Real Estate Roundup, SYV Edition

By Kelly Mahan Herrick   |   July 18, 2023

Many Santa Barbarians, Montecitans, and Los Angelenos have caught on to what Santa Ynez Valley locals have known for decades: livin’ is good in the SYV. With several unique areas from which to choose, each with their own culture, lifestyle, and merits, it’s no wonder that residency in the Valley has exploded over the past few years, with people wanting to get back to a quieter, easier way of life. Here’s an insider look at the Valley and beyond, along with year-to-date stats, notable sales, and available listings. 

Santa Ynez

The Happy Canyon Premier Equestrian Facility is the highest-priced listing on the market in Santa Ynez, and features numerous barns and residences, as well as equestrian facilities (listed by Brett Ellingsberg and Claire Hanssen of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties)

Downtown Santa Ynez, with its bustling shopping and restaurant scene, is one of the Valley’s most coveted areas. The downtown district is flanked by gorgeous wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms, most of which feature beautiful mountain or valley views. 

There have been 24 home sales in Santa Ynez this year, ranging in price from a $805K fixer within walking distance to town, to a nearly $6M, 20-acre property in Woodstock Ranch. This is down nearly 30% from 2022, when there were 34 sales in the same time frame. 

The sales in Santa Ynez in the first half of the year were varied in terms of price, condition, location, size, and acreage. Buyers ranged from first-time homeowners eager to get in the market, to seasoned equestrians and ranchers trading up, to Valley newbies from Los Angeles and beyond, securing their wine country estates. There were sales in Skyline Park, downtown Santa Ynez, and Woodstock Ranch, among other, more rural areas. Notable sales include the Tres Pinos Ranch, which had never been for sale since it was purchased as raw land in 1926 and sold with multiple offers in February ($1,375,000), and the Jenni Kayne Ranch, which sold in April for $5,995,000. The 20-acre ranch is located in the Woodstock Ranch community, and was beautifully remodeled by designer Jenni Kayne. It was purchased by a buyer from out of state. 

The Jenni Kayne Ranch on Live Oak Road sold for $5,995,000 in April (listed by Laura Drammer, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties)

Currently on the market in Santa Ynez there are 16 properties, ranging in price from $995K to $20M. Those looking for expansive acreage should seek out Santa Ynez: there are currently multiple properties listed on over 125 acres. 

One of Santa Ynez’s most notable available listings is the Happy Canyon Premier Equestrian Facility, which is situated on 160 acres and includes a professional racing track and multiple barns including a 37-stall Show Barn, 17-stall Foaling Barn, 30-stall Yearling Barn, 24-stall Breeding Barn with apartment, 8-stall Stallion Barn, 70+ individual paddocks with in/out shelters, 20+ turn-out pastures and dozens of pens, and multiple residences including a comfortable two-bedroom, two-bath main residence; two-bedroom, two-bath guest house; three-bedroom, two-bath manager’s house; breeding barn apartment; studio apartment; and employee housing with 24 units. The property is listed for $19,995,000. 


“The Danish Capital of America” brings droves of tourists every season to enjoy a slice of Danish culture. With over 120 boutiques, wineries, European bakeries, and restaurants, downtown Solvang is a highlight of the Valley. With several unique neighborhoods ranging from tract home developments to larger ranches, Solvang real estate is also bustling, drawing in families, second home buyers, and ranchers. 

Solvang has seen the sale of 38 homes, condos, and PUDs, ranging in price from a $475K 1/1 condo to a $15M, off-market, 20-acre ranch. Sales ranged from areas of Fredensborg Canyon Road, to the quaint neighborhoods of downtown, to Sunrise Village, Skytt Mesa, Village Collection, Viking Hills, and others. 

“The Duck Club” is the highest-priced home currently available in Solvang, sitting on 25 acres and featuring a private lake among other amenities (listed by Kate Campbell of Engel & Voelkers Santa Ynez)

Two homes have sold this year in Alisal Ranch; when one purchases a home in the Ranch, the home is owned but the land is not, and there is a separate land lease that is readjusted every 10 years. There was a time when homes in this community were sold at about half the price of a comparable, fee simple home in Solvang. Now, homes in the Ranch sell for nearly the same market value that they would if the land was owned instead of leased. Residency at Alisal is attractive for downsizers, golfers, and anyone who wants to live a lifestyle with a tight-knit community, behind gates, and just minutes away from the amenities of the Alisal Guest Ranch. There are many former Montecito residents who live at the Ranch. 

Currently on the market in Solvang are 15 condos, homes, and ranch properties. They range from a 2/2 Rosenberg Estates condo walking distance to downtown, to the exclusive Duck Club property, which is a hidden gem nestled between Brave & Maiden and Sunstone vineyards. Sitting on 25 acres, the property boasts a swim-able, 2-acre private lake for all your water recreation. The 5-bedroom, 6.5-bath home is exquisite, and features the highest level of finishes. The property is listed for $16.9M. 

Los Olivos

The market has been quiet in Los Olivos, with only three sales the first half of the year, compared to 10 last year. The quaint, picturesque town is one of the most coveted parts of the Valley, boasting a bustling downtown with many tasting rooms, award-winning eateries, beautiful boutiques, and a laid-back culture. 

This equestrian estate is currently the only active listing in Los Olivos (listed for $2,899,000 by Adam McKaig of Douglas Elliman)
The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern has reopened with a new concept and operator, making it a significant destination in Los Olivos (courtesy photo)

The most significant news out of Los Olivos this year is the opening of The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern as a luxury resort, managed by Auberge. The property is a former stagecoach stop of the 1800s, which once offered lodging for travelers making the trek between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Its storied past includes multiple owners and concepts, and now, the reopening earlier this year has brought more attention to Los Olivos and the Valley as a whole, cementing it as a vibrant vacation destination. The remodel has respected the original, historic charm of the property, but elevated the style and design. The Inn at Mattei’s Tavern offers 67 guest rooms, an upscale, saloon-style bar, several eateries, a pool, gym, and event space. The property caters to guests as well as locals, and there is a local membership available. 

The three homes that have sold were priced between $1.5M and $3.1M, and all are within walking distance to the downtown district. There is currently just one home for sale in Los Olivos: a $2.9M, 20-acre equestrian estate.


This cute-as-a-button 3/2 on Park Street in Buellton sold in February for $860K (listed by Allan Jones of Santa Ynez Valley Real Estate)

Charming and picturesque Buellton has had just 19 condo, PUD and single family home sales the first half of the year, which is down about 50% over a normal year. The lack of inventory is a symptom of several factors, including the increased interest rates, which is keeping sellers in their homes because they don’t want to trade in their current mortgage rate. 

Vega Vineyard & Farm is Buellton’s newest winery, and has been warmly welcomed by the community

Sales this year range from a 2/1 condo on Central Avenue for $480K to a 1-acre property with two separate homes on it for $1,060,000. There were five condos sold in Vineyard Village, Buellton’s newest condo development, and a handful of homes sold in Thumbelina, Rancho De Maria, Flag Hill Estates, Meadow Ridge, and Oak Creek Estates. Interestingly, no homes have been sold in Sycamore Ranch, Buellton’s newest single-family home tract, although there are currently three listings there that have all been on the market well over 100 days. 

Buellton is the Valley’s most popular town for commuters who work in Goleta or Santa Barbara. A quick jaunt down the Gaviota coast is an easy choice for buyers who find that their money goes so much further in Buellton and in the Valley in general. The town has a tightknit community feel, and has welcomed a handful of new eateries and wineries the last year. 

Vega Vineyard & Farm is Buellton’s newest winery, offering wine tasting, a robust food menu from award-winning chefs, farm animals, a petting zoo, and more on its historic ranch on Santa Rosa Road. The property has been warmly welcomed by the community, and is packed every weekend. Also new to Buellton is Na Na Thai, an authentic Thai food restaurant owned by a couple who successfully hosted weekly Thai pop-ups at Bar Le Cote in Los Olivos for a year before taking the plunge to open their own eatery. 

There are currently six homes and condos for sale in Buellton, ranging from a 2/2 condo on Central Avenue for $529K to $1,495,000 two-story home in Sycamore Ranch that offers a nearly 3,000-square-foot main house, full separate guest house, and casita.

Los Alamos

Considered to be on the north end of the Santa Ynez Valley, the chic, charming town of Los Alamos has had a strong first half of the year with nine real estate sales. Last year that number was seven sales, with a whopping 18 sales in 2021! Los Alamos is also somewhat of a commuter community, with close proximity to wine country, Santa Maria, and San Luis Obispo. 

Los Alamos best buy: 630 Main Street is a 3/3 farmhouse with garage and workshop, listed for $1,295,000 (listed by Laura Drammer of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties)

Sales in Los Alamos ranged from a 2/1 fixer for $450K to a spacious home on St. Joseph Street that closed for $1,445,000. Current listings include six homes ranging in price from $995K to $9.9M. The latter is set on Foxen Canyon Road on 575 acres, affording buyers privacy and space. 

One of the best buys in the Valley right now is in Los Alamos: 630 Main Street, which is listed for $1,295,000. It’s a gorgeous farmhouse on a picturesque street, with a large garage and workshop that has potential for an ADU. The .23-acre property is just a quick walk to downtown Los Alamos, with its charming shops, award-winning eateries, and coveted small-town feel. Los Alamos offers close proximity to wine country, Santa Maria, and San Luis Obispo, and has recently become a destination for winemakers, who have taken advantage of the lower price points.  


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