More families choose Montecito, California as property prices reach historic highs

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Families choose a celebrity enclave Montecito, California, east of Santa Barbara, as property prices hit historic highs. Since the start of the pandemic, young families from Seattle to Los Angeles have decided to call this seaside community of about 10,000 residents – one of the richest in the country – as their home.

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Riskin Partners Estate Group with Village property knows Montecito well after 17 years of sales growth. As Montecito’s top selling luxury real estate team, they have seen the market evolve to where it is today.

Partner Robert Riskin analyzes demographic data. “After the pandemic, we have witnessed a significant demographic shift. The biggest change was the increase in the number of young families making Montecito their primary residence. Between January and July 2020 compared to the same period this year, Riskin Partners the number of young families buying houses in Montecito has increased by 160%. ” Many of Montecito’s lists nowadays mention the coveted Montecito school district.

In 2020, Riskin Partners participated in 51 transactions, of which 22 related to the purchase of real estate by young families. So far in 2021, Riskin Partners has participated in 32 transactions, of which 21 were a young family buying real estate in Montecito. Comparing the number of young families buying in Montecito from January 1 to July 1, 2020 versus 2021, Riskin Partners up 162.5%

As the demographic trend gets younger, prices continue to rise steadily. According to the June Montecito Market Report, the average selling price for single-family homes from the beginning of the year to date was $ 6,271,353. The latest figures show that 93% more properties were sold in Montecito this year than in 2020. Real estate values ​​in Montecito range from about $ 4 million for a house “in need of renovation” to $ 72.5 million for a 28-acre site.

“The Montecito market remains incredibly resilient. Demand has not declined since the start of the pandemic, and yet we are at an all-time low in stocks, ”said Riskin partner Jasmine Tennis. “This has led to a significant increase in prices. In some cases, we have seen prices rise by more than 30% over pre-pandemic prices, ”Tennis adds.

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Oprah, Rob Lowe and Ellen De Generes (the latter is a renowned restorer from Los Angeles and Montecito) are some of the celebrities who enjoy living in Montecito. While first graders live on gated estates with eight-figure prices, young families often gravitate towards “affordable” properties that offer the same laid-back yet sophisticated lifestyle.

Data from the two schools of Montecito, in particular the sharp increase in student enrollment in 2021, speaks of demographic shifts. The current enrollment at Cold Spring for the 2021-2022 academic year is 191, and this number may change over the summer. In past years, about 170 students studied at the school. Montecito Union School started the 2020-2021 academic year with 377 students and finished with 390 students.

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“Overall, this is a really exciting time for the community. I grew up here and I am delighted to see new and amazing energy infiltrating our town. We are so lucky to have incredible opportunities for outdoor activities between beaches and mountains, in our two villages of Montecito, with great shops and restaurants. It is a wonderful little town with all the amenities of a big city, ”Riskin explains.

According to Riskin, this is what attracts these young families to Montecito. “We hear constantly that people prioritize quality of life in the form of being in nature, personal open spaces, great weather, lack of traffic, good schools and distancing themselves from the noise and stress of big city life. Combined with so many companies that allow people to work remotely, Montecito is an incredibly attractive choice. ”

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One question for Montecito and similar luxury markets: What happens when the pandemic’s restrictions ease and young parents have to return to the office? Riskin Managing Partner Dina Lundy shared her thoughts. “People have now experienced for themselves what it is like to live here, and it will be difficult to refuse them. The beauty of Montecito is that it’s close enough to Los Angeles that you can get there in 1.5 hours or take a flight from the charming Santa Barbara Airportwhich 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 are flying a private jet, look out for the two FBO (Private Jet Terminals) terminals at Santa Barbara Airport. This comes as no surprise to all the celebrities who call Montecito their home.


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Village property is an exclusive member Forbes Global Properties, a consumer marketplace and a membership network of elite brokerages selling the world’s most luxurious homes.

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