Falling Into 2023

By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   December 27, 2022

The Montecito real estate market is still defined by high prices and low inventory.

By the time this article hits the newsstands or your screen, it may indeed be Winter already, technically by the calendar anyway. However, it’s been cold like winter for a while now. Glad to have rain and weather. Local residents (and our “on again, off again” green lawn) are so grateful for the rain we have had in the past six weeks. 

For those who read my article regularly, you may have noticed that for the first time in 10 years, I took a bit of time off. With both a family trip to India and other related day in and day out happenings in our lives, I took a moment. 

However, I have kept up on the Montecito real estate market from my computer and so far, for all of November and the first half of December, sales in Montecito totaled 13 (homes and condos) as listed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This number is down from last year at this time, and is well below 2020 November/December numbers as well. 

That said, the market cannot be judged as being slow or a down market, just more, well, normal. Montecito’s 13 sales in six weeks (in the MLS) is not an extremely low number on average for a November/December start when looking back over the past 15 years (selling 10 or so homes a month in November or December is not far from the average). Also of note, top prices being paid continues to be a trend in the area. Even those homes selling below asking price are still moving at prices that are higher than they would have, just a couple of years back.

From a beach-area one-bedroom Condo at Bonnymede closing for $1,830,000 to a long-on-the-market estate at Hot Springs and East Valley Road finally selling for $11,500,000, prices remain high for those looking to buy. In November and early December, we also saw multiple sales in the $5’s, an $8M, a mid $6’s, and a few $3 and $4M homes selling. A few of these sales were “off market” sales, which continues to be a growing share of the overall number of sales in Montecito month over month (not to mention the larger VIP sales that never see the light of day unless the press gets hold of the deal).

As for what is available on the market now? Not a lot. There are only 29 homes and condos for sale in the MLS as of this writing (mid-December), and that’s as low as I’ve ever seen it. If you are a buyer and you want to see something in the 93108 that’s in the $3 to $5 million range, there are only five properties to show you. There are six homes and condos for sale under $3M, mostly smaller homes on small lots and a couple of condos, but hey, there are homes available under $3M and a couple of them are in the Montecito Union School District, so…

You will also find a couple of homes for sale over $10M, but they jump up to $22M, $33M, and $68M for the most expensive listing in Montecito in the MLS, a 10.5-acre historic estate in the center of the Golden Quadrangle. 

Here are a few properties available in various price ranges, as we head toward the new year.

438 Seaview Road – $2,850,000

Located on a less traveled street just two short blocks to Montecito Union School, near Montecito’s Upper Village amenities including Upper and Lower Manning parks and the YMCA, this charming three-bedroom, two-bathroom home offers an open floor plan, vaulted ceilings, formal dining room, and sunny kitchen with dining area and pantry. 

There is a spacious main level primary suite with closets and storage, an attached two-car garage, and private backyard. Enjoy this centrally located, peaceful, and quiet home near the beach for the same price or less than a condo in the area. There are only three listings on the market in the Montecito Union School District under $3,000,000 right now and this is one of them.

1255 Mesa Road – $5,250,000

This San Ysidro Ranch-style home is tucked down a private drive off the street, in Montecito’s highly desired Lower Village. Sited on nearly half an acre, enjoy a peaceful park-like setting while remaining close to restaurants, shops, and the beach. The single-level home features four bedrooms, three bathrooms, vaulted wood-beamed ceilings, hardwood floors, numerous French doors, newly updated kitchen, and formal dining and media rooms. 

The primary bedroom features a private reading nook, walk-in closet, and picturesque garden views. California landscaping frames a bocce court, pergola, fruit trees, lawn, a detached bonus studio with bath and a detached two-car garage. This home is located within the Montecito Union School District and is situated in the coastal zone, offering an enviable opportunity to experience your own tranquil hideaway on a low traffic street, in a prime location.

1564 Ramona Lane – $9,500,000

Just a couple of blocks to Miramar Beach in one direction and Montecito Union School in the other, rests this Harriet Moody storybook cottage on nearly one acre in Montecito’s highly sought-after Hedgerow neighborhood. The enchanting main cottage and pool house have been renovated by DD Ford. Inside and out, nearly every surface has been touched by substantial upgrades including a new roof, light fixtures, paint, fully redesigned kitchen, bathroom vanities and showers, custom shelving, storage, and more. Outside, the pool has been upgraded with all-new app-controlled equipment and a new pool cover, and the pool and hot tub areas have been tiled and resurfaced. 

The redesigned chef’s kitchen offers eye-catching clean lines and a stunning skylight designed by Marc Appleton. Dual primary suites on the main floor are tucked away on opposite wings of the home for privacy. The upper level hosts two one-bed/one-bath suites featuring vaulted open-beam ceilings and sunny dormers. Adjacent to the pool area is a one-bed/one-bath guesthouse offering more than 500 square feet of living space. A brick motor court paves the entrance to the property and a two-car garage with an additional full-size laundry area is attached to the main cottage. 

1556 Miramar Beach – $9,995,000

On a private, gated lane on Montecito’s Miramar Beach, this recently renovated oceanfront property defines modern, California oceanfront living. White sand beaches and the Pacific Ocean with views to the islands and beyond are your backyard with an enviable, world-class location just a few doors down from the Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort and just a few blocks to the shops and restaurants in Montecito’s Lower Village on Coast Village Road. 

A truly luxurious beach home, the residence is equipped with high-end, high-tech finishes, a retractable skylight on the entry level and bi-fold doors on each floor leading to large private balconies. A carefree experience awaits with whole home security, app-controlled amenities and numerous modern lock-n-leave features allowing easy access for short- or long-term living at the beach. Additionally, homes on Miramar Beach are within the Montecito Union School District.  


You might also be interested in...