After media mogul Oprah Winfrey paid an astonishing $52 million in 2001 for an estate that caught her eye, the affluent enclave of Montecito in Santa Barbara County, 90 miles north of Los Angeles, continued to experience skyrocketing home values.
Some real estate experts suggest that Oprah's Georgian-style residence, on about 45 acres, might have been a good buy at that sum. The property was appraised in 2008 for $85 million, reflecting an average 18% increase in that neighborhood's home values since 2000, but may have taken a dip with the recent housing market slide. (In 2008, the average home sales price was up 16% from $3,690,095 to $4,316,684. Figures are not yet available for 2009.)
Montecito, where residents enjoy an ideal Mediterranean-like climate, has been attracting the super rich for over a century. A bevy of beachfront mansions and oceanview villas are owned by celebrities and tycoons such as Beanie Babies billionaire Ty Warner, model Kathy Ireland, actor Rob Lowe, and comedian John Cleese, whose Fernald Point pad is now listed at $8.5 million following his costly 2008 divorce.
Close by, the oceanside city of Carpinteria, dotted with polo fields, boasts an equally star-studded resident roster, but more importantly, direct access to miles of prisitine beach.
Carpinteria's Padaro Lane, home to the Kevin Costner family, has a "price-reduced" listing at $18.5 million. This sleek and sunlit contemporary is poised on a gentle rise above the azure Pacific.
"A modern tribute to form following function," says Sotheby's real estate. "Every design element of this luxuriously sophisticated home celebrates its oceanfront location."
For art collectors, the open floor plan offers grand spaces conducive to showing large scale modern and contemporary art. Plus, walls of glass frame the stunning ocean vista: picture dolphins and whales swimming against a blue horizon.
Five oceanview bedrooms include a mind-blowing master suite encompassing over 1,300-square-feet.
The crisp lines of this modern masterpiece are softenend with rich decorative touches and materials, including dual mahogany appointed libraries and a precision Italian designed kitchen.
Offered by Suzanne Perkins, Sotheby's International Realty, for $18.5 million.