At the beginning of the year in my 2020 market recap I wrote the following: “Properties that have come on the market so far this year have generated an enormous amount of interest and in some cases are getting bid up to unprecedented levels.” Now that I have fully analyzed the first quarter numbers for 2021, I can share more specifics about the most dynamic seller’s market that Santa Barbara has witnessed in decades.
In the Riviera/El Cielito/Eucalyptus Hill areas that I have tracked for several years there was a total of 30 sales in the first quarter with a median price of $2,450,000. This represents a 14% increase in the median price since the end of 2020 which was up 12% from the previous year and at an all time high. The main contributor to the escalating prices is the tremendous demand for Santa Barbara real estate combined with minimal supply, as many potential sellers continue to sit on the sidelines. Upon analyzing each of the 30 sales, I noticed that the majority of these were properties that came on the market in 2020 but did not close escrow until this year. A true indication of our current market is that there have only been 6 properties that have come to market in the first quarter – all of which sold within a week and all were bid up in price by an average of 7%! Additionally, there were 4 “off market” sales and 3 other properties that sold above the initial list price.
So far in the second quarter we are witnessing a similar dynamic, as the demand continues to overwhelm the amount of new inventory that is coming to market. While this is certainly one of the most extreme seller’s markets that I have witnessed in my 33 years of selling homes in Santa Barbara, I know from experience that unbalanced markets can only last for a limited amount of time. With this in mind I will reiterate what I said at the beginning of the year: "My advice to Riviera homeowners is that if you have any thoughts of selling in the near future, you may want to take advantage of the current dynamic before there is an inevitable shift to a more balanced market.”