Opportunities Await

By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   August 20, 2020

It has been an incredible past two-plus months in the Montecito real estate market, to say the least. Sales are up and still climbing. Not since perhaps 2002-2006 have agents seen this kind of buyer activity, in all price ranges. Sales have been solid in Summerland, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, and Goleta as well this summer, but Montecito is running way out front in terms of percent of sales increase over the previous five years.

As I reported before, sales have been up considerably higher. Instead of the average 20+/- homes going into escrow during a summer month, we are seeing 40 or 50 homes fall under contract right now. As of last week, there are now nearly 60 homes in escrow/under contract right now, according to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

Overall in the 93108 zip code, there were 38+/- sales tracked in the MLS between July 15 to August 14, 2020 and 10 were over $5 million, the highest being a 1.38 acre tennis court estate, just blocks from the beach and Coast Village Road, selling for $10.75 million. This past week (August 7-14) saw 12 properties go into escrow, in just one week, with half of them in excess of $4 million and some seeing multiple offers.

It’s a feeding frenzy in the under $2.5 million market when something new hits the market. Notably a few listings in the Middle Road area have attracted attention and multiple offers. View properties are in high demand as are “Done” properties, meaning properties with new finishes, ready to move in.

With Montecito hosting roughly 3,500 households, if we see something like 350 sales this year, that might indicate a 10 percent shift in our population in just one year. Some people are moving away, others moving across town, and many sales are to what will be part-time homeowners, but nonetheless, many new owners are hitting the streets of the Upper and Lower villages and hopefully bringing with them a healthy dose of Montecito vibe.

It is hoped new residents will embrace many of our unspoken rules here, like no honking or aggressive driving on our country lanes, no throwing cigarette butts on the ground along Coast Village Road, letting neighbors cross a street or merge in traffic, wearing a mask in public for now, refraining from road rage, consideration of neighbors and noise. You know, just basic civilized behavior.

While many new listings have flown off the shelf quickly, and many existing listings finally found their buyers, I’d like to focus on a few homes that are surprisingly still on the market. All homes featured today have been on the market more than 200 days. But just because they have not sold, does not indicate anything other than they just have not found their soulmate yet. In fact, six months is not a long time on the market under normal times, but with the buyer frenzy hitting Montecito, and new listings hitting every day, it’s easy to overlook some homes that have been available prior to the pandemic.

When you compare amenities, views, square footage and other factors to their counterparts that have sold, you can see my confusion. These are amazing properties, some of which have reduced in price, making them even better opportunities. From a newly completed estate on upper Picacho Lane to a contemporary estate with tennis court in West Montecito, here are four ocean view properties not to be overlooked.

915 PARK LANE – $5,850,000

This contemporary estate sits atop Park Lane and was designed by notable architect Robert Klammer. The home offers a blend of airiness and light in a style that blends into the environmental surroundings and offers a big ocean view backdrop. At approximately 6,000+/- square-feet of living space, the interior can handle a crowd, but is scaled to function well for everyday use.

The entry wing offers an impressive two-story foyer with atrium and ridge skylights, a primary bedroom suite, home office and two guest bedroom suites. Entertaining spaces include the formal living/dining rooms, chef’s kitchen, breakfast nook and the adjoining family/media room.

Two additional bedroom suites and an art studio encompass the second story. Gated entry, central air conditioning, a motor court, three-bay garage and separate guesthouse and pool, round out the three-acre site, located in the Montecito Union School district.

811 CAMINO VIEJO ROAD – $7,495,000

With a 6,000+/- square foot main home and a 1,000+ square foot guesthouse, Casa Bene was designed and created by Donald Sharpe AIA. Incredible ocean, city, and mountain views are yours from this commanding knoll top property on the border between Montecito and Santa Barbara making this a very convenient, close in location.

A gated entry leads up the approximately 300-foot-long private drive ending at the vast motor court with the dramatic architecture as a backdrop. There is an open kitchen and family room, a formal dining room that flows to the double height living room with its walls of glass framing the views. All main rooms face the ocean view.

A sweeping staircase leads to either the private owners wing or the lower level bedrooms. The owner retreat features a study with fireplace and bookcases that shares a view terrace with the primary bedroom. The lower wing features four bedrooms and the poolroom with disappearing wall of glass leading to the pool.

A separate three-room, two-bath guest quarters with glass doors opens to coastline and mountain views. Down a garden path is a spa room and bath with ocean and mountain views. The well-landscaped 1.9+/- acre lot also features a tennis court.

956 MARIPOSA LANE – $9,950,000

Ocean views span the horizon of this gorgeous 2.5-acre estate in the foothills just above Lilac Drive. Moroccan influences and ultra-luxurious finishes create captivating interiors while stunning outdoor spaces foster an incredible lifestyle.

Offering 7,500+/- square feet of living space plus 1,225 square feet of other structures, the lavish and livable floor plan includes an expansive, ocean view, main floor primary bedroom with dual baths and a media room. Upstairs, a secret office opens to a private patio.

Public spaces open to the southern terrace, a perfect place to check the surf or watch the sunset. An impressive guesthouse is ideal for visitors. Central AC, lush botanicals, a private well, intimate terraces, tropical gardens, a pool and tennis court, all within the Montecito Union School district, make this an estate not to be missed and at less than $10 million, you can own this home for less than the previous owner paid approximately five years ago.

848 PICACHO LANE – $13,750,000

The elegant yet simple design, combined with ocean and mountain views and attention to architectural detail and craftsmanship are evident in this recently completed home. Mediterranean style, custom details and stone accents set the quality and tone throughout this home that rests near the top of Picacho Lane, in the Montecito Union School district.

The voluminous entry expresses openness, providing a worthy introduction to the remainder of the home. Access from the main street or off a private lane allows for parking of many cars on site for gatherings or daily living.

Elements of structure, finishes and classic features complement the intricate elements throughout this Jon Sorrell-designed home. The artful blend of hardscape and landscape elements merge to create a versatile compound on 2.19 acres of premier, Picacho Lane soil. Enjoy the more than 7,200 square feet of interior living space. Once outside, the outdoor living areas provide entertaining spaces, a pool and gardens. There is also a private well and central AC.

For information on any of these listings or to have me arrange a showing with one of the listing agents, please contact me directly, Mark@Villagesite.com or call/text 805-698-2174. Please view my website, www.MontecitoBestBuys.com, from which this article is based.


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