Why Santa Barbara is Making Waves as an Idyllic Real Estate Destination

by Ben SanfordDecember 28, 2018

Sun, Sea, and Stability – Everything You Love Is in Santa Barbara

The housing crisis hit Santa Barbara’s real estate market hard. Then, in 2017, the Thomas Fire threatened the very fabric of the city’s economy. But those days have passed, and Santa Barbara is now in a state of recovery. Today, Santa Barbara is enjoying a period of economic expansion, to the point that its housing market is once again one of the hottest in the Golden State.

It’s not hard to see why. With sun, beaches, a growing economy, low unemployment rates, and so much more going for it, Santa Barbara is making waves as an idyllic real estate destination in central California.

santa barbara home

Santa Barbara’s Market Is Not Like San Francisco’s

Make no bones about it, Santa Barbara is a luxury real estate market. But it pales in comparison with San Francisco, where housing prices continue to be bound for the upper atmosphere. Santa Barbara is no stranger to price hikes, however, as homes in the city enjoyed an appreciation rate of 8.1 percent in 2017, which was 1.4 percent higher than the national average.

In 2018, housing price growth slowed to 3.8 percent. Currently, the median home value in Santa Barbara is $1,025,000, and experts are predicting them to rise by another 4.2 percent over the coming year. For comparison, San Francisco’s median home value is $1.61 million.

santa barbara home

Surging Economy and Low Unemployment Tell the Tale

Santa Barbara enjoys low unemployment and a strong economy that is growing stronger by the day. Bolstered by the “buy local” campaign that was initiated after the Thomas Fire, and by assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA), a wide number of small businesses were able to keep from going under.

Despite the fire and following mud floods, Santa Barbara’s unemployment rate was able to stabilize in 2018 with it bouncing around 3.1 percent for most of the year. This is considerably down from 2017’s nearly four percent unemployment rate.

Home to One of the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches

The Santa Barbara lifestyle is an enviable one. Home to Butterfly Beach, voted one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, Santa Barbara offers the epitome of California living minus the hectic pace of Los Angeles and the steeply rising prices of Silicon Valley. It also sits on the cusp of California’s famous wine country.

There is an Old-World charm to it that has earned it the nickname, the American Riviera. Everything about Santa Barbara makes it the most Mediterranean city outside of the Mediterranean.

santa barbara home

Looking for a Home in Santa Barbara?

If you want to move to Santa Barbara, then the time is now. Housing prices are continuing their upward trajectory, but interest rates are still low. There are plenty of opportunities for buying or investing in properties in and around the city. So, do yourself a favor and take advantage of the city’s period of recovery because once it reaches full sail again, Santa Barbara’s real estate market will have one of California’s peak price points, and rightfully so.

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About The Author
Ben Sanford
Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.