Coastal California has seen a resurgence of interest as buyers continue to expand from the urban centers of Silicon Valley, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Four Golden State beach spots entered the top 10 in the luxury segment of the second emerging housing market index Wall Street Journal /, released Tuesday.

They include Santa Maria and Santa Barbara, California in the first place; San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande, Calif., At # 5; and Oxnard, Thousand Oaks and Ventura, Calif., in ninth place, according to the data. Salinas, whose largest metropolitan area includes the very affluent Monterey region, was also in the top 10, ranking 8th on the index.

These regions, all located north of Los Angeles, provide affluent families with space to continue working and studying from home without having to tear themselves away from California entirely.

“In general, there is a trend towards areas with less density,” Danielle Hale, chief economist of, told Mansion Global. “Buyers are looking for less busy places where they can stretch out and have privacy.”

The index, based on June real estate data, uses a list of indicators to gauge the prosperity of emerging real estate markets. These include the growth in the supply of and demand for housing; median listing prices; unemployment; salaries; a measure of the cost of living; small enterprises; amenities and the proportion of residents born abroad who contribute to the vitality and diversity of the territory. In its second edition, local property taxes were also considered.

The 60 metropolitan areas examined in the luxury segment of the Emerging Housing Markets Index are ranked based on housing data for the top 1% of each market and the weighted sum of those metrics to determine which ones have the hottest high-end markets. .

Santa Barbara took first place in the luxury segment of the second index of emerging housing markets Wall Street Journal /

Tran Nguyen

California has a mix of densities, from big cities to small towns, Hale continued, which gives affluent buyers options when looking for a new home. This bodes well for the markets of what have traditionally been second-home destinations, like Santa Barbara’s extremely wealthy Montecito and Malibu, but also for attractive under-the-radar coastal communities like Oxnard.

“The main consumer rankings markets tend not to be vacation spots necessarily,” Hale said of the non-luxury overall ranking, of which Billings, MT came first this time around. . “This is not true for luxury.”

The influx from denser areas like Los Angeles is certainly evident in Santa Barbara, according to Billy Rose, co-founder and vice president of The Agency.

“There are bidding wars on almost every property,” he said. “Homes are sold soon after purchase for high premiums, and agents are selling pocket ads more than ever. “

The Covid-19 pandemic has placed more emphasis on the “home,” Rose noted, which has benefited the Santa Barbara market.

“People look for more in a home, especially luxury buyers,” he explained. “Santa Barbara delivers so much.”

The city of Santa Barbara not only has properties with plenty of space for work, school, entertainment, and exercise, but it also offers upscale shopping and dining, outdoor activities such as hiking and biking; and, of course, beaches. .

“The weather is wonderful and the atmosphere is relaxed,” said Mr. Rose.

In Santa Barbara County, areas like Montecito have been “extremely popular,” in part because there are larger plots of land being offered there, he added. Old-time architecture and Spanish-style houses were also in demand.

“People are looking for great homes wherever they are,” said Rose.

This extends to other top cities such as San Luis Obispo, on the central California coast, and the Oxnard, Thousand Oaks and Ventura area, about 40 minutes north of Los Angeles. The latter is expected to be one of’s main housing markets in 2021, according to a December report from the real estate portal.

“The area’s beach homes are significantly more affordable than those in Malibu or Santa Monica, making them a popular alternative for buyers hoping to get more for their money,” Ms. Hale said in the report.

Some cities in the luxury segment of the emerging housing index have seen big jumps from the first edition, released in April.

For example, Provo-Orem in Utah took first place in the first luxury index, but fell to 42nd on the list released Tuesday. Reno, Nevada’s ranking dropped four spots to place 7th in the most recent index, while Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, retained its second place in the luxury segment.

Other emerging luxury markets include South Carolina’s Hilton Head, Bluffton and Beaufort, a region that landed at No.3, and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, which took sixth. There are two Top 10 Florida destinations, and neither were the typical luxury pillars of Miami or Palm Beach. Crestview, Fort Walton Beach and Destin in the northwestern part of the state ranked at No.4, and North Port, Sarasota and Bradenton on the Gulf Coast came in 10th.

“Luxury vacation areas continue to dominate the top of this list,” Ms. Hale said. “The places people live and work, like New York City, Philadelphia, Miami, and San Francisco, are always downstairs. It will be interesting to see how that plays out the rest of the year.

(Mansion Global is owned by Dow Jones. Dow Jones and are both owned by News Corp. The Wall Street Journal is also owned by Dow Jones.)

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