Santa Barbara Real Estate
Santa Barbara is situated on a peaceful section of the California coastline along the longest section of the West Coast that runs east to west instead of north to south. Thus, the town is bordered on the south by the Pacific Ocean, with views of the Channel Islands, and on the north by the Santa Ynez mountains. Approximately 90,000 people reside in the City of Santa Barbara, while the surrounding urban areas including Goleta, Montecito, and Carpinteria bring the area’s population to around 140,000—making up about half of the County of Santa Barbara’s population.
History of Santa Barbara
The land now occupied by Santa Barbara was originally inhabited by the native Chumash people, hunter-gatherers also known for their fishing and basket-weaving skills. The Chumash were also known to travel on the Pacific in their plank boats, even settling several of the Channel Islands. Eventually, the Spanish came and built both a presidio and mission in the area.
After a devastating earthquake in 1812 destroyed much of the original mission, it was rebuilt in its present splendor. The next century saw many changes as Mexican ownership was followed by U.S. acquisition, the discovery of oil nearby, and greater accessibility with the railroad’s connections from both Los Angeles and San Francisco.
After another earthquake in 1925, the town seized the opportunity to rebuild in the more uniform and characteristic manner that is still prevalent today—Spanish-Moorish architecture and the red-tile roof. The beautiful downtown courthouse is one of the first buildings to have been completed in this style, and was dedicated in August, 1929. The Santa Barbara Courthouse‘s bell tower offers residents and tourists one on of the best view points in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara Economy & Tourism
Today, Santa Barbara remains a significant tourist attraction for international and domestic travelers. Stearns Wharf, the Santa Barbara Mission, numerous beaches, and the temperate year-round climate combine to entice visitors to come experience the Santa Barbara vacation lifestyle time and again. Several area festivals, including the Old Spanish Days Fiesta, Summer Solstice, and the nearby Avocado Festival also draw crowds annually.
Besides tourism, Santa Barbara’s economy is fueled by many technology companies, large and small, as well as a thriving medical community. Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital just underwent a $40 million renovation and is now the largest and most state-of-the-art medical facility between Los Angeles and San Francisco. One of the other largest employers in the city is the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Other local institutes of higher learning include Antioch University, Brooks Institute, Santa Barbara City College, and Westmont College, which is nestled in the affluent area of Montecito. The Santa Barbara area is also known to be home to many former and current entrepreneurs, which has resulted in a thriving sector of technology start-ups.
Santa Barbara Real Estate
Real estate prices in Santa Barbara vary greatly. Generally, anything from one-bedroom condos to large estates can be found within the city or the immediately surrounding areas. Overall, Santa Barbara condominiums will range from about $200,000 to $2,000,000 (or more depending on size and location), while Santa Barbara homes begin around $350,000 with practically no upper limit.