Author spotlight: Mark Ashton Hunt

Mark and his wife Sheela live in Montecito and are Real Estate agents with Village Properties. His family goes back over 100 years in the SB/Montecito area and Mark's grandparents, Bill and Elsie Hunt, were Santa Barbara Real Estate brokers for 25 years.

Got Montecito?! The Many Neighborhoods of Montecito
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   July 9, 2024

When we say “Montecito” nowadays, that word carries a lot more weight to those outside our realm than it did five years ago. Before the Rosewood at Miramar caught the eye of L.A., and before we all knew the term “working remotely.” More than the perception of Montecito as it has long been, a land […]

Living in the Bubble
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   May 7, 2024

I often feel as if today’s Montecito real estate market is something of a bubble. Not that it is a bubble about to burst, rather the bubble we live in, where the outside world does not seem to exist. We have everything we need right here it feels. And as for home prices, we have […]

Aahhh The Sweet Smells of An Early Spring in Montecito
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   March 26, 2024

By the time you read this, it might already be spring, (at least by the calendar). The jasmine is in bloom, and if you look up on the hills you can see the ceanothus blooming, creating pockets of bright color amongst the green. Additionally, we are still enjoying the clear skies and the lovely winter […]

A Rainy Yet Bright Start to 2024
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   February 20, 2024

In 2024, sales are up in Montecito – in both volume and prices. What a whopping start to 2024 for the high-end real estate market here in Montecito’s 93108. As I type, just 40 days into the new year, we have seen a total of 17 sales in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), with two […]

Revisiting the 2023 Real Estate Market Montecito’s Housing DNA: A Market with Good Bones, Strong(ish), and in for the Long Haul
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   January 9, 2024

Cheers to you all and Happy New Year, 2024! Thank you to the Montecito Journal team for providing me this forum, and to the readers who keep me on my toes to bring you the most up-to-date activity and trends month to month in our Montecito, 93108 Real Estate market.  Throughout 2023 (much like at […]

$12M Is the New $7M: Grateful to be living in Montecito
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   November 28, 2023

Month after month, year after year I keep pinching myself when I realize we live in Montecito. Though we work hard and sometimes struggle to stay here, it is by no means an accident. We thought of all the places in the world (ok the southern West Coast) where we could raise our daughter and […]

Fall-ing Into the New Normal Market
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   October 31, 2023

Fewer sales, higher prices, steady as she goes… or is there a sales slowdown ahead? From this summer’s highest prices, yet slower than recent year’s summer sales volume, to now fall peaks and valleys and Ellen’s new fantasy listing, our market is one thing one month and another the next. What is consistent though, is […]

Something for Everyone
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   September 5, 2023

It was nice to wake up to sun this morning. We have had our share of ‘Faugust’ mornings and I’m still not sure summer fully happened. The long days of light are dimming yet it’s still lovely and soon will be less crowded on Coast Village Road on the weekends. Locals, get ready for September […]

The Many Neighborhoods of Montecito
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   July 18, 2023

When you decide to move to Montecito or if you live here already, you are likely aware that there are many smaller neighborhoods within the greater 93108, each offering their own charm, advantages, and distinct personality. From the Hedgerows to Eucalyptus Hill, to Toro Canyon, the beach area, and the Golden Quadrangle, it’s all good […]

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 […]

Inventory is Up
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   May 23, 2023

This week it’s all about the Montecito market, and I don’t mean the Upper Village grocery store. I’m talking about the Montecito real estate market.  After months of low-housing inventory and lower, post-pandemic sales volume (OK, make that a year or so), we are finally seeing a restocking of the available homes for sale in […]

First Quarter Real Estate Update for Montecito’s 93108
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   April 11, 2023

The rain has stopped and the sun has been shining for several days in a row now – which is a relief. Creeks are relaxing, as are residents. Montecito and her flood and debris flow prevention steps clearly worked during the larger storms that presented themselves this first quarter of 2023. What a wet and […]

A Scarcity of Abundance
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   February 7, 2023

If you are looking for a significant estate in Montecito and are willing and comfortable paying over $10,000,000 to get it, I would in normal years have 25 or 30 homes to show you, most of them in the $10 to $20 range… million that is. However, in the aftermath of the estate rush that […]

New Year’s Rains and Last Year’s Market
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   January 17, 2023

It’s 2023 and it already feels like a different world. So much steady rain filling reservoirs, cleaning streets (into the ocean sadly), giving us something to really celebrate in the new year. They say that when it is raining is actually a great time to see a home you are considering buying. Watching how the […]

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 […]

Montecito’s Home Building Renaissance
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   October 25, 2022

We are experiencing a home remodel and new building renaissance in Montecito that I have not seen in my 20 years living here, nor in the 20 years prior when I would visit family in the area. Very few blocks are without construction of some sort. One thousand (give or take) new homeowners have bought […]

Summer Home Buying Spree Continues… With no fall in sight (other than the weather and earlier sunsets)
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   September 27, 2022

The calendar may say that we are heading into fall, but the Montecito Real Estate market is not falling at all, not here in the 93108. It seems like full steam ahead for buyers looking to become part of this community. Taking a quick look back at August, there were only 12 sales reported in […]

Ins and Outs: Montecito and Her Many Special Neighborhoods
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   August 9, 2022

Montecito is a small town with a big presence, and it’s not just our famous residents… it’s this place. Just a mile or few from the ocean to the highest home on the hill. Nature all around. Creeks and hiking trails, small chic shops, and amazing restaurants, a reputation warranted and earned over the last […]

No June Gloom… At Least Not in the Real Estate Market
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   June 28, 2022

While it might be foggy here and there thus far in June, it’s been lovely just the same. The dividing argument of whether the fog line is at Montecito Union School or whether it’s East Valley Road (just a block apart but worth the discussion), is one of the longer running debates you might hear […]

A Season of Change
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   June 14, 2022

The seasons are changing, and so is the Real Estate market… at least that’s the way the numbers are rolling out here, nearly halfway through 2022, with most months being down in sales volume from the month before. Now I know, many will say it’s because of low inventory, and that’s true, or partly true. […]

April Showers… A Few at Least
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   May 10, 2022

The warmer than winter weather and the longer days of sunshine make April an especially lovely time of year in Montecito. Falling after the colder and shorter winter months and coming usually before the May Gray or dreaded June Gloom (fog), April is often a mix of all the seasons in one month. Freezing nights […]

March Was Madness
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   April 12, 2022

A whopping half of all homes for sale in Montecito’s 93108 zip code are priced over $10,000,000 While I don’t follow March Madness basketball, I do follow the Montecito Real Estate market, house by house, sale by sale, and March was indeed Madness. While an average March might bring 18+/- sales, March 2022 showed strong […]

February Stats and My 10th Anniversary with the Montecito Journal
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   March 15, 2022

This spring marks my 10th anniversary writing about Real Estate for the Montecito Journal and I just want to say how appreciative I am, to the publication and to the local Real Estate agents, who have allowed me this forum to share my insights on the market and the Montecito area during this past decade. […]

The High End Keeps Going Higher
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   February 15, 2022

For one of the longer months of the year, January came and went quickly it seemed. Many lovely days, a bit of good winter surf, and some big estate sales in Montecito as well. So far, this year we are seeing the same low available housing inventory as in months past and at the same […]

Montecito’s Market
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   January 25, 2022

If  you are moving to Montecito, you are likely doing so for a specific reason or for a few. We arrived 20 years ago to raise our daughter here, among the many generations of family we had in the area at the time, and so we could reset from city life to a more chill, […]

2021 Near Year-End Real Estate Update for Montecito
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   December 28, 2021

Happy Holidays and all my best to everyone out there in Montecito. Cheers to all of those who make and keep this such a special place and welcome to those who are spending their first holiday season living here in town.  We all know the real estate market has been hot and it’s still hot […]

Slower Market? Sure. But the Prices That are Being Fetched…
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   November 30, 2021

Lovely warm days mixed with overcast mornings and a couple of very chilly nights tells us that we are heading into winter (more rain please). Daylight saving time has kicked in, which is great for the early birds and surfers, bringing light before 6 am. That said, I’m still getting used to darkness in the […]

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 […]

Real Estate Basks in the Glory That is Santa Barbara’s Secret Summer
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   October 12, 2021

Well, it looks like our Santa Barbara summer is finally here. OK, not the commonly thought of summer – Memorial Day to Labor Day – but the secret summer that we locals know, the October summer that often brings the best weather of the year. The islands are clear, the ocean glistens from a lower […]

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 […]

So Much for a Real Estate Slowdown . . .
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   September 14, 2021

What a difference a month (of big sales) can make. In my last article reviewing Montecito’s Real Estate activity for June and most of July, I focused on the lack of sales of more than $10 million. In that writing, I also noted an overall sales volume decline that put sales numbers closer to normal […]

The Eight-Figure Market Slows, Leaving More Options for Prospective Buyers
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   August 12, 2021

As we kick summer into high gear and the fog fights with the sun for control of the day, the real estate market in Montecito remains robust, yet leveling off to a more normal number we are used to seeing in past years. Additionally, we are seeing fewer sales recently in the over $10 million […]

Montecito Market Movement and a Few Best Buys to Boot
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   July 22, 2021

In pre-COVID times, one could buy a very nice home with 2,000 – 3,000 square feet of living space on a larger lot (over half-acre) or in a prime spot or beach area, for around $2 to $2.5 million. I can point to dozens of closed comps just two years ago, that illustrate how these […]

Montecito Best Buys: The $20s… Million, That Is
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   July 1, 2021

In addition to more than double normal sales volume for the past 15 months, there have been more sales over $20 million in the past year or so than at any other time in history. Sales in the $20s have happened in the past, and a very few have sold at more than $20,000,000 in […]

Slim Pickings? Sure, but There Are Plenty of High-End Properties Available
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   June 17, 2021

In Montecito, spring basically brought us no rain, and summer is just around the corner. I can tell because the weekends are teeming with people on Coast Village Road and the mix of overcast and sun is keeping me dressing in layers still. But I’m working on my summer feet, when we walk barefoot more […]

Dwindling Inventory and High Demand
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   May 20, 2021

This is it, a run-up in the market the likes we have never seen. I’m not talking about Wall Street or the stock market, which is also up, so maybe that’s what is funding and fueling this buying craze here in Montecito, where we are seeing a phenomenon, of sorts.  I am talking again about […]

Market Mayhem: ‘Migration Movement’ to Our Paradise Continues
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   April 29, 2021

At this point I am unsure of whether we will see enough new listings hit the market in Montecito before the last house goes up for sale and is sold. That won’t happen — will it? — but if you follow the numbers, it’s not impossible.  As of right now we only have about 47 […]

Montecito Has Been Discovered
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   April 8, 2021

Something tells me that times they are a-changing in Montecito… Whether it’s the 50-plus cars I saw at both the Hot Springs and San Ysidro Trailheads on the same day recently, or that I could not find a parking spot at sunset near Butterfly Beach on a weekday in March, or the fact that booking […]

Needles in a Haystack
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   March 11, 2021

Considering there are fewer homes in the Multiple Listing Service (the MLS, which feeds Realtor.com, Zillow, and others) than at any other time in the past 20 years, I feel it’s an interesting time to pause and ask (as others often ask me), what’s next in our real estate market?  Will the buyers who find […]

Four Homes Looking for Their New Owner
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   February 18, 2021

The desire of so many to purchase a home in Montecito, along with the phenomenal number of homes sold and sales over ten million dollars this past year, has been covered at length in many local and national publications. This rush to buy has left Montecito’s Real Estate market with very few homes for sale, […]