Posted on Apr 13, 2018


BY: Mark Ashton Hunt


April, 2018 


*Originally published in the Montecito Journal, week of April 11, 2018

There is familiar question being asked of Real Estate agents in Montecito…

“How is the Montecito Real Estate market doing after the fires and mudslides?”

This question comes of course, after the recent devastating debris flows that shut down the 101 freeway for weeks and took the lives and properties of those we know, our friends, neighbors and co-workers.

While there is always a certain sensitivity in all conversations regarding the recent tragedies, it is still the case that homeowners, clients, agents and friends in other cities are curious how the damage in the area has affected our Real Estate sales since the events.

Well if one looks at statistics and momentum, there seems to be some potentially, reassuring news based on recent and improving sales activity.


In looking at the Montecito Real Estate market over the past few months, we must look back to early December of last year, and the fires that burned our hills before the rains that affected area home sales considerably. As the ashes settled, the holidays continued, and suddenly we were into the new year.

Then, just a week into 2018, we got the call to evacuate and a day later came the record intensity rainfall that hit the fire charred hills, carrying trees and boulders in the debris flows that occurred on January 9th, 2018.

With a total evacuation of the area, the 2-week closing of the 101 freeway, home sales in Montecito came to a halt, while the rescue and repair work took place. Then, after a month or sorting things out, properties began to close escrow again.

Then, over the past month or so, slowly but surely, we have seen new listings come on the market, primarily in the less, or unaffected areas, and we have seen sales in both the red and yellow evacuation zones, as well as the unaffected areas of the 93108, and in all price ranges.


For those not as familiar, and my disclaimer being that I am not an expert, the red zone areas of Montecito are considered mandatory evacuation areas during heavy storms at this point, while the yellow zone areas are voluntary evacuation zones that can become mandatory based on the judgement of area officials in the case of storms. This is my basic understanding of the system as it stands now and the map is updated as things change.

There are also areas of the 93108 zip code that are not in any evacuation zone, as homes in these areas were not directly affected or damaged by debris flows.


Getting back to sales, during the two week period, March 24 – April 7, 2018, we saw 9 closed escrows in Montecito. That is a considerable uptick over the past couple of months and pretty much in line with supporting the annual average sales rate of approximately 225-250+/- properties selling in Montecito per year.

Additionally, we saw sales in each of the red and yellow evacuation zones, as well as in the unaffected zones during the recent weeks.

Then, on top of these solid sales, we also saw the highest price paid for a home in Montecito in the Multiple Listing Service records, a whopping $35,000,000 paid for the 9 acre, sprawling, ocean view, tennis court home next door to Oprah (was listed at $45,000,000).

Here are some images of this estate.


Considering Montecito has only been back and open for business since the second week of February or later for some stores (about 8 weeks now), it is fantastic to see retailers and restaurants back, and it is potentially reassuring for area homeowners to see home sales picking up, at least in recent weeks.

Unfortunately for so many, their homes are damaged or destroyed and life is nothing even close to normal for any of these folks and friends. As reported in numerous publications, there were 400+/- homes damaged or destroyed in a matter of hours just 3 months ago, and on a side note, I have yet to see any destroyed or damaged listings come on the market.

To look closely at the recent Montecito Real Estate activity, zone by zone, I gathered information from the official evacuation map. To note, there are significantly more homes in the yellow (voluntary) and unaffected zones than there are in the red (mandatory) evacuation zone areas. This would lead one to assume there would be more home sales in these more populated zones and that is indeed the case.

All statistics below were pulled from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and represent my best efforts at accuracy in breaking down each sale and listing by area and zone, within the 93108 zip code, which includes all of Montecito.


There were currently 104+/- homes on the market in Montecito, (on April 7, 2018)

Current homes on the market in the red zone – 29

Current homes on the market in the yellow zone – 56

Current homes on the market in the unaffected areas – 19

These numbers show that approximately 25% of the homes on the market are in the red zone and that is consistent with a similar percentage of recent red zone home sales and homes in escrow (pending).

RECENT SALES STATISTICS (Based on the Multiple Listing Service, MLS reporting)

9 properties closed escrow in Montecito, between March 24, 2018 – April 7, 2018

1 of these properties is not in any evacuation zone, higher elevation, ocean views

2 of these properties were in the red evacuation zone, near the beach and in the hills

6 of these properties were in the yellow evacuation zone

Notable sales in this timeframe included an oceanside condo in the Montecito Shores complex with ocean views, 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms in the Montecito Union School District that sold for $4,000,000. This would be an impressive sale within this complex in any up or down market over the past dozen years or more.

An additional sale that caught local attention was an ocean view estate compound on Glenview Road in the Cold Spring School District, that sold for $9,100,000. This home was not in either of the evacuation zones.

Interestingly, when I compared home sales (closed escrows) in the same 2-week period last year (March 24 – April 7, 2017) to the same two-week period now in 2018, we are surprisingly ahead of last year by one sale, as there were only 8 closed escrows in 2017 in that same timeframe. And again, one of the sales this year, closing post events, was an estate sale for $35,000,000 which will surely catch international attention

Here is a look at that property next door to Oprah.

PROPERTIES PENDING (Listed in the MLS as pending / actively under contract)

In addition to closed escrow / sold statistics, we can look at properties that are currently in escrow to see that buyers are indeed making offers and contractual commitments across our area. Currently as of April 7th, 2018, there were 13 properties in escrow in the 93108, zip code. Of these 13 properties, here are some statistics:

4 of the properties in escrow (pending) are in the yellow evacuation zone

3 of the properties pending are in the red evacuation zone

6 of the properties pending are in the unaffected area

The lowest priced property pending is just under a million dollars in West Montecito

The highest priced property pending is a beach area home listed at over $6,000,000.

Please contact us whether you are buying or selling a home or for any of your Real Estate and property support needs.

“We know our market.”

Mark@Villagesite.com or call/text 805-698-2174.

Sheela@Villagesite.com or call/text 805-698-3767

Please visit our website, www.MontecitoBestBuys.com, from which this article is based.