Families are choosing the celebrity enclave of Montecito, California, just east of Santa Barbara, as real estate prices reach historic highs. Since the pandemic began, young families from Seattle to Los Angeles have decided to call this seaside community of about 10,000 residents—and one of the nation's wealthiest—home.
Riskin Partners Estate Group with Village Properties knows Montecito well after 17 years of racking up sales there. As Montecito's top-selling luxury real estate team, they've seen the market evolve to where it is today.
Partner Robert Riskin drills down the demographics. "We have seen a significant demographic shift since the pandemic. The biggest change has been the increase in young families making Montecito their primary residence. Between January and July of 2020 versus the same time this year, Riskin Partners saw a 160% increase in the number of young families buying homes in Montecito." These days many Montecito listings mention the coveted Montecito Union School District.
Oprah, Rob Lowe and Ellen De Generes (the latter being a noted Los Angeles and Montecito renovator) are among celebrities who enjoy life in Montecito. While the A-listers live in gated estates with eight-figure price tags, young families often gravitate towards "affordable" properties that offer a similarly laid-back yet sophisticated lifestyle.
“Overall, it's just a really exciting time in the community. Having grown up here myself, it is fun to see the new and amazing energy coming into our small town. We are so lucky to have incredible outdoor activities between the beaches and mountains, our two Montecito Villages with great shops and restaurants. It's a wonderful small town that has all of the amenities of a larger city,” Riskin explains.