Cristal's Blog


February 10, 2022

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How Long Will the Current Santa Barbara Real Estate Market Continue?

The Santa Barbara real estate market continues to soar. In January 2022, inventory began to rise, too, partially due to a change of heart by many sellers who initially avoided listing their homes because of COVID-19 and the holidays. In addition to this, I expect to see buyers who bought property early into the pandemic begin to cash in on substantially high property values and re-evaluate their new living situations. Many of those buyers migrated here from larger cities and are finding that city life is, in fact, where they belong. The result, hopefully, will generate more inventory.

Even with more inventory currently on the market, however, demand continues to be strong. Homes in Santa Barbara and the surrounding communities are continuing to sell quickly and for top dollar. Nonetheless, many wonder if this market will continue.

Chief economists from the California Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors say it will, although the rate of price increases will be significantly lower than we have seen over the past eighteen months or so. That means if you’ve been on the fence about selling, now is the time to list.

Watch my video for more insight into the current real estate market in Santa Barbara and our surrounding communities.

Make sure to have a look at my predictions for 2022 and beyond later in this post. (I’d love to hear your thoughts!)

A picture of Santa Barbara communities with the statistics reagard real estate over each one

My Current Off-Market Listing

  • A 4-Unit Income Property in a prime location near downtown Santa Barbara, featuring a Spanish style main residence with a separate Craftsman Style Duplex, a 5-car garage, separate 1 bedroom apartment.

My January Sales

The front of an estate for sale with blude sky and white fluffy clouds

This Enchanting French Provincial Style Montecito Estate, a classic Montecito contemporary single-level home with more than 3.32 acres boasting unparalleled views. It sold off-market.

The front of a single family ranch style home in Hope Ranch with a large tree on the side and step up to the front door.

I represented the seller of this Elegant Single Level Hope Ranch Home that sits on approximately 1 acre within one of Santa Barbara's most elite enclaves.

Exterior of  home with a red tile roof and a staircase leading to the front door surrounded by plants and trees with a blue sky as the background

I represented both the buyer and the seller of this Breathtaking Ocean View Montecito Retreat. The perfect example of timeless Spanish Colonial architecture reborn through a state-of-the-art renovation incorporating the finest materials.

Looking Ahead…

As we navigate through the first quarter of 2022 and beyond, the question many clients are asking is, “Will the high level of buyer activity continue in the local real estate market?” That’s certainly a hard question to answer, but let’s take a look at some basics:

1. Our local communities: Montecito, Santa Barbara, Hope Ranch, Summerland and Carpinteria, represent some of the most revered and sought-after real estate in the United States, if not the world. This is based on several factors, not least of which is the lifestyle afforded to us by the cultural amenities, weather, and relaxed atmosphere for family life. This will become even more important moving forward and as such will continue to drive real estate prices upward. I expect a surge in buyer activity early in 2022, inventory notwithstanding.

2. 2021 saw continued growth of families moving into our local communities as well as continued migration from Los Angeles, San Francisco and many parts of the East Coast; a trend I expect to see continue in 2022 and beyond.

3. Despite a small downward trend in the late part of 2021, consumer confidence remains relatively strong and should be boosted in 2022 by the continued efforts against COVID-19.

4. I expect to see at least 3 interest rate hikes as a control response by the Federal Reserve to the rise in inflation which may have a slight effect on real estate, but overall, prices will end positive by year-end.

As I mentioned, I’d love to read your thoughts. Meanwhile, if you’re thinking of selling your home in one of Santa Barbara's delightful communities, why not take advantage of this unique Santa Barbara real estate market? I welcome your call at (805) 886-9378 or feel free to email me at for a complimentary consultation. Stay apprised of local real estate trends with my next market update, in March.

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Client Reviews

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch