Falling for Fall with Hope for Rain Soon

By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   September 28, 2021

It seems as if fall has arrived a tad unannounced, at least for me. I had been waiting for those definite signs of summer: feeling unbearably hot, the ocean warming up considerably for at least a few weeks, and that moment when one starts looking forward to cooler weather. The May Gray/June Gloom hung in there though — well it’s still hanging in there actually, even today as I type, the sun thus far is a no show.

That said, I find it lovely in Montecito whether sunny, foggy, day or night. Home buyers seem to agree, noting the 33+/- home sales in August, and 11 closed escrows through the first 17 days of September in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). It seems our real estate market is still going strong, delivering sales numbers and prices that are above average month after month.

However, it does seem at this point, after four or five months of slowing since the peak months back, that the overall madness of 40 to 50 home sales per month is over — for now. More homes on the market might help bring numbers higher, but for now we are averaging around 25 to 30 home sales per month and we’re on track for the same in September thus far.

There are, as of September 17, only 45 homes and condos on the market in the MLS in Montecito’s 93108 zip code. From the low $2 million for a one-bedroom condo near Butterfly Beach to your pick of two multi-acre estates not far from one another as the crow flies, both listed just over $70 million. Additionally of note is that there are only a few homes to choose from in any price point, especially under $8 million. So, if you are looking for a nice four-bedroom home under $4 million, then you have just a few choices, not even a full handful. 

Buyer needs are still strong, and people are looking for the right house. We see the emails from agents looking for this or that style or size of home, so we know more buyers are out there. Here are four homes for sale to consider, all under $8 million, and all in the highly desirable Montecito Union School District.

513 Crocker Sperry Drive – $5,795,000

Renowned architect Jack Warner designed this contemporary residence in his signature style with a seamless flow throughout. Set on 1.3 acres within the Birnam Wood Golf Club, and not far from the clubhouse, the single-level home offers 4,300-plus square feet of living space and boasts a recent renovation by Dreams & Designs, which added the latest luxury finishes and enhanced the open floor plan.

The home is filled with light from many windows and glass doors that lead to the Isabel Greene-designed gardens that feature drought tolerant mature plantings and patios that showcase the mountain views. The light-filled primary suite enjoys mountain views, a bathroom with steam shower, bubbler tub, and heated marble floors. Each of the three secondary bedroom suites enjoy their own lushly landscaped patios.

175 Miramar Avenue – $5,850,000

With roots dating back to the 1920s and the original design by the highly regarded local architect, George Washington Smith, this Hedgerow charmer is quite unique. An unusual design concept for the father of Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture, the French Normandy style home features four en-suite bedrooms plus an office, four and a half bathrooms, a romantic living room with open beam ceiling and cozy fireplace, a formal dining room, and kitchen with a butler’s pantry and garden views.

Recently renovated to incorporate modern luxuries and conveniences, the home boasts a primary suite replete with a walk-in closet and a bathroom with a separate shower and soaking tub. Most rooms on the main level open out to the enchanting grounds, which host a red brick patio and pathways, an emerald lawn, and productive citrus trees. This home is just blocks to Miramar Beach or up the street to Montecito Union School and the Upper Village.

1780 Glen Oaks Drive – $6,295,000

Modern luxury and a rustic aesthetic coexist on this 2.41-acre property at the end of a long, winding drive in the Glen Oaks neighborhood not far from the Upper Village in Montecito. Upon entering the 5,300-plus-square-foot residence, take in the dramatic living room, featuring a stunning mix of wood and stone, which leads to an interior courtyard, paneled library, and screened porch. 

The ultimate gathering spot, the kitchen opens to a large deck with views over the property and beyond. Each of the four bedroom suites take in the views through multiple windows and doors. Outside find the private drive, parking for guests, multiple paths, bridges, an outdoor pavilion, and a babbling creek, all inviting exploration and enjoyment. The adjacent 1.15-acre lot may also be purchased (as of this writing, asking $1,695,000), to allow more room to roam or to add additional structures.

430 Hot Springs Road – $7,990,000

The onetime home of Montecito’s legendary Moody sisters, who were celebrated for designing a number of Montecito’s, ‘’Moody Sisters Cottages,” The Peppers Estate welcomes guests with a circular motor court and impressive entrance. Across the threshold, a formal foyer is flanked by a reception library, parlor and powder room. Grand scale is evident throughout. Rich hardwood flooring melds with classic wainscoting and crown molding. 

Noted for the Grand Ballroom that was designed by Hearst Castle’s illustrious architect Julia Morgan, the home is large for the lot size and in a very convenient location between the Upper and Lower villages and just a few blocks to Montecito Union School. The 8,100-square-foot home boasts a whopping nine bedrooms and eight bathrooms in the main home, and a one-bedroom, one-bath guest house that once served as the library for the property. There is a separate greenhouse as well.


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