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Neighborhoods and Homes
updated: Mar 15, 2014, 2:43 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

With the recent rise in home values I have been priced out of several areas in Santa Barbara. Some of the previously "bad neighborhood" have been turning around, and I looked at a home on the lower Westside near San Andres that is affordable. Due to gang violence this is an area that I would have avoided 20 years ago. As a single girl, is there any area that I should avoid?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 502981 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 02:56 PM

Prices might be going up on San Andres, but I would be scared to live there as a girl. Things are worse now, than they were 20 years ago in my opinion.


 COMMENT 502984 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 02:58 PM

I have also seen some sweet homes on the Westside recently and when considering buying one asked a friend who moved to the neighborhood and he loves it. I ended up getting lucky and bought a house in San Roque, however. It really has gotten expensive. I, personally, would avoid Isla Vista, the area around CC and lower Eastside, and anything very close to lower State.


 COMMENT 503004P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 03:15 PM

Probably avoid what you can afford. :-(
Though it wouldn't stop me, also a girl. I actually prefer renting.


 COMMENT 503005 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 03:16 PM

my friends wait till after the earthquake and buy then.. castles made of sand...as st. Hendrix preached.


 COMMENT 503008 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 03:20 PM

Avoid east side, west side, and downtown. Homeless and gang infested. Iv isn't bad like that just a bunch of college kids having fun.


 COMMENT 503018P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 03:36 PM

Web site for the city includes police crime charts, etc. See if this takes you there https://www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/depts/police/online/crimestats.asp


 COMMENT 503020 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 03:47 PM

(I concur with 984's advice)
1. Areas, like Bel Air Knolls, that have some views and larger homes, but are not in a preferred elem. school district, attract investor/buyers who then turn them into vacation rentals or glorified boarding houses. You could end up with ever changing and party hardy neighbors who just don't care;
2. Homes that are near the freeway ped overpasses as they can be magnets for loitering/urination/trepidation!;
3. Flood zones. That mandatory insurance is going up up up and, regardless what optimistic agents may tell you, it is hard to get exception easily;
4.Near a park is not always a sweet idea. See reasons in #2 and then add in noise every weekend of someone's wedding/big parties with music when you might like quiet after a long work week. Further, parks can become a whole different culture at night!


 COMMENT 503031 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 04:05 PM

I would avoid San Roque area. Way overpriced homes that are Apartment small and filled with families that are willing pay anything to join the white flight club.


 COMMENT 503047P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 04:34 PM

If you can handle a relative traffic free comment of 35-40 minutes, check Buellton out.

It's freeway close to 101, and they have some very well kept up neighborhoods like Meadow Ridge, by the awesome Riverview Park, and across the 246 near Oak Valley School.

We were just "garage saleing" there today and it's very nice!

Oh, the prices are hundreds of thousands below S.B!


 COMMENT 503065 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 04:59 PM

I have lived in San Roque almost 50 years and although it has become over built and homes are over extended, it is still lovely and in a good school district.


 COMMENT 503088 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 06:25 PM

I think Carp and Summerland can be a good value and not far. Goleta is even closer with good beach access. Personally I'm moving to Montecito from the upper Eastside which is charming architecturally but too noisy/uneven.


 COMMENT 503097 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 06:52 PM

Look for what is in your price range. Look at the homes and yards nearby---well kept? If people have paid $600,000 and up for a house, they are likely to keep it up. Look at the area you are considering night and day. Graffiti is a bad sign,often gang turf marking. Near schools can be noisy in daytime, but since there are people around, less crime. (And I don't mind the sound of kids playing.) As a woman living alone, get good locks on windows as well as doors, maybe an alarm system, maybe a big dog if you have enough time to take care of him and can bring him to work. If nothing you can afford is to your taste, just rent, and put your money in another type of investment.


 COMMENT 503115 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 07:39 PM

San Roque is great... close to restaurants, bus, nicely kept homes. Good school. Great mountain views. It's becoming a mini-Montecito.


 COMMENT 503118 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 07:44 PM

I like the area above Foothill Road in the hills starting around Mission Street and heading to the end of San Roque. I think it's fairly good bang for your buck and very safe.


 COMMENT 503151P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 10:42 PM

Hidden Valley is real nice.


 COMMENT 503158P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-15 11:41 PM

I love San Roque but it is no "mini montecito" More like Samrakand North. San Roque is a charming area but highly overpriced and over rated for older small homes. Crime has increased in the area with auto and home burglaries becoming more prevalent. Many neighborhoods here have good and bad streets. I know many people on the west side who have bought within the last few years. They are happy and the biggest complaint is speeding traffic.
Don't buy a house you are not in love with just because you can...


 COMMENT 503176 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 07:41 AM

Have lived in San Roque nearly 50 years and loving it for many reasons, but by no stretch of the imagination can it be considered another Montecito. Ever. That's realtor talk. It could have retained it's village like charm though, if over zealous residents had curbed the urge to build up and out those ugly zig zagging extensions.

New clients are tempted to buy a two bedroom cottage, a steal, then build what they consider a mansion on a postage size lot, dwarfing the unfortunate cottage dwellers on both sides.

Traffic on upper State Street is a nightmare. There is no peaceful village to wander through, away from the noise and chaos. Unless one counts the deserted La Cumbre Mall. 5 Points is a scramble. Decades ago blissful days were spent in Steven’s Park, now nearing 80 I’m scared to walk alone with my dog through the “Magic Trail” as the children used to call it - because of transients.


 COMMENT 503204 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 08:46 AM

Look in the Painted Cave area since it is still relatively undervalued. They have their own independent water company and water source. The community is surrounded by the Los Padres National Forest so walks/hiking/biking is amazing. It's 20 minutes to the Carrillo exit.


 COMMENT 503206 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 08:51 AM

Painted Cave sounds lovely.


 COMMENT 503223 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 09:36 AM

We bought not far from San Andres a couple of years ago. Charming house, quiet street, neighbors that wave to you when you come home. We love the Westside!


 COMMENT 503230P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 09:59 AM

Painted Cave is even more exciting every couple of years or so when all the residents have to evacuate because of wildfires. Often they're lucky and the houses don't burn. I've heard that fire insurance is either prohibitively expensive or unobtainable.

Then, there are the rattlesnakes....

But Painted Cave residents say they wouldn't live anywhere else, so maybe you might like it there.


 COMMENT 503240P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 10:13 AM

I live in West Downtown (above Carrillo), and although there are a few rough-around-the-corners houses and characters; and there is the occasional tag and shady character walking through, most all of my neighbors are friendly and wave and will stop and say hi if I'm out in the front yard.

I feel like we all have an eye out for each other, even if we don't come out and say it.

I'd say the worst part about living downtown is the littering. I have to pick up plastic wrappers off my berm about every other day from careless kids (really not that bad), but I have never felt truly unsafe.

I feel like those aspects are okay tradeoffs for the incredible convenience of being able to walk and bike to wherever you need to go, and being close to a lot of lively watering holes and restaurants. And I don't know if it's just my immediate neighborhood, but for the housing density here, it's really quiet (other than the traffic).

If you're considering West Downtown – or really, any neighborhood for that matter – just go spend some time there. Take a few walks around the block, both day and night (really good way to see how noisy a neighborhood is) to get a feel for what it might be like to live there. Hope that helps!


 COMMENT 503251 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 10:20 AM

Have you considered a condo? I love East Beach Townhomes and El Escorial for the 24/7 security and also having neighbors that you will get to know, especially at EBTH. The convenience of having a beach path right out your door for walking/biking is wonderful, also being able to hop the shuttle for downtown excursions if you don't want to drive is nice. EBTH is a PUD which means you have your own private little yard to garden in or have a space for a little pet is also a plus. A lot of perks without all the big maintenance problems that can come with owning a home.


 COMMENT 503272P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 11:20 AM

I live in the lower east (near Franklin School) and I am a single female; I walk my small dog in the area - he loves it, lots of smells! - including at night, and have never had a problem, nor has a friend who lives in the same area. TJs is close and Milpas has lots of restaurants and, of course, East Beach isn't far!

There is littering - why don't they get the school kids to pick up what they leave! - and street graffiti (the city says they'll respond in 3 days, but it's closer to two weeks, if that!) - but in years here, I've never had a safety problem. I think the area from Cacique and around is different but that's maybe because I don't know it.

(East Beach Townhouses sound great, however!)


 COMMENT 503358 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 03:33 PM

Our Real Estate Agent told us there is a shortage of million dollar houses in the Mission Canyon area, so unless you have bank, don't look there.


 COMMENT 503359P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 03:38 PM

No matter where you choose, find out how many of the neighboring homes are rentals. We didn't pay attention to that when we bought in our Goleta neighborhood in 1994 and it turned out that 1/2 the homes in the cul-de-sac had 4-5 students crammed into the houses -- lots of cars, noise, partying, etc. For awhile, we even had a drug dealer down the street (I know this because the police came looking for him). Residents who own their homes generally make for better neighbors.


 COMMENT 503427 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-16 07:38 PM

Hidden valley is very nice. There are a bunch of condos in the area, as well as many 50's craftsman homes. Super safe and lots of mature trees. Good place to keep an eye out.


 COMMENT 503556 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-03-17 11:59 AM

Quiet and nice area on east Soledad, northside of Gutierrez.


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