Former U.S. Ambassador Buys Montecito’s Historic Erdman House for Millions Over Asking

Santa Barbara real estate is hot right now, especially for properties with lots of land or historic pedigrees. Montecito’s so-called Erdman House has both — it was designed in 1959 by Lutah Maria Riggs, the first licensed female architect in Santa Barbara and California’s first woman named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects — and sits on four eucalyptus and pine tree-studded acres. And, of course, it’s located in the seaside enclave home to everyone from Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres to Katy Perry and Ariana Grande, from Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

A sublimely preserved midcentury modern, the Erdman House hit the market last month and sold in just 17 days — for $9.5 million, a whipping $2 million more than the initial ask. Records indicate the all-cash buyer is Susan Rasinski McCaw, the Seattle-based former U.S. Ambassador to Austria and the

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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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