Matt’s Blog

Fall Real Estate sales update – September 2019

MLS statistics for houses and condominiums: year-to-date (YTD) Jan.-Sept. 2019 vs 2018 see below.

Single family housing market continues to be strong with low interest rates and high consumer confidence. Number of sales increased 6.4% from last year and median sale price up 3.1% YTD.

Condominium market: sales are off 6.6% and prices a tiny 1.2% higher. So this sector of the market is definitely showing signs of weakness after sales growth the past two years. Expect this trend to continue well into 2020, along with slightly lower condo prices.

If you are selling your home in the coming year note that the market is at an all-time peak in median home selling price, higher than 2005, 2006, or 2007!

If you decide to buy property in the next year plan on keeping long-term.

For condominiums the median price YTD is a scant $14,000 off the peak prices of 2005 and 2006, and higher in every year since then, so if you want to sell right now its pretty clear prices have peaked!

Overall 2019 will close out as a very good year for Goleta and Santa Barbara real estate!

Please contact me if I can assist in your real estate needs!


City of Goleta Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan – September 17, 2018

Tonight the at the Planning Commission there will be a resolution up for consideration recommending the adoption of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan to the City Commission.

Here is the update from the City of Goleta:   The Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan is the future of biking and walking in Goleta. It aims to expand and improve the pedestrian and bicycle network in the City of Goleta making it easier to walk and bike around town. The BPMP also promotes public health by encouraging people to walk and bike, reduces automobile usage and fuel consumption, and promotes transportation equity. Learn more at GoletaBPMP.

As an avid cyclist, I know this plan will be great for our community!

Platform Decommissioning Update – May 21, 2018

The California State Lands Commission(SLC) came to Goleta last night to fill in residents and community groups on the progress towards de-commissioning Platform Holly(29 wells), the Ellwood onshore processing facility(EOF), and the small pier at Haskells beach that contains two oil wells. What I took away from the meeting is that this is going to be a years long process before we actually see any physical changes such as the removal of the EOF, the Pier or the Platform itself. There are around 29 separate wells that have to be plugged and abandoned from the platform one at a time. The SLC has to first make repairs to the platform in order to accomplish this work, and that is underway now). There are still fluids, oil and gas, in the wells, which will have to be pumped out and sent to the EOF for processing and then trucked out (since the overland pipeline can no longer be used after it burst and spilled all over Refugio beach 3 years ago!) Other topics discussed were the odor sensors (H2s Hydrogen sulfide gas) at the EOF, platform and Ellwood Marine Terminal. The bankruptcy proceedings with Venoco and what might happen with the land under the EOF was covered. Who will pay for this de-commissioning, and how, was laid out. Exxon Mobil has responsibility here but the SLC is requesting $58 Million from the state of California.Venoco bought the oil leases from Exxon years ago.There were many community groups and stake-holders at this meeting including the Goleta Goodland Coalition, Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Center, Sportfishing Association,, Ellwood Preserve group and others who asked some tough questions that were remarkably commented on and answered by SLC officials.Don’t expect to see much physical changes soon, but worker activity on the platform and the EOF will be a good sign that progress is being made towards eventually recovering this land, and sea, from decades of untold negative environmental impacts.

Updated Evacuation Maps – February 11, 2018

Earlier this week the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management published updated evacuation maps. There is an increased risk of flooding around areas impacted by the recent fires in Santa Barbara County; the anticipated flood/debris pathways have been updated on the evacuation maps. In this link to the new maps, type in your address to see if your home is at risk. Also, now is a great time to sign up for emergency alerts at the Santa Barbara Ready website. Stay safe friends!

Happy New Year 2018! – January 7, 2018

I hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday season! If one of your New Year’s goals or resolutions is to purchase a home in Santa Barbara county, give me a call. I have been counseling and helping people navigate the real estate market and get them into their dream homes for over 38 years. Cheers to a prosperous and healthy 2018!

Thomas Fire Update – December 17, 2017

As many of you know the region is being devastated by the Thomas Fire. Updates are available via Cal Fire. Our thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters and their families, as well as all the residents affected by the fire and evacuations.

2017 NAR Convention – December 4, 2017

I just got back from this year’s National Association of Realtors (NAR) Conference and Expo in Chicago, Illinois. The country’s largest trade organization really knows how to put on an event!

There were five packed days with a variety of activities like educational sessions and motivational speakers. I enrolled in a full day course to become a Pricing Strategy Adviser to start my conference. We heard from the nations top educators in dozens of other “mini-sessions”.

The expo exhibitors numbered over 400 vendors offering everything real estate related that you can imagine from backlit display signs and real estate software to client gifts and the FDIC (who often needs Realtors to sell repossessed properties).

I met Realtors from all over the country and shared our common and unique experiences. There were motivational speakers such as Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps and Sal Guinta, an army staff Sergeant who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his battle heroics in Afghanistan. There was entertainment as well with John Fogarty rockn’ it for us one night. Chicago neighborhood tours were offered, and of course the NAR business meetings and Installation Gala for the 2018 leadership of this terrific organization. Overall the conference was an uplifting experience that improved my skills in counseling people to attain their goals in home-ownership and investing. The Conference was aptly themed The Sky’s The Limit. Believe it!

Stay Connected with the City of Goleta – November 21, 2017

The City of Goleta has some great resources for residents, my wife and I personally stay connected through their email updates. We found it particularly useful to receive updates during the construction phases of the Class I bikeway along Hollister, as it impacted our neighborhood. It is easy to sign up and they provide useful updates and helpful resources. Visit the City of Goleta website at and click on “stay connected” to sign up and manage your preferences.

Evacuation Preparation for Your Home – July 16, 2017

The Whittier Fire is blazing in Santa Barbara County. Our friends at Cal Fire have a great checklist to help prepare your home both inside and outside if you do have to evacuate. Check out the link here.

Class I Bikeway – June 24, 2017

Last week I posted several photos of the beginning of construction of the new Class I bikeway in Goleta, along Hollister Avenue. This project is part of the Hollister Avenue Complete Streets Project. The completion of this project will take about six months; when finished it will create a very safe space to cycle and connect many City of Goleta destinations, very exciting! For further information and project specific updates click the following City of Goleta link.



  • Increasing concern about local agency housing policies motivated legislative intrusion.
  • In some communities such as Montecito, water, sewer, and fire used to curtail Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) development.
  • AB2299 Richard Bloom (CD-Santa Monica), SB1069 Bob Wieckowski (CD-Fremont)
  • Impact on Existing Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinances
  • Legislative intent is permitting process made simple through ministerial, not discretionary review.
  • Any existing ADU ordinance that does not meet the legislation’s requirements became null and void as of January 1, 2017.
  • Local governments must approve accessory dwelling units based on “state standards” until jurisdiction adopts compliance ordinance.
  • Adopting ADU ordinance is exempt from CEQA (considered not to have significant effect on environment thus categorically exempt from preparation of environmental documents requirement).
  • Not applicable in Coastal Zone; California Coastal Act supersedes ADU/JADU legislation under CCC has jurisdiction.


  • Requirements reduced to one space per bedroom or unit.
  • Off-street parking allowed to tandem or in setback areas.
  • Fire Sprinkler Requirements
  • If not required for primary single-family structure then not required for ADU/JADU.

Required State Standards

  • ADU applications must be approved/disapproved within 120 days of receipt.
  • Unit may not be for sale separate for primary residence; may be rented.
  • Lot is zoned for single-family/ multi-family and contains existing dwelling.
  • ADU may be detached on same lot, attached to existing dwelling, or located within living area of existing dwelling.
  • No setbacks required for garage conversions.
  • Increased floor area of unit does not exceed 50% of existing living area, with maximum increase floor area of 1,200 sq ft.
  • Total area of floor space for detached accessory dwelling unit does not exceed 1,200 sq ft.

Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADU) [AB2406 Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond)]

  • Contained completely within existing space;.max. 500 sq ft with independent ext. access from existing residence.
  • Limited to 1/per residential zoned single-family residences.
  • Owner required to record deed restriction and occupy primary or accessory residence.
  • Efficiency kitchen required (no gas) and may have shared utilities/sanitation with existing residence allowed.
  • Meets building codes.
  • No additional fees required (utility fees may be applied by special districts; ex: Montecito
    Water District).

Accessory Dwelling Unit Memo

Home Sold in 4 Days! (March 7, 2017)

This week has been a great sale week, the home at 140 Kinman sold in 4 days for full price!

The real estate activity is hottest in the “under $1 Million market segment” and Kinman was well under that. Congratulations to the young family that secured their future after missing out on several other properties. Happy buyer, happy seller.

Please call me if I can assist you with your real estate needs.

Real Estate Outlook 2017 (March 1, 2017)

With the beginning of a new year there is often a renewed optimism in all things, not just real estate, and 2017 is proving to be no different. Year-to-date listing and sales activity is up over last year and sale prices are creeping up again slightly. Of course, interest rates have risen a bit as well, and maybe that is causing the uptick in sales. Buyers are motivated to jump into the market before rates go higher. Business and consumer confidence is also very high right now. The first half of 2017 is positioned to be advantageous for sellers, but there is also opportunity for buyers in this market.

March 31, 2014

Key factors affecting the outook for Real Estate in the next 3 to 5 years:
1. Pent-up demand has been growing over the past 6 years. Household formation: Thousands of individuals locally and millions nationwide are reaching the prime home-buying age of 25 to 35 years old.
2.  New construction has not kept pace in California or locally.
3. Interest rates will rise a little, but remain low by historical standards. We could see 5.5% rates by year end, still low.
4. Qualifying for a home loan will get easier. The average FICO score for approved loans has just dropped from 750 to 725, and should go lower.
5.  Increased wealth and cash-heavy individuals, pushed by a soaring stock market, will seek real estate in our area as a good long-term investment and hedge against inflation.
6.  Lower unemployment and higher savings rates translate into more home buyers.
There you have it! Housing is headed in an upward direction for several years to come. Invest with confidence!

February 18, 2014

The stats are in for February, and CAR economist Leslie Appleton-Young has briefed us on the overall California market. I’ll spare you the numbers here since I think it can be summarized in a few words… the same few words we’ve all been hearing for the past year or more anyway: “Low inventory of homes for sale, multiple offers, and rising prices”.  These same words apply to homes and condominiums and up to about the $1.5 Million price level.  Statistics are going to vary by neighborhood and location, and this is what you really need to look at anyway for the specific area in which you are buying or selling.  There does not appear to be a trend towards increased listings, except possibly for the condo market.  Its too early to tell if this will play out as we get into the Spring selling months.  Stay tuned.

January 23, 2014

Another hot January is in the works. Santa Barbara property tour today: lowest priced home was on the West-side, Mountain Ave. 2 bed 1 bath, cosmetic fixer, agents and buyers swarming all over the place. This house will be sold by Monday at or over the $585,000  asking price I’m sure. Another home on upper Chapala St. , a 1920’s Spanish style abode in nice condition, $1.195 Million, sure to sell fast. Short sale on the Mesa on Salida Del Sol, 4 bedroom with some updating but still needing a little TLC.  This well located home will also go into escrow quickly despite the nearly $1 Million asking price, subject to lender approval and likely an extended escrow timeline due to this. Scant inventory and high Mesa demand will move this one out in short order. 2014 poised to see another solid increase in the median price home on the South Coast.

January 31, 2013

The market is starting out fast and furious as low inventory continues. Multiple offers at the low end, and bidding over the asking price is common. For instance, I just represented a buyer for a low end condo, under $300,000. Their offer was all cash full price, however there were 5 other offers, and the winning bid went over the asking price.  Many listing agents are purposely underpricing their listings to create a bidding war, and in my opinion contract prices that exceed market value. Only time will tell if prices are once again rising too fast, but it looks to me like the California bust and boom cycle that real estate has exhibited for decades, is once again in play.

December 12, 2011

Record short sale closing!!!  2 years 7 months, 12 days, initial offer to closed sale.  We closed escrow on a downtown SB cottage for a client, buyer, whose patience and persistence enabled the successful closing of this transaction.  There were two lenders, B of A, and Wells Fargo. It took two separate escrows, two separate short sale negotiators, numerous appraisals, BPO’s, back-and-forth negotiations with the lenders, cancellations, re-submittals, 8 foreclosure sale postponements, etc., etc. but in the end the lenders settled and the buyer got the property they wanted!

4.75% 30 year fixed rate home loan!

April 5, 2011

I just closed escrow for a client on a new home in Goleta. The buyer received excellent financing for this home, 4.75% !!! that’s outrageous.  I know, it has been lower, like the house I sold in Santa Barbara last August where the buyer received 4.375%.  These rates are just unbelievable.  A year from now when they are 5.75 or 6%, we will all regret that we had not bought more property when rates were in the 4’s.

Feb. 28, 2011

Well, here’s one of the largest percentage drops for a South coast Santa Barbara property:
The Big Yellow House in Summerland just sold for $1,220,000, previously sold in August 2006 for $4,250,000. That’s a whopping 71% drop!!!! This property used to be a bustling family style restaurant and enjoys prime visibility from Highway 101. The Historic 1890’s structure is over 7000 square feet and sits on over half an acre with commanding views of the Pacific. No news yet on what the new owner plans for this commercially zoned property….

Real estate values have typically dropped 25-40% in the Santa Barbara/Goleta/Montecito/Carpinteria area since the highs of 2006-7 depending on the area and who you talk to, so the Big Yellow House sale really stand out. What a buy!