Despite a general slide in the U.S. housing market, real estate professionals have declared the Santa Barbara area as the most expensive region in the country.

According to, the “average” American home – a 1,500 square foot abode with three bedrooms and two bathrooms – costs a median of $254,346 while the typical Santa Barbara house totals a price of $816,022. In addition, the number of homeowners who defaulted on their mortgage in the Santa Barbara metropolitan region more than doubled last year, thus increasing the amount of residents who may lose their homes.

Zillow, an online real estate service founded by the creators of, uses a home evaluation index to determine the value of all houses in 46 different metropolitan regions. From this typical housing price, the cost of one average house in Santa Barbara equals the combined price of eight comparable houses in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Even current homeowners are struggling to pay their mortgages, according to, a San Diego-based real estate information service. The website also reported the highest rate of mortgage default in the Santa Barbara area in 10 years.

Statistics from the County Clerk-Recorder Assessor’s office also noted a 110 percent increase in mortgage defaults, jumping from 400 to 841 from 2005 to 2006. County officials have projected that nearly 2,000 homes will default again this year and that lenders may foreclose on 765 of those properties.

Last year, 40 percent of homeowners in the state of California who received a notice of default went on to lose their homes in the following quarter.