Billionaire Riley Bechtel Pays Record $63 Million for Montecito’s Historic Rancho San Carlos

While most luxury neighborhoods are still recovering from the COVID-19 market aftershocks, California’s sleepy but searingly expensive Montecito community has seen an unprecedented number of eight-figure real estate deals close in rapid succession. The volley arguably kicked off over the summer, around the time Meghan Markle and Prince Harry paid $14.7 million for large Montecito compound, and has yet to slow.

The latest and biggest deal so far closed last week, when one of Santa Barbara County’s largest estate parcels — a 237-acre property known as Rancho San Carlos — sold for $63.3 million, almost exactly half the unrealistic $125 million pricetag with which it was originally saddled back in 2014, when it first appeared on the market. (The massive estate’s ask eventually plummeted to $75 million before it was yanked off the market.)

Despite the deeply discounted sale price, the transaction is one of the priciest residential deals in

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