Estate agents expect the local real estate market to stabilize by the end of the year


SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — Santa Barbara County is facing a housing crisis.

With high interest rates and low housing inventory, the American dream of owning a home with a white picket fence is increasingly becoming a fantasy for many renters across the county.

“We think the pandemic market did several things, but one of the main things it did was freeze people to stay where they were going to stay and change their moving plans,” said said Berkshire Hathaway agent Dan Johnson.

Johnson has decades of real estate experience under his belt and thinks things will start to stabilize by the end of the year.

“We hope that inventory will pick up this fall, as the owners we are a little hesitant to sell due to the pandemic now feel more free to go ahead and do so. So we are expecting a slight increase in inventory and we should see a very active real estate market at the end of the year,” Johnson said.

Low inventory isn’t the only thing holding people back from buying homes. Inflation and high interest rates have also been a major concern for people who cannot afford the high cost of living in Santa Barbara. Many who work in Santa Barbara have to commute from cities like Santa Maria, where housing is more affordable.

“The difference between Santa Barbara and Santa Maria has always been that they [Santa Maria] have a lower price than ours. Their average sale price has been lower than ours, so there are many more homes available for the first time. So I think they’re going to see their interest rates affect them more there for first-time home buyers trying to get into the market,” Johnson said.

Johnson explained that people buying homes in Santa Barbara are often unaffected by rising interest rates, as many are cash buyers who buy a second home as vacation or rental property. He thinks that overall the market will start to recover, explaining that summer slowdowns are the norm.

“We were down 8% in sales from last August this year. But we expect buyers who haven’t bought yet will still be in the market to buy and try to find the right home,” Johnson said.

Johnson also has some advice for first-time home buyers:

“Save your money because owning your home is the American dream and it will create wealth not only for you, but also for your family and heirs. So work hard to save it. Maybe join some friends, find roommates and make it happen.


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