Cristal's Blog


April 20, 2023

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As a leading Santa Barbara Realtor, I closely monitor the real estate market and trends that shape our local area. As we close the first quarter of the year, I am happy to report that our real estate market continues to be strong and steady, albeit with a minimal decrease in prices and inventory. One of the trends I've observed is an increasing demand for properties with sustainable features, such as solar panels, smart thermostats, and other green technologies. Additionally, properties that offer outdoor living spaces like we have here in Santa Barbara have become particularly popular.

Neighborhood Market Update

Row Montecito beach houses sitting right on the beach with gentle waves and a blue sky

Montecito, Q1

It seems safe to assume that we were all delighted to witness the rainfall this year and observe our lakes and reservoirs being refilled. And as the temperature warms, the real estate market is experiencing an uptick in activity, with buyer demand on the rise in recent weeks. As I stated in my year-end newsletter, I anticipated that inventory levels would remain extremely low, and comparing Q1 in 2023 and 2022, we have witnessed a 27% reduction in inventory levels, to 91 units. This decrease has also resulted in a decline in home sales, which fell by 44%, to 34 units. Moreover, average and median list prices have both declined by 25% and 2%, respectively, from the same period last year, with average and median sales prices also experiencing a dip of 14% and 5%, respectively. Despite these declines, properties are still selling swiftly, with the number of days on the market falling by 23%, to 51 from the previous year.

A beautiful Santa Barbara Riviera neighborhood home with an amazing view of the city and ocean below.

Santa Barbara, Q1

The first quarter in Santa Barbara saw decreased activity despite a rise in the average list price by 3%, to $3,463,426, and median list price by 2%, to $2,037,500, while median sales price fell by 14%, to $1,630,000, and average sales price by 14%, to $2,281,899. The average number of days a property was on the market increased by 100% compared to the same period last year, to 38 days. Inventory levels continue to be challenging, with a decrease of 15%, to 318 units, while the number of properties that closed also decreased, due to lack of inventory, by 33%, to 165 units.

A stunning Hope Ranch estate with a kidney shaped pool in the foreground surrounded by greenery with a blue sky overhead

Hope Ranch, Q1

Hope Ranch's market resembled a blend of Montecito and Santa Barbara markets. Although the total number of units sold remained unchanged at 8, it decreased from the previous year's 10 units. The average number of days that a property took to sell increased by a significant 465%, to 113 days, compared to the same period in the previous year, but it decreased from 133 days in Q4 2021. The data for list and sales prices showed similar outcomes, with the average list price dropping to $11,476,667, representing a loss of 9% over Q1 2022. Additionally, median list prices fell to $9,750,500 in Q1, while median sales prices rose by 20%, to $6,287,500, and the average sales price increased by 15%, to $6,443,125. On a positive note, the inventory levels surged by 50% year over year, to 21 units.

New Listing

A romantic Cape Cod style Montecito home with lots of greenery, a pool, a sizable lawn with a blue sky in the background

935 Arcady Road, Santa Barbara CA
Listing Price: 6,275,000

Nestled atop a majestic hilltop in Montecito, this romantic Cape Cod-style home boasts breathtaking vistas of the ocean, coastline, and mountains. The 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath residence exudes a romantic ambiance and is located within the secluded Arcady Estates. Its interior and exterior design are both stylishly executed, showcasing a wealth of charming details, including wide-plank wood floors, open-beam ceilings, multi-panel windows, and numerous French doors that foster a seamless indoor/outdoor lifestyle. The expansive grounds, featuring a large pool and in-pool spa, sprawling lawns, and lush landscaping, are ideal for entertaining, family gatherings, and peaceful reflection. Among the highlights are Lotusland-inspired meditation gardens, terraces, and winding pathways accentuated by rare and mature plants.

If you’re considering making a move here, please call me at (805) 886-9378 or send me an email at for a complimentary consultation. Meantime, stay apprised of local, regional and national real estate trends with my next market update.

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Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“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