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.

Four Near $4.2… Million, that is
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   November 7, 2019

One price range I constantly find to deliver a high value for the price paid is the 4-to-5-million-dollar range. This week, four listings in the $4,200,000 range caught my eye as seeming to offer a lot of value for the current asking price. These four listings have all had recent price reductions, bringing them into […]

Homes on One Level
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   October 24, 2019

Housing trends change with some regularity, although perhaps not as frequently as fashion trends change. Housing style trends can take longer to shift as changing the style or look of a home is a very costly undertaking. Maybe that is why we tend to refer to housing styles in terms of eras, other than type […]

Interesting Buys
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   October 10, 2019

Over time, or sometimes when a new listing hits, a specific listing or a smaller group of properties can stand out as what agents might collectively see as good buys or, Best Buys. This is not a term meant to imply that a property for sale is necessarily “cheap,” but perhaps by my definition, it […]

East Montecito
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   September 12, 2019

In the past half dozen or so articles we have worked our way across Montecito, looking at different neighborhoods and homes for sale within these pockets. We have covered areas such as western Montecito’s edge on the border with Santa Barbara, the Cold Spring School area, the now-open-again, San Ysidro Ranch and Montecito Union School […]

East Montecito above East Valley Road
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   August 15, 2019

In our continuing look at the various neighborhoods around Montecito we have recently taken a look at western Montecito, homes in the Cold Spring School District, estates near the San Ysidro Ranch and beach area homes. Now let’s direct attention to homes just a mile or two from the upper village in Montecito, all within […]

Montecito Beach Area Homes
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   July 4, 2019

Nothing says summer like a day at the beach and no beaches that I know of are more cherished by residents and visitors alike than the beaches of Montecito: Butterfly Beach with the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel and Miramar Beach with the newly opened Rosewood Resort at Miramar Beach.  The beach area in Montecito can […]

Up By The Ranch
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   June 20, 2019

If you do not live in Montecito, or if you are not a repeat visitor of the San Ysidro Ranch, then you might not know how big a deal it is that the San Ysidro Ranch has re-opened for business (after being closed for over a year for repairs to some structures following the debris […]

Homes in the Cold Spring School District
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   May 30, 2019

Just inside the western edge of Montecito is an area commonly referred to as the Cold Spring School District (CCSD). This area reaches from the hills around Coyote Road and West-East Mountain Drive, down through neighborhoods including the streets around Westmont College, the estates at Riven Rock, homes on Pepper Hill, Sycamore Canyon and Cold […]

Homes in Western Montecito
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   May 2, 2019

Montecito may be a small town by population standards, but it is not without diversity of landscape, view options, a variety of home sizes, styles, prices, and more. From a mansion on a promontory overlooking everything, to sitting just two miles away, on the patio of an 800 sq ft beachfront home, there are many […]

Montecito’s $2- to $3-Million Sweet Spot
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   April 18, 2019

There are many homes for sale right now in Montecito that very probably could not be replaced for the price sellers are asking. This means that existing homes are in some cases less expensive than if one were to buy the land and build. Additionally, some homes are historic in nature so you literally can’t […]

For Sale On or Near Miramar Beach
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   March 21, 2019

Well everyone, the wait is over. After one of the fastest construction periods I’ve ever seen (to offset the 12 years of planning and approvals) the new Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort is here, and it’s impressive.  The grounds at the new Miramar resort are vast and open, the pools are well positioned on the property […]

New and Reduced Listings
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   February 21, 2019

There are two categories of real estate offerings that grab the most attention from agents and buyers alike, and these are new and/or reduced in price listings. When a property hits the market, everyone wants to see inside, judge the value, make an offer or wait and see… When a property has been sitting for […]

Comparison Shopping
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   February 7, 2019

While available housing inventory in Montecito may be lower these days (about 120 homes and condos currently on the market; in years past that number would be 150 or more in a January), there are still options of styles and conditions of homes in every price range.  Each day I find it is interesting to […]

Montecito Under a Million
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   January 24, 2019

It may be difficult to imagine being able to own real estate in an internationally famous town such as Montecito for under a million dollars, but it is indeed very possible. From a studio condo near the beach and Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel, to a two-story townhouse or an ocean view, single level two-bedroom condo, […]

Homes Priced Just Under $5 Million
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   December 20, 2018

If there was a question about whether home sales have been slowing in Montecito in recent months (and other higher end areas around the country), then the dismal five escrows that closed in November and the only one home so far through December 9, together make quite a statement. Additionally, very few Montecito properties went […]

Newer Montecito Listings
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   November 29, 2018

We have seen slower sales (only five closed escrows in Montecito during the first three weeks in November), and fewer new listings. Whether this is seasonal or an overall slowing market trend in higher end communities only time will tell. For now, we are happy to see prices staying strong overall, regardless of the number […]

Home Sweet (Guest) Home
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   November 15, 2018

One can find a home with a guest unit in Montecito for less than those featured here, but the focus with this group of homes is to ferret out estate-level properties with substantial homes (more than 5,000 sq ft), along with other amenities such as a swimming pool or tennis court, privacy, and most specific […]

Big Views in East Montecito
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   November 1, 2018

For those in search of an estate-level home that boasts ocean views and increased acreage, the area at the eastern border of Montecito can offer a lot of both for the money. From a close-to-town, 270-degree ocean view contemporary home on nearly two acres, to an 80+ acre working ranch with pool and tennis court, […]

Real Opportunities
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   October 11, 2018

This is a good time to be looking for an upper-price range home in Montecito, as there are many well-priced properties available in the $4.5-to-$15 million range on the market. Some “done” homes for sale are the result of a developer’s remodel, and others were on the market a while ago and are being reintroduced, […]

Montecito under $2 Million
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   September 27, 2018

It often surprises people when I tell them they can purchase a single-family home, on a good-sized lot, with amenities and upside potential, for under (and often well under) $2,000,000 in Montecito.  In this price range, one is not likely to find a home with big ocean views or a done home on a large […]

San Ysidro Ranch Style
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   September 13, 2018

We are regularly made aware of the damages done to homes and property, and the lost income to local businesses caused by this past winter’s dual episodes. There is one institution that has had a lot of both of these issues to contend with: the San Ysidro Ranch. This storied institution is the prize and […]

Move-in Condition
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   August 30, 2018

When one thinks of Montecito, images of the ocean, palm trees, Spanish-style architecture, San Ysidro Ranch cottages, and more come to mind. It is one thing to be able to live here, in such a special, small yet internationally recognized community, but it is another thing altogether to have a career that allows access to […]

Recently Reduced and under $3 million
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   August 23, 2018

The Montecito Real Estate market has done well during the past six months, considering what it, and the residents of Montecito went through, what with the fires and the debris flow and the resulting damage and insurance questions, not to mention the countless personal tragedies that occurred during those few hours on January 9.  While […]

Top of the World
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   August 2, 2018

It is one thing to be fortunate enough to own an ocean-view home in the Montecito area. It is another thing altogether to own a 9+/- acre hilltop, with three substantial homes, three guest apartments/houses, three pools, three spas, parking for dozens of cars, and control of the entire end of this important lane in […]

By the Beach in Montecito
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   July 19, 2018

Nothing says summer like a day at the beach… and where better to spend a day at the beach than in Montecito, at Fernald, Miramar, Hammonds, or Butterfly? The beach area in Montecito is bordered to the north by the 101 freeway, and to the south by the ocean, making it easy to define. While […]

4 Homes in the MUS District
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   July 5, 2018

From a mountain cottage to an impeccably well-designed ocean-view condo, from a mid-sized estate with a tennis court near town, all the way up to Oprah Winfrey’s mansion property, Montecito offers real estate options for anyone who can afford a purchase price of about $750,000 on up.  To expand on that, an entry level condo […]

Same Price, Different House
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   June 21, 2018

With sales in Montecito seeming to be back on track when compared with last year, (for the past six weeks anyway), with summer crowds making their way into Santa Barbara, and the re-opening of the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel, it’s prime home shopping season again. Open houses are more frequent as the weather improves, sales […]

May Sales Summary
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   June 7, 2018

I am pleased to report there were 15 Montecito homes that closed escrow in May (sold/changed owners), according to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This is up considerably from just four that sold in April, though the number is down about 30% from the 22 homes that sold in the same month (in the MLS) […]

May Montecito Home Sales
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   May 24, 2018

As the local climate starts to shift into something resembling a mid-season, pre-summer pattern (both with the weather and with real estate sales), we can feel it in the air… the upcoming graduations in local schools, college students coming back to visit families and reconnect with their friends in town, residents preparing to head out […]

April Update
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   May 3, 2018

Montecito continues to move forward in repairing and rebuilding after the damage caused by the debris flows of January 9. As an example, as I write this, a local couple I know is having their severely damaged home demolished in preparation for building a new home.  These friends had mud, boulders, huge trees, and a […]

Recent Montecito Sales
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   April 12, 2018

The question being asked of real estate agents in Montecito is simply, “How is the Montecito real estate market doing?” This question comes, of course, in the wake of the recent deadly debris flow that shut down the 101 freeway for weeks, took the lives of 23 of our friends and neighbors, and damaged or […]

Recent Sales and Current Listings
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   March 29, 2018

While attempting to get a grasp of what is happening in the real estate market in Montecito following the debris flow event, it has been difficult to move past the fact that these are not only homes, properties, and assets, they are places where families and friends live, or lived. That said, it is not […]

The Spring Market
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   March 15, 2018

I am enjoying the sound of rain dancing on the roof of my home in the upper village, and for the first time this winter, I am not concerned nor have I been ordered to evacuate. I attribute my current comfort level to the teams of experts, engineers, truckers, and laborers who are helping bring […]

Remembering and Rebuilding
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   March 1, 2018

I must say that the events of the past few months sort of slid right past me, both emotionally and literally. I remained stoic as we got past the fires; the flames stopped six houses up the hill from me. We moved back in, sort of. And then the evacuation warning on January 7, which […]

A Montecito 2017 Review
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   February 8, 2018

It was difficult to approach writing a year-in-review article, when faced with the recent calamitous episodes in Montecito. Then the hills I hiked every week came down onto our fair town the morning of January 9, many of us lost – or know someone who lost –family, friends, co-workers, even their homes and property. My […]

Best Buys for a New Year
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   January 11, 2018

It was a challenging holiday season Montecito residents experienced under the cloud of smoke and ash created by the recent Thomas Fire, the largest such wildfire in California history; many of us were forced to spend weeks miles away, having been evacuated for a substantial part of December. Our hearts go out to those who […]

A Bouquet of Homes
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   December 14, 2017

If you follow this column, you have likely heard me mention the lack of new listings in Montecito over the past six months or so. This lack of new housing inventory is never more evident than it is on the Montecito broker-agent open house tours on Wednesdays. Many real estate agents look forward to broker […]

Reduced and Ready to Sell
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   November 30, 2017

For whatever reason, the available housing inventory for sale under $10 million in Montecito continues to be low, and this time of year, we don’t expect to see a lot of new homes hitting the market. That said, there are plenty of properties to choose from in most price ranges over a million dollars.  So, […]

Four Worth a Look
By Mark Ashton Hunt   |   November 9, 2017

The past few weeks, well, months… okay, maybe even years… I have seen an ongoing dearth of available housing inventory to choose from in Montecito, especially in the “more affordable” $1.5-to-$3-million range. There are currently many $10-million-plus properties to choose from in a variety of shapes and sizes, but try finding the perfect family home […]