Cristal's Blog


May 16, 2022

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My, How Time Flies Edition

We’re seeing more pressure on pricing in the Santa Barbara real estate market as we enter the second quarter of 2022. Due to that pressure, home prices are up across the board in our little slice of heaven, while inventory is still down. Yes, the inventory shortage continues, but there are some early signs on the horizon that this is going to change.

External factors will have an impact on pricing long term. Those factors include inflation and interest rate hikes—something I’ve been talking about for a few years now—which could negatively impact a buyer’s purchasing power. But, year over year, wages are up 5.6% and unemployment levels are trending down to historic lows, giving buyers more money to purchase their dream home. I also watch the bond market for clues on the future of real estate and right now, the numbers show it’s cheaper to borrow for the long-term than it is in the short-term.

National Stats

During March, the same inventory problems plagued the market nationally, but at a slower pace than in previous months. Experts predict that will change over the next few months which means potential growth on a year-over-year basis by this summer. And that would be the first such gain in three years. Still, for now, the median listing price grew by 15.3% over last year. With sellers receiving multiple offers, some with waived contingencies, there’s no better time than the present to list.

Local Stats

In the Santa Barbara real estate market, inventory levels, or lack thereof, continued to drive prices last month but with rumors about interest rates rising, those levels are expected to spike significantly. In March, the average price for a home in Montecito rose by 45%, the median price went up by 12%, the average sales price was up 19% and the median sales price grew by 24%. Properties for sale in Montecito are down by 45%, and properties that sold dropped by 40%. And the days on the market are also down by 38%. We’re experiencing similar trends for Hope Ranch and the surrounding Santa Barbara communities.

More Insight

In my latest video, I share more insight into the current and future real estate market in and around Santa Barbara.

Pitures of Santa Barbara with Real Estate stas printed over them

My New Listings

A Masterpiece of 21st Century Modern Architecture

Front of a large estate for sale in Ennisbrook wiht the sparking ocean in the background

Italian Country Estate in Montecito’s Ennisbrook

Stark white estate surrounded by palm trees sitting right on the beach

Sand Point Beach Villa at Casa Blanca

The back of an estate for sale with the sparkling pool in the foreground

Classic Montecito French Country-style Home

Newly Staged:

Ojai historic farm estate

Foothill Farms: A Historic Ojai Estate

My March Sales

An Iconic Masterpiece of International Style Architecture tat just sold in Santa Barbara

I represented the seller of this Iconic Masterpiece of International Style Architecture.

Entry to the main residence at a Mediterranean style Ennisbrook estate

I represented the buyer of this Modern Mediterranean Style Ennisbrook Estate.

An estate sitting on a bluff overlooking the beach in an aerial view

© 2021 Rafael Bautista

I represented the buyer of this Blufftop Oceanfront Santa Barbara Home.

If you’re considering selling your property, I ask, “What are you waiting for?” Just call me at (805) 886-9378 or send me an email at and we’ll make arrangements for a personalized, complimentary consultation. Meantime, stay apprised of national and Santa Barbara real estate market estate trends with my next market update.

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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