Cristal's Blog


December 21, 2023

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As the autumn leaves fall and the coastal breeze carries the scent of change, it's time to delve into the November market update for Santa Barbara, where the real estate landscape continues to evolve against the picturesque backdrop of the American Riviera. In this month's update, we navigate through the shifting tides of supply and demand, exploring the nuances of the market's pulse, and uncovering the opportunities and challenges that define the current real estate scenario. Whether you're a prospective buyer eager to unlock the doors to your dream home or a savvy seller looking to capitalize on the shifting dynamics, this November update provides a comprehensive insight into the state of Santa Barbara's real estate market.

A luxury swimming pool surrounded by a brick deck and lush foliage

More Balanced Landscape but Still a Seller’s Market

The Santa Barbara market, while still favoring sellers, is showing signs of adjustment, offering a more balanced landscape for those looking to buy or sell. To navigate today’s evolving real estate dynamics, it's crucial for both buyers and sellers to stay informed and work closely with a knowledgeable realtor. In that vein, let's unpack the November 2023 Market Update and explore what it means for our beautiful region.

Hot Properties

Properties with compelling features, such as tasteful remodeling, charm, flexible floor plans, excellent amenities, or breathtaking views, continue to command a premium. Recent data illustrates the allure of these hot properties, some receiving three to six offers above the asking price. With tight inventory, many homes swiftly found new buyers, emphasizing the importance of being market ready.

Opportunities and Challenges for Buyers

While buyers face challenges such as interest rates, price points, and securing reasonable home insurance, they now encounter fewer multiple-offer situations. This provides room for negotiation on both price and terms compared to a year ago. Despite these challenges, the long-term wealth-building potential of homeownership remains a strong motivator for many buyers. After all, what better place to invest in your future than the American Riviera?

Sellers' Strategy for Success

Sellers continue to wield influence in this market, provided they approach pricing judiciously. Deep-cleaning, strategic updates, and thoughtful staging to highlight a home's best features contribute significantly to securing the best price in the current market climate.

Neighborhood Market Update

The motor court and facade of a Spanish Colonial Revival home designed by George Washington Smith


SOLD: 13

A birds eye view of a large 2-story home in Hope Ranch Santa Barbara, surrounded by luxurious landscaping, including a swimming pool

Hope Ranch


A posh all while living room with an open beam vaulted ceiling, and a wall of windows and glass doors providing a view of the ocean

Santa Barbara

SOLD: 36

An aerial view of the Santa Barbara Polo Club, with polo grounds, mountains in the background, and the beach and ocean in the foreground



Featured Property

A large Cape Cod-style home, with mountain in the background and the estate's beautiful grounds and swimming pool in the foreground.

LISTING PRICE: $12,500,000

Nestled within the coveted Golden Quadrangle, this 2.04± acre Exquisite Cape-Cod Style Estate, boasting three gates, offers a magical retreat. Conveniently located near Montecito Upper Village, restaurants, and Birnam Wood Golf Club, the residence features exotic gardens, rare plant specimens, and captivating ocean vistas.

The dramatic all white living room of a luxury home with a soaring open truss vaulted ceiling

The living room impresses with a soaring ceiling, mezzanine, inlaid wood floors, and windows framing ocean and garden views. The gourmet kitchen, equipped with top-of-the-line appliances, opens to the formal dining room, and a den opening to a pergola.

The bedroom sanctuary of a luxury home, with a view of the ocean and veranda

The owner's sanctuary upstairs features high ceilings, an intimate fireplace, dual walk-in closets, secret attic space, and two en-suite bathrooms with panoramic views. Two window seats provide mountain and garden views with an ocean backdrop.

An adorable guest house surrounded by lush foliage

Optimizing the estate’s versatility are a Moody Sisters-style guest house nestled in the trees, the main home’s two bedroom suites with ocean and garden views, a large game room/office, and an additional guest suite above the garage.

The lush grounds of a Montecito estate, with a free-form pool, cabana, mature trees, and a hint of ocean view

The property also features an enchanting treehouse, a freeform-shaped pool with in-pool spa, and a wisteria-covered pergola with a BBQ grill.

If you're looking to buy, sell, or invest in real estate within this region, don't hesitate to contact me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at to arrange a complimentary consultation. Meantime, stay in the loop on market trends with my next market update. Wishing you success and prosperity in your real estate endeavors in and around the American Riviera!

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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