California’s Housing Market Ends 2020 On High Note

By Brian Johnson
2021 President
Santa Barbara Association of Realtors  

I am full of hope for what 2021 will hold for us but I think it is important to look back at 2020 one last time. The California housing market showed surprising resilience and strength despite everything that we faced. When the pandemic started, everything stood still. We had never faced anything like this before and there was no roadmap on how to handle this. However, one thing that became clear was that the home buying market would not stay down for long. After the initial months of the lockdown effectively cancelled the spring buying season the second half of the year performed more than well enough to make 2020 a solid year.

On a statewide basis, the number of home sales rose to 509,750 in December 2020. This was an increase of 28% from December 2019. Overall, the number of sales statewide was up by 3.5% in 2020. Additionally, the median home sales price was up almost 17% from December of 2019. It hit a peak of almost $718,000 in December for the state.

On a local level, we saw the year-end with 1,336 home sales for the area between Goleta and Carpinteria. That’s almost a 15% increase over 2019 and that includes the shut down over the spring months. At the beginning of this year, there were only 159 active homes and PUDs on the market. That is a small amount of inventory given how popular our market has become. The buyers of those properties run the gamut. Everyone from first time homebuyers taking the plunge to have a better home working situation to out of towners looking to escape to Santa Barbara. We saw it all. This meant upward pressure on home values.

At the beginning of 2021, there were only nine homes available for under $1,000,000. The median sales price for a home or PUD in 2020 was $1,550,000. That means half of the homes that sold in 2020 sold for over $1,550,000 and half sold for less than that. The median sales price is a 20% increase over 2019’s median sales price.

Now that we are almost done with January, we are seeing the inventory increase as new listings come to market after the holidays so there should be a little relief in the pressure but do not expect the hot market to cool anytime soon. This pandemic is not over and there is not an influx of new housing stock on the horizon so the demand will continue to outpace the supply. Additionally, interest rates remain at historic lows so for those in the market to purchase, they can depend on their trusted real estate advisor to find them the home of their dreams here in paradise.

Brian Johnson is a California licensed real estate agent and the Managing Director of Radius Commercial Real Estate. Brian handles all types of commercial real estate transactions but has a special focus on multifamily investments. He can be reached at 805-879-9631 or


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