Families choose the celebrity enclave of Montecito, California, east of Santa Barbara, as property prices hit historic highs. Since the pandemic began, young families from Seattle to Los Angeles have decided to call this coastal community of roughly 10,000 – and one of the richest in the country – their home.
Riskin Partners Estate Group with Village Properties knows Montecito well after 17 years of selling there. As Montecito’s top-selling luxury real estate team, they saw the market develop into what it is today.
Partner Robert Riskin examines demographics. “We have seen significant demographic change since the pandemic. The biggest change has been the increase in young families making Montecito their primary residence, the number of young families buying homes in Montecito. “Today, many Montecito listings mention the coveted Montecito Union School District.
In 2020 Riskin Partners was involved in 51 transactions, 22 of which involved the purchase of a property by young families. In 2021, Riskin Partners has been involved in 32 transactions so far, including 21 young families buying a Montecito property. Comparing the number of young families shopping in Montecito from January 1 to July 1, 2020 compared to 2021, Riskin Partners saw an increase of 162.5%.
As the demographic trend has rejuvenated, prices continue to rise. The average single-family home sales price year-to-date was $ 6,271,353, according to Village Property’s June Santa Barbara Market Report. The latest figures show that 93% more properties were sold in Montecito this year than in 2020. Properties in Montecito range from approximately $ 4 million for a “in need of modernization” home to $ 72.5 million for a 28 acre property.
“The Montecito market remains incredibly robust. The demand has not decreased since the beginning of the pandemic, and yet we are at an all-time low in stocks, ”observes Riskin partner Jasmine Tennis. “This has resulted in a significant price increase. In some cases, we’ve seen a 30% increase over pre-pandemic prices,” added Tennis.
Oprah, Rob Lowe and Ellen De Generes (the latter is a well-known renovator in Los Angeles and Montecito) are among the celebrities who enjoy life in Montecito. While the A-listers live in closed properties at eight-figure prices, young families often gravitate towards “affordable” properties that offer a similarly relaxed yet sophisticated lifestyle.
Data from two Montecito schools, in particular an increase in enrollments in 2021, speak in favor of demographic change. Cold Spring’s current enrollment for the 2021-2022 school year is 191 and this number is subject to change over the course of the summer. In the past few years around 170 students were enrolled at the school. Montecito Union School started the 2020-2021 school year with 377 students and ended with 390.
“Overall, it’s just a really exciting time in the church. Having grown up here myself, it’s fun to see new and amazing energy come to our little town. We are fortunate to have incredible outdoor activities between the beaches and mountains, our two Montecito villages with great shops and restaurants. It’s a wonderful small town with all the amenities of a big city, ”explains Riskin.
According to Riskin, this is what draws these young families to Montecito. “The constant topics we hear are that people prioritize quality of life in the form of nature, personal outdoor spaces, nice weather, lack of traffic, good schools and distance from the hustle and bustle of big city life. Combined with so many companies that allow people to work remotely, Montecito is an incredibly attractive choice. “
One question for Montecito and similar luxury markets is what happens when pandemic restrictions wear off and young parents have to return to the office? Riskin managing director Dina Landi gives her thoughts. “People have now seen what it is like to live here, and it will be hard to give up. The nice thing about Montecito is that it’s close enough to Los Angeles that you can get there in 1.5 hours or on a flight from charming Santa Barbara Airport which is only 15 minutes away. ”
There are daily flights to and from Santa Barbara from Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Oakland, Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, Denver and Las Vegas. If you’re flying privately, be aware of the two FBOs (Private Jet Terminals) at Santa Barbara Airport. No wonder with all the celebrities who call Montecito their home.
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