Credit: Courtesy

For most local families, the big news this week was the first day of school. Kiddos heading back into classrooms with all of their friends meant a lot of smiling faces — even if the smiles were hidden behind masks.

Back to School

Here’s local realtor Kellie Clenet sending her daughter Coco off to kindergarten (above). So adorbs! Even those of us without kids felt the back-to-school spirit this week, whether from coworkers, teacher friends, or changes to traffic patterns in the neighborhood. I’ve got a lot of teachers in my life, including my sister Sue, who teaches 3rd grade in L.A. County, and my best friend Juli, who teaches kindergarten in San Diego. They’re both entrenched in the back-to-school transition, and I hear all the details. Closer to home, my good friend York “graduated” from junior high to his first day teaching at Santa Barbara High School this week. Anyone who knows a teacher knows how hard they work, and the last year-plus has certainly been no exception.

Helping Our Schools

Credit: Courtesy

Fortunately, there are local efforts afoot to help our teachers and classrooms. The Teacher’s Fund Back to School Supplies Drive has gone virtual again this year, raising awareness and funds to grant specific wishes to local educators. The Teacher’s Fund was founded almost twenty years ago by Village Properties. Since its inception, the fund has raised over $1.7 million for Santa Barbara-area schools. It’s a tangible way to help local classrooms obtain specific supplies and materials. Since I don’t have notebooks or backpacks to buy for my now-grown-up kids, the fund provides a feel-good opportunity to go back-to-school shopping and make a difference. Visit the Teacher’s Fund Back to School Supplies Drive between now and August 31 to help meet this year’s fundraising goal of $60,000. You’ll be glad you helped.

Market Statistics

Credit: Courtesy

Speaking of back to school, it’s time for a math lesson. There’s no debating that the real estate market has been hot lately, with stories of properties flying into escrow in record time, with multiple offers, sight unseen, etcetera. Current statistics, compiled by the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service, show the whole picture. As shown in the image above, so far in 2021, we’ve seen 48 percent more sales than this time last year. In addition, average sales price is up 55 percent, and the median sales price is up 40 percent, with the median sales price for a single-family home in South Santa Barbara County currently at $1,927,500. If you’d like more detail — such as specifics for different areas, or condos vs. SFRs, etc., ask your favorite Realtor. Thanks to Village Properties for the pretty graphic shown above.

This edition of The Home Page was originally emailed to subscribers on March 31, 2024. To receive Sarah Sinclair’s real estate newsletter in your inbox each Sunday, sign up at

Must Haves: Ferris Wheel, Lazy River…

Credit: Richard Taverna for Sotheby’s International Realty

When it’s time for recess — but you don’t want to leave home — check out this tricked-out mansion for sale just outside St. Louis. I’m told that the 15,638-square-foot home set on 20 acres boasts seven bedrooms, 13 baths, a two-story library, two gyms, two laundry rooms, and an impressive theater with a bar. But that’s not all! Downstairs, there are colorful bowling lanes and an indoor basketball court, while outside, a Ferris wheel sits beside a resort-style pool with a lazy river, swim-up bar, two slides, a grotto, a waterfall, and a two-story pergola overlooking it all. And, oh yes, the $20,000,000 listing is billed as one of the country’s best equestrian properties with a riding ring, paddocks, and plenty of room to ride.

Closer to Home

Credit: Steve Galbreath

In our Make Myself at Home column this week, I wrote about three downtown cottages that are currently on the market. I feel lucky — and my friends are all envious — that I get to visit multimillion-dollar estates in Hope Ranch, luxurious listings in Montecito, historic wineries in the valley, and beyond. Of course they’re all fun to ogle, and as I walk through, trying not to drool, I conjure up a slew of wow-someone-actually-gets-to-live-here fantasies. But, quite honestly, my favorites are the homes that are closer to the reality of my own home sweet home. And these three downtown cuties fall into that category. One of them, at the corner of De la Vina and Haley streets, and shown above, is even a close-to-tiny home like mine. Thanks to all my Realtor friends who give me tips about their upcoming houses for sale. If you’ve got tips for me, or ideas for this newsletter, I’m all ears.

If you haven’t picked up your copy of this week’s issue, flip through here for the digital copy. Thanks for reading, and whether you’re resting up for week two of school or out looking for your next dream home, enjoy your Sunday!

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