Where to Start

By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   June 20, 2023

Well, it’s just about the start of summer, or almost. Solstice is next week and don’t even get me started about the May gray and the June gloom, oops, too late. But on a sunnier note, let’s start with Montecito Real Estate stats, about as good a place to start as any. As I reported in this column last month, overall sales volume was low during the first four months of 2023 and available housing inventory was on the rise in April into May. Well, looking back now on May, closed sales were up considerably and inventory remained about the same as April, with sales prices continuing to impress.

There were 22 home sales in Montecito’s 93108 in May, as reported in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). That is nearly double April’s closed escrow numbers with three sales over $10mil and three sales under $3mil, putting the bulk of sales between $3mil and $10mil with many in the now-middle of the Montecito market, the $5mil to $8mil range. 

There were, of course, a few off-market sales as usual. Noting that most months have somewhere between four and eight off-market sales, but because the MLS is the best indicator we have and is by far the largest reporting vehicle, let’s stick with their stats a moment. In May, the MLS had 22 sales – which is good for any year – and certainly an improvement over recent months where we had not seen 22 sales in a single month since earlier in 2022. 

There are currently 50+/- homes and condos on the market in the MLS in Montecito’s 93108. This is about the same inventory we saw bump up in April/May and is up nearly double from two or three months back when we only had 28+/- homes and condos to choose from. There are just very few homes under $5,000,000 to choose from and fewer over $10,000,000 than in years past, and the range in the middle sells quickly – leaving anxious buyers with fewer choices, especially in the under $3mil market.

Just five years ago you could purchase a starter home in Montecito all day long for less than $2mil – cottages, fixers on smaller lots, beach area condos, etc. As of this writing, there are only three options to purchase in the 93108 under $3M, nothing for sale under $2M at all. So, if you are looking for a smaller, starter home, keep your eyes open and be pre-approved for a loan if you need one. Cash is better. And be ready to bid against others looking for that entry-level opportunity. However, if you are looking for what Montecito is more and more known for, an estate level property, then you have more options.

Consider one of these lovely properties if you are looking in the $10mil +/- range.

1970 Lemon Ranch Road – $10,000,000

Bespoke in guard-gated Birnam Wood, this French-country inspired home has never been on the market. The custom three-bedroom, five-bathroom residence with meticulous attention to detail features a travertine-walled domed entry foyer, antiqued wood floors, vaulted beamed and coffered ceilings, upholstered and Venetian plastered walls, elegant French doors with custom hardware, four fireplaces, a climate-controlled wine room, oversized garage, and chef’s kitchen – all within the Montecito Union School District. Relax in the substantial library in front of the fire, entertain in the grand living room, or feast with family and friends in the elegant dining room with its Provence feeling south-facing views. 

The elegant primary suite opens to a pool terrace and beautifully designed garden spaces including approximately 150 rose bushes. The home was designed by Bob Ray Offenhauser AIA and Built by Unander Associates in 2005, with landscape design by Sydney Baumgartner. Birnam Wood homeowners automatically become members of the private, full-service golf club with premier dining, golf, tennis, fitness, and social programs. Initial Corporate fee and both Club and HOA Monthly fees apply.

811 Camino Viejo Road – $10,750,000 

Casa Bene is an architectural, contemporary, multi-level estate situated on a prestigious, knoll-top location, offering breathtaking views of the ocean, islands, harbor, city, and mountains. Enter the property via a long private drive that leads to an impressive motor court, with the grand architecture of the property as a stunning backdrop. Boasting over 6,000 square feet and a total of seven bedrooms and seven and a half bathrooms, the thoughtfully designed floor plan allows for both intimate gatherings and large-scale entertainment. Nearly every room offers unparalleled ocean views. 

The living room features a high cedar ceiling, custom lighting, a stunning fireplace, and a dramatic south-facing wall of glass that frames the panoramic ocean and island views. The luxurious primary suite hosts a walk-in closet, en-suite bath, and two private terraces. The beautifully landscaped 1.92+/- acre lot affords room for the spectacular pool, spa, and tennis court. Centrally located, this home is near to all that Montecito and Santa Barbara have to offer.

850 Romero Canyon Road – $10,995,000 

An acre of land, privacy, mountain and ocean views, sophisticated design, luxe amenities, and private magical gardens define the ultimate Montecito retreat. This Mediterranean estate boasts these features and is located within the Montecito Union School District as well. The property is surrounded by many other one-acre and multi-acre homes and estates. Nestled in the lower foothills of Romero Canyon Road, the home and other structures offer nearly 7,000 square feet and include five bedrooms and eight bathrooms throughout.

Gracious public spaces are filled with natural light, opening to an expansive outdoor oasis boasting park-like grounds and lovely views. A spacious primary suite enjoys an ocean-view balcony and office, and three additional en-suite bedrooms offer accommodations for family and guests. A lower-level game room and wine cellar add an extra layer of entertainment, while a solar-heated pool and spa, pool house, guest house, and bocce ball court offer endless possibilities for indoor and outdoor enjoyment. 

303 Meadowbrook Drive – $12,200,000 

Located within the guarded gates of the prestigious Ennisbrook community, this resort-like estate showcases contemporary architecture, panoramic ocean and island views from nearly every room, and a seamless indoor/outdoor flow. Situated on 1.38 acres, this spectacular home enjoys an entry-level primary suite, four guest bedrooms (each en-suite) with patio and garden access, a pool, spa, pool cabana, and remarkable gardens. The kitchen features a large chef’s island with built-in sink and bar seating. The open-concept dining and family room area opens to a covered stone patio with dramatic views. The primary suite includes a walk-in closet, ocean view patio, and spa-like bathroom. 

Once outside, an enchanting garden oasis features a variety of fruit trees, flower gardens, tiered lawns, loggias, and patios. Shared community amenities include two heated pools, three championship tennis courts, pickle ball, gym, private wine lockers, basketball court, BBQ facilities, 50 acres of protected open space and a clubhouse. Homes at Ennisbrook are within the Montecito Union School District.  


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