After attending the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors meeting at the Montecito Country Club along with about 200 other people on Feb. 5, I decided I didn’t want to do it again. I didn’t want to come back to this column with more depressing statistics, more somber quotes and another bleak outlook.
But it seems I have no choice.
Bob Curtis of Village Properties kicked off the evening with his review and forecast of the South Coast residential market. The first slide of his presentation showed a 13 percent drop in home sales and a 16 percent drop in the median home price over 2007. Curtis was quick to point out that median prices can be misleading.
Foreclosures in the south Santa Barbara market jumped from 25 in 2007 to 102 in 2008, but Curtis reminded the audience that some areas had much higher rates.
Coldwell Banker’s Linda Lorenzen-Hughes was up to bat next, describing the decline in the luxury market, where sales took a nosedive in the last four months of 2008 — a complication that dragged prices down.
She believes fear has been one of the main factors in keeping the market frozen and thinks the market will bounce back as soon as people can overcome their anxieties.