of French doors opening to a private terrace, which rests beneath a charming vine-covered trellis, and a private coastal-view spa. With two bounteous walk-in closets, an ensuite bath with an impressive walk-in steam shower, oversized air-jet soaking tub and an ocean view, the impeccable master suite is a spa-like retreat.

588Freehaven_NewMaster
588Freehaven_NewMaster

The home’s lower level encompasses what can only be described as a truly great room. Ideal for a media or game room, the expansive area boasts an incredible 3,000 bottle temperature-controlled wine cellar and a full wet bar, an impressive fireplace and custom-built bookcases, a full bathroom and abundant storage. A wall of French doors open to an outdoor dining room, a tranquil fountain and views of the property’s gardens.

588Freehaven_WineCellar
588Freehaven_WineCellar

Outside, the lush grounds are a fragrant medley of rosemary and wildflower beds. Stone paths encircle a trickling fountain and wind through lush lawns, leading to the sparkling pool. For additional privacy, a spectacular guest house enjoys ocean and mountain views and offers one bedroom with a full ensuite bathroom, a living room and kitchenette, and a charming pitched beamed ceiling.

588Freehaven_NewPoolView
588Freehaven_NewPoolView

With vast Pacific Ocean views, beautifully appointed indoor and outdoor living spaces and opulent grounds, this expansive Mediterranean estate provides the utmost in Montecito living.

Can't get enough of this quintessential Montecito estate? Check out more photos and details or contact Riskin Associates at 805.565.8600 or associates@riskinproperties.com.

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California Home Prices? They're up too!

Riskin Associates Montecito Listing
Riskin Associates Montecito Listing

News is spreading quickly that the US economy is rapidly approaching a full-blown recovery! All over the country people are gaining confidence in their investments and are returning to their pre-recession economic standings. Housing markets, unemployment and the stock market are returning to levels which reflect a healthy economy, and everyone is feeling the warm and fuzzies. Californian's in particular are jumping for joy as across the state homeowners are watching their home values skyrocket.  Leverage Global Partners is reporting that this time last year, the average home value was $320,990. But 2013 is blowing that number out of the water, with an over $100K increase to $428,510! Thats 33% in one year!  Aside from the rise of home prices, other factors also indicate a strengthening market. Riskin Associates recently reported that a pick up in the luxury home market indicates confidence of affluent demographics in the economy as "discretionary spending" increases. Riskin Associates is excited by the news of increasing home prices in California and across the nation!

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Santa Barbara County Sales Are STILL Up!

Santa Barbara County Sales for May 2013
Santa Barbara County Sales for May 2013

May certainly was an active month for Santa Barbara's residential real estate market, marking the 5th consecutive month of year over year increases for sales in southern Santa Barbara County. During the month of May, 265 transactions closed, up from 197 during the month of April. So far, 2013 has seen steady increases in home sales each month, a very promising trend as we continue to roll into the summer selling season. The economy is continuing to make a rapid recovery allowing the real estate market to experience resurgence as well as shifting trends. As we reported last week, the average size of homes is increasing, which was also credited to the economy's recovery as American's are able to afford more space. Perpetually increasing sales combined with increasing trends in home sizes are strong indicators that the residential real estate market of Santa Barbara and the surrounding communities of Montecito, Carpinteria and Hope Ranch is active and promising!

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Cash is King! (when buying a home)

Graph provided by DrHousingBubble.com
Graph provided by DrHousingBubble.com

They don't say "cash is king" for nothing - and in residential real estate, nothing could be truer. In a time of unprecedented economic turbulence, the amount of all cash buyers if off the charts. A recent  article posted by DoctorHousingBubble.com  dissects the trends of home buyers and their preferred method of payment. According to the article, Wall Street investors as well as foreign buyers are dominating the market with all-cash purchases. In 2012, all-cash transactions in southern California hit a record high of 35.8% in December, and last month, that number was mimicked by 35.6%, much higher than historical norms. The article also explains that 31% of these buyers are absentee buyers, meaning they are not planning to live in these homes, and dating back to 2000, the monthly average of absentee buyers was nearly half at 17 percent. The graph above provides a visual description of all-cash transactions in specific markets across the country.

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Santa Barbara's Spring Seller's Market

beautiful montecito home
beautiful montecito home

A seller's market has emerged in many parts of the country, and the Santa Barbara area is no exception! According to recent articles featured by Realtormag.com, low inventories have resulted in increasing asking prices across the country, but California has seen some of the most dramatic increases year-over-year. Santa Barbara, taking the #2 spot in rising list prices, has seen the median asking price increase 38% since February 2012 according to MLS data, with the current median asking price rising to $698,950.

As in several other cities in California, inventory in the areas of Santa Barbara and Montecito continues to sink and buyer traffic is picking up rapidly. Recently, Montecito real estate team Riskin Associates opened escrow on a charming country style home which was only on the market for 12 days. The Spring selling season is in full force!

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