The most expensive residential real estate deal in Santa Barbara area history-nearly $80 million-just took place at 2781 Padaro Lane.

The $35 million sale, announced Sunday by Realtor Suzanne Perkins, is just part of the deal. Perkins wouldn’t confirm the rest of it due to confidentiality agreements, but according to word on the street, the same person also bought two adjacent lots, one with a home under construction.

Add all three lots and you have a purchase price just under $80 million, I’m told. Until now, the Santa Barbara area record was the $50 million paid by Oprah Winfrey for a Montecito spread of about 42 acres.

On the Beat

“Santa Barbara real estate is really hot:” especially in the “super-high end,” said Perkins, of Sotheby’s International Realty. By “super-high end,” she said she meant $8 million and over.

“A lot of people have made lots of money and where better to put it?” than Santa Barbara real estate, she asked. Although she said the Dunn Trust was the seller of the main lot, where a Tuscan-style home has been built overlooking the ocean, Perkins declined to name the buyer. But word around town is that he is an East Coast hedge fund executive. It’s not known whether it would be a full-time or part-time residence.

Santa Barbara area real estate is “a limited commodity,” and there are very few listings and only a small handful of choices at the upper end, Perkins said. But, she cautioned, “We have to make sure that we protect what we have,” and not destroy it through overdevelopment. We don’t want to look like the worst of San Diego and Orange County, she warned.

Developers are seeking to grab a foothold of the Gaviota Coast, she pointed out. Last year Perkins was the listing agent for the sale of the Cojo and Jalama ranches in the Vandenberg Air Force Base area for a combined price of about $155 million.

Many are watching to see what buyers intend for that undeveloped spread.

[Editor’s Suspicion: Perkins sold the Cojo/Jalama spread to The Baupost Group, which is run by East Coast moneyman Seth Klarman. Barney reports that she sold this one to an unnamed “East Coast hedge fund executive.” It would be easy to suspect that this seller could be Klarman as well, but Perkins would not divulge the name, according to Barney.]

15.jpgEllen Selling: My sources tell me that TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres still has her $16.5 million Montecito home on the market-the one she bought just a few months ago.

As I reported recently, the popular host of this year’s Oscars, surprisingly decided to quietly shop the large home and property. The George Washington Smith-designed home had been on the market for some time before the bought it, and had been vastly remodeled by a prior owner.

The home, near the private Lotusland estate, has four bedrooms and eight bathrooms, plus a guesthouse, tennis court and pool. The 5,000-square-foot house has a 1,300-square-foot master bedroom suite that includes a nursery and is guarded by walls and a high gate.

(Barney Brantingham can be reached at or at 805-965-5205. He writes a column in the Thursday print edition of the Santa Barbara Independent and online columns on Tuesday and Fridays.)


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