Falling into Fall

By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   November 9, 2021

As the weather teases us between hot and cold, and as the first rain falls and the clocks prepare to turn back time, we start looking ahead to the holidays, a new year, and we say hello to a lot of new neighbors. By my estimate, in the past 18 months we have seen approximately 20% of all homes in Montecito change hands. Some have changed hands more than once in that time and not all sales were to people from out of the area, but a walk past Lucky’s or other top spots on a Saturday night will tell you that there are a lot of new faces in town.

October stats pulled from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for Montecito’s home sales (93108) are something of a surprise, but at some point, this was bound to happen — we had the lowest number of home sales and the lowest number of homes going into escrow than in any other month since May 2020. Currently — as of Halloween morning — we have the lowest number of homes and condos available on the market that probably has ever been in decades with just 39 homes or condos to choose from, between $2.5 million and $74 million, and not much in between.

Does this signal a slowdown or is the lower sales volume just a reflection of the low inventory? We shall see. I’m not making any predictions one way or the other, as we have seen big months next to small months and then big sales volume again the next.

For those who like statistics, here are the numbers for October, as reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS):

There were just 18 closed escrows in the greater 93108 in October, with a high of $10 million in the Sea Meadow development at Miramar Beach and a low of $865,000 for a one-bedroom condo just around the corner and up the street from Butterfly Beach. This is down from the recent few months average of 25 or so sales per month. Only 12 properties went pending (into escrow) in October, which is a very low number for any month and likely indicates that closed sales in November will be lower than previous months as well — unless we see multiple “off market” sales in the coming weeks. Additionally, there were only 14 new listings (homes and condos) in October, so the closed sales and pending sales more than doubled the number of new listings, leaving us with just 39 homes and condos on the market as of October 31.

So, if you are still looking for that Montecito dream home, here are a few options which represent 10% of all homes available in the area.

743 Woodland Drive – $5,795,000

This recently renovated four-bedroom, four-bathroom residence boasts over 4,300 square feet of living space and offers mountain views, custom details, designer stone finishes, rich oak floors, a charming front entryway, remodeled kitchen with Miele appliances and bathrooms with Dornbracht fixtures, informal and formal living and dining spaces, multiple fireplaces, and an open floor plan. 

Outside enjoy the amenities including a versatile sport court, pool/spa, outdoor kitchen, raised firepit, bocce court, vegetable and rose gardens, and fruit orchard. Sun-soaked rooms fill the home. The main level hosts the three guest bedrooms, each with an accompanying full bathroom, while the upper level is devoted to the primary suite, which features a private office space, lavish en-suite bath with a Waterworks freestanding tub, dual vanities, and two large walk-in closets. 

Homes on Woodland Drive are in the western part of Montecito and are convenient to both the Upper and Lower villages as well as to downtown Santa Barbara.

2794 Bella Vista Drive – $10,750,000 

This ocean view retreat boasts luxury at every turn and an ambiance of relaxed sophistication and seamless indoor/outdoor living. State-of-the-art renovations complement the panoramic ocean, island, and mountain views. Embraced by the serene natural setting, the compound-like Spanish Colonial-style estate features a five-bedroom, seven-bath main residence, a detached one-bedroom, one-bath guest house, and an extensive list of indoor and outdoor amenities. 

Enjoy ocean views from the primary suite, replete with a private ocean view patio, en-suite bathroom, versatile bonus room, and large walk-in closet. The chef’s kitchen is fitted with top-of-the-line appliances and custom steel bi-fold French doors leading to the resort-like grounds. 

The approximately 3.48-acre lot provides privacy and room for many patios and outdoor dining areas, an awe-inspiring infinity pool and spa, meandering pathways that guide one through the vibrant orchard to the sport court and nearby emerald lawn. In addition, the property also hosts a private well, back-up generator, two two-car garages, and a convenient outdoor shower.

595 Picacho Lane – $14,900,000

Welcome to Valleywood, a three-plus-acre legacy estate on Picacho Lane, arguably one of the most important streets in the 93108, with sales common near or well over $10 million (and a recent sale of $55 million just across the street). Located within the Montecito Union School District and very near the Upper Village, this iconic compound dates to the 1930s and is nestled on a gorgeous oak-studded property with expansive lawns, pathways, and entertaining areas offering mountain views and peeks of the ocean. 

The five-bedroom residence beautifully frames the lush and level grounds and is filled with natural light. Spacious rooms open to the lawns and are ideal for entertaining. A pool, cabana, guest studio, and the original stables (now an office) round out the estate and are great spaces for loved ones, work, and play. Gracious gardens and stone walls offer a nod to the famed sunken gardens at the Santa Barbara Courthouse. Irreplaceable ancient oak trees anchor the property and a long, private drive and motor court impresses upon arrival. 

848 Hot Springs Road – $19,995,000

Built in 2014 and pushing the boundaries of high style and luxury living to new heights, this estate of nearly 12,000 square feet is unmatched for vision, flair, and architectural detail. Villa Tragara is positioned at the corner of East Mountain Drive and Hot Springs Road, an enviable location with other major estates all around. 

The idyllic 2.45-acre ocean view lot provides the resting space for this one-of-a-kind home. Designed to wow and impress, every space has been executed with emotion and intention delivering a unique experience when compared to other estate homes on the market. The interiors are filled with light, drama, grand scale, and a vibe that to me promotes creativity and inspiration. 

Outside, gardens overflow with exotic plants and lush lawns leading past a babbling stream into a swimming pond, overlooking a bocce court, sport court, firepit, and an olive orchard — all just blocks from the Upper Village and within the Montecito Union School District. This home was recently reduced in price and is now available for less than $20 million, a bargain it might seem in today’s higher-priced market considering the location, size of home, amenities, ocean views, and other features.


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