Cristal's Blog


March 29, 2024

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California's housing market witnessed a notable uptick in sales for the third consecutive month in February, buoyed by the most favorable mortgage rates seen in five months, as reported by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). In Santa Barbara, our dynamic real estate scene, marked by heightened seller engagement, expanding inventory, and lively market activity, is gaining momentum, particularly with the onset of the bustling spring and summer seasons. While challenges persist, opportunities abound for both buyers and sellers in navigating this evolving market terrain.

A tree stands tall in the foreground of this picture of the Santa Barbara coast with the Channel Islands in the distance.

Nationwide Real Estate Trends

February left us with 5 reasons to celebrate.

  1. Seller Participation
    Encouragingly, more sellers are stepping into the 2024 housing market. Both newly listed homes and the active inventory have seen a significant increase, offering home shoppers more options as we approach the traditionally busy spring homebuying season.
  2. Pricing Trends
    Homes continue to sell quickly with the median listing price experiencing a slight increase of 0.4% compared to the same period last year.
  3. Listings Surge
    Newly listed homes have surged by 11.9% from a year ago, marking the 18th consecutive week of outpacing year-ago levels. This influx of new listings provides vital options for home shoppers, addressing specific must-have lists.
  4. Market Activity
    Active inventory has risen by 17.8% compared to last year, offering today's home shoppers a more abundant selection. Despite this increase, inventory levels remain nearly 40% lower than pre-2017 levels.
  5. Market Velocity
    Homes are spending less time on the market, with a four-day decrease compared to last year. This trend, observed for 21 consecutive weeks, indicates a continued brisk pace of transactions, fueled by both demand and limited supply.

Neighborhood Market Update

A luxury Montecito home all lit up at dusk and framed by majestic mountains with a pink, purple and blue sunset in the distance and a shimmering pool in the backyard.


SOLD: 16

A sparling Hope Ranch estate with manicured landscaping and a blue sky.

Hope Ranch


A Mediterranean luxury Santa Barbara stunning home with a red tiled roof and panoramic views of the ocean in the background and a pool and luxury backyard in the foreground.

Santa Barbara

SOLD: 39

Two chairs sit on a luxury Carpinteria condo with a view of the Santa Barbara Polo field and the ocean beyone.


SOLD: 10

Featured Property

A classic Mediterranean style estate with a red tiled roof and several Juliette balconies with steps that lead to the manicured grounds.

LISTING PRICE: $ 11,950,000

Nestled in the heart of Montecito, this gated and private residence embodies timeless Mediterranean charm, boasting meticulous craftsmanship and a warm, inviting atmosphere. Designed by renowned architect Don Nulty, AIA, this hidden gem offers a seamless blend of understated luxury and thoughtful functionality, ideal for both formal gatherings and relaxed everyday living.

A sunken living room inside a luxury Montecito estate with a fireplace, a chandelier, comfy furniture and sliding glass doors that lead to a patio.

The inviting sunken living room hosts a woodburning fireplace with antique Italian surround and flanking large French windows. Imported Italian mantelpieces grace the fireplaces, adding an elegant touch with serene views of the picturesque mountains and lush grounds. French doors open to the covered terrace, embracing the cherished indoor-outdoor lifestyle of the area. A blend of refined materials including limestone, hardwood, and terra cotta floors complement exquisite walnut custom cabinetry adorn most spaces.

A grande double archway leads to a formal dining room with a chandelier and sliding doors to a pation.

Flowing seamlessly from the living room, a grand double archway leads to the formal dining room. Here, French doors unveil a charming pergola-covered terrace, perfect for enjoying alfresco dining experiences.

A luxury kitchen with wood beams on the ceiling, a versatile center island and top of the line appliances.

The lavishly appointed kitchen, with its plethora of high-end appliances and amenities, including a versatile center island and a convenient butler’s pantry, offers a haven for both home cooks and catering professionals alike. Featuring seamless access to the living, dining, and family rooms, as well as the hallway and a charming Dutch door leading to the terrace, this kitchen is a culinary enthusiast’s dream.

The inviting backyard of a Mediterranean luxury home with a sparkling swimming pool surrounded by patio furniture and umbrellas.

This luxury property offers the perfect space to live the coveted Santa Barbara lifestyle, where luxury, comfort, and natural beauty intertwine seamlessly. From the grand motor court to the verdant backyard, the sprawling one-acre expanse of lush landscaping and outdoor features harmonize seamlessly. Multiple levels of flagstone-paved terraces await, each offering its own unique charm - from a cozy fireplace and built-in radiant heaters to a tranquil pergola-shaded area and a sun-kissed space surrounding the glistening pool and in-pool spa.

For those considering buying, selling, or investing in real estate in this area, I'm here to assist you every step of the way. Feel free to contact me at (805) 886-9378 or via email at to schedule a complimentary consultation. Stay ahead of market trends with my next market update. Let's make your real estate goals a reality.

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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