Real estate market ramping up in Santa Barbara

Multiple offers back on the table

Beth Farnsworth, KEYT NewsChannel 3 Anchor, beth.farnsworth@keyt.com
POSTED: 02:40 PM PST Feb 14, 2013    UPDATED: 05:04 PM PST Feb 14, 2013 
housing_inc
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

Local realtors say they've seen a major shift in home sales in Santa Barbara over the past six months.

A shrinking inventory, historically low rates and multiple offers make up the climate now facing home buyers and sellers.

"The sub-one million dollar market is on fire," real estate agent Steve Epstein told NewsChannel 3. "Anything priced remotely well is gone in a number of days."

So, who's buying? Epstein said first-time and so-called "move up" buyers. In some cases, he's seeing five to 10 offers on listings, often way over the asking price.

Experts offer up two key ways to win out if you're in the market to buy in Santa Barbara: a cash offer and proof that you can repay a loan, which is a new bank requirement.

Espstein offers a little solace to those feeling disheartened, based on something he's seen; "The successful bidder gets cold feet and backs out. The dust settles and they say, 'What did I just do?'"

After all, 2007-2008 wasn't that long ago. At the height of the recession, home values in Santa Barbara plummeted roughly $340,000 from a median high nearing the $1 million mark.

Now, they're jumping back up.

Epstein says the median price for homes in the south county, from Carpinteria to Goleta, is $822,000. In Goleta, it's in the low to mid $600,000 range. However, real deals can be found in the north county where the median price is $240,000.