Santa Barbara Coastal News
Santa Barbara housing market improves by nearly every metric30 May 2013 12:19 PM
After several years with no or little growth, Santa Barbara's housing market is showing clear signs of improvement. According to the Santa Maria Times, the region is seeing an uptick in buyer optimism, home prices and new construction - all signs that the ill effects of the recession may finally be in the past.
"It's an exciting time," Gary Grossman, president of one of the local building companies that has increased construction efforts in recent months, told the source. He went on to say that the region's declining inventory has led his company to experience a surge in demand.
As demand increases and supply dwindles, many local experts believe that the Santa Barbara real estate market will continue seeing price appreciation. Peter Rupert, chairman of the economics department at the University of California at Santa Barbra, said that he believes that decreasing foreclosure activity and more favorable lending conditions have helped the region attract buyers and restore prices to pre-recession levels.
Moving up the list
With all of these metrics moving in a positive direction, it's not surprising to learn that Santa Barbara is gaining favor among industry insiders. In March, the region was added to the National Association of Home Builder's list of improving housing markets. The city joined 273 others on the list, marking the seventh consecutive month in which the list experienced a net gain.
"This is the second consecutive month in which every state is represented by at least one metro on the improving list," said NAHB Chairman Rick Judson. "The expanding housing recovery is energizing communities nationwide by generating jobs and local tax revenues."
Improving economic climate
As Judson's statement touches on, it is sometimes hard to tell whether a region's economy improves in response to a strengthening housing market or vice versa. This situation is apparent in Santa Barbara, where the local economy's improvement has mirrored the gains made by the housing market.
According to the Santa Barbara Independent, the county's unemployment rate dropped to 6.0 percent in April 2013, a significant drop from the 7.2 percent total posted the previous month. Economic gains were seen across the board, as industries like professional services, social assistance and education all added a significant number of jobs.