Emily Kellenberger On What Makes Montecito So Haute

Emily Kellenberger is ranked in the top 1% of real estate agents nationwide and is honored to be consistently recognized as one of the “Top 10” agents at Village Properties. Village Properties is a luxury boutique firm, an exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, and has been the #1 company in the area for annual sales volume for many years running. Kellenberger has emerged as a well-rounded agent with a knowledge of finance and a work ethic exceeded only by her passion to serve her clients. Kellenberger sat down with Haute Residence to discuss her market, Montecito, CA and what makes it so haute:

What are the current real estate market trends and conditions in Montecito?

The Montecito market offers quite a variety. Current pricing ranges from $735,000 for a condo or approximately $1,500,000 for a single family home, and pricing goes on up to $85,000,000. There are 162 active listings at the moment, with 23 of those properties, or 14% under contract (in escrow). The higher end homes typically see longer periods of time on the market. For the 2019 year-to-date Montecito market, the absorption rate (or months of inventory) is at 20 months, we have an average of 170 days on the market, a median asking price of $4,800,000, and a median sales price of $3,950,000.

What are the top 3 things luxury homebuyers look for?

The luxury homebuyers in our market want views (preferably ocean views but many would like to have ocean, island, and mountain views), privacy, and open floor plans that are great for daily living and entertaining. Also many love to have swimming pools.

Where do you foresee the luxury real estate market heading in the spring of 2019?

I see the activity level picking up. Our market saw 190 closings in March 2019, vs. 172 in March 2018, 164 in March 2017, and 153 in March 2016.

Is there a push for vertical living in Montecito or is it still horizontal based?

Montecito living is still mainly horizontal living, although there have been a couple of new developments on Montecito’s Coast Village Road, also called the “Lower Village.” The condos up above the Honor Bar sold right away, and the hot new development of the moment is called “The Villas as Olive Mill.” There are only 5 condos up above commercial space, on the 2nd and 3rd levels of the building. It took 15 years for the owner/developer to put the project through, and the condos turned out beautifully. One condo sold off market, and the other four just came available. The remaining condos are priced from $3,500,000, and the penthouse is priced at $5,900,000. That being said, Montecito living is still mostly horizontal living. Luxury homebuyers typically want to spread out, they want views, outdoor space, privacy, and room to entertain their guests.

What do you recommend to homebuyers looking to invest in Montecito as we head into the spring of 2019?

I think this is an excellent time to buy in Montecito. Last year’s events put a damper on housing transactions. The number of sales went down by approximately 30%. I feel there are some excellent values in Montecito right now, and I believe the community remains strong and beautiful and will heal from the events of last year. It has been amazing to see the community come together, making the area even better and more beautiful, and at a rapid pace. The hiking trails are gorgeous, the area is very green, the new Rosewood Hotel just opened, there are some excellent new restaurants, and the community will continue to thrive.

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