Rob Lowe reveals how his neighbourhood has changed since Harry and Meghan moved in

·Royal Correspondent
·5-min read

Watch: Rob Lowe's neighbourhood will never 'be the same' after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved in

Rob Lowe has said his neighbourhood will never be the same after Harry and Meghan moved in.

Lowe, 57, revealed what it's like to have royal neighbours saying it had "brought a lot of attention to my sleepy little town". 

The actor told E! News: "Let me tell you something: Once the royals move into your neighbourhood, the neighbourhood is never going to be the same.

"When Oprah moved in, that began the sort of resurgence of Montecito. And now that the royals are there, the good news is property values go up, the bad news is the lines are longer at Starbucks."

Lowe has lived in the area, about 90 miles from Los Angeles, for 26 years, and Harry and Meghan confirmed they had bought their first home together there in the summer of 2020.

He denied that his garden had been used for the interview between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Winfrey, which was filmed at a mystery location in Santa Barbara.

Lowe said: "Everybody thinks the interview is shot at my house and then my friend Ted Sarandos, who runs Netflix, everybody thought they shot it at his house.

"Here’s my thing and I have no idea. I think they just plain old shot it at Oprah’s. I swear to you they just said it was a mystery location."

View of the gate of the Estate where Prince Harry and his wife US actress Meghan Markle have their house, in Montecito, California on March 6, 2021. - Prince Harry and Meghan Markle headed to California and relocated in July, 2020 to Montecito, a small and affluent seaside city 100 miles (160 kilometers) up the coast, where a spokesperson said they had
The gate of the Estate where Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle have their house, in Montecito, California. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)
View of the Montecito Village school, in Montecito, California on March 6, 2021. - Prince Harry and Meghan Markle headed to California and relocated in July, 2020 to Montecito, a small and affluent seaside city 100 miles (160 kilometers) up the coast, where a spokesperson said they had
The Montecito Village school, in Montecito, California in March 2021.The area is known for good schools. (Valerie Macon/AFP)

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Harry, 36, revealed Orlando Bloom is one of his new neighbour friends, telling Dax Shepard that the actor had text him pictures of a paparazzo hiding in a car near their homes.

"Just two days ago Orlando Bloom sent me a message because he's down the road and we sort of keep in contact because of the paparazzi," Harry said on the podcast

"He sent me a photograph, which his security got, of this long-haired guy with a beanie on, with his AirPods in, with his massive camera lying in the back of his 4x4 truck, blacked-out windows, a woman driving ... and he's laid down in the back of this truck taking photographs of them out with their kid, and whoever else is in that area. How is that normal? How is that acceptable?"

The neighbourhood is also home to Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Drew Barrymore, and John Cleese, among other Hollywood names.

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Lowe is right that house prices were boosted because of the royal connection, according to local property experts.

Real estate company Redfin says house prices were up 62% in Montecito in April 2021 compared to the year before.

Daniel Encell, director of estates division at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, wrote in a blog looking over the second quarter of 2021: "Wow - what an incredible First Quarter for local real estate! 34 years in the business and I have never seen anything like it. Sales along the South Coast skyrocketed, and prices went through the roof."

Of Montecito he added: "Average Sale Price skyrocketed 92% and hit an all-time high of $5,964,725. Median Sale Price also moved into new territory, rising 58% to an unbelievable $4,150,000. Sold Volume in Montecito was $548,754,719 - increasing an unprecedented 285%! 

"On average, properties in Montecito sold for 97% of their last list price - an improvement of 6% compared to a year ago."

The Montecito Journal reported in December 2020 that Montecito was becoming a "Zoom town" as people moved further out from big cities because of the rise in working from home, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rob Lowe said the Oprah interview was not filmed in his garden. (CBS)
Rob Lowe said the Oprah interview was not filmed in his garden. (CBS)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 1383A -- Pictured in this screengrab: Actor Rob Lowe during an interview on January 8, 2021 -- (Photo By: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Rob Lowe has lived in Montecito for 26 years. (NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

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The journal said the allure of Montecito is "low population density, world-class schools, beaches, mountain trails" and that there are some 3,100 houses in the area best known for its Spanish revival architecture.

It also cited how much quicker houses were selling - giving the example of DeGeneres and de Rossi's home which sat on the market for two years before they bought it in 2018, but sold in three weeks when they put it up for sale. They made a $6.3m profit, according to the newspaper.

Harry has already shown his love for being by the sea, with photos of him at the beach with one of his dogs appearing in his new documentary, The Me You Can't See, which he produced with Winfrey.

He and Meghan also shared footage of them playing with Archie, their two-year-old son, at the beach during their interview with Winfrey in March.

Harry has also confirmed Archie is going to pre-school in the area. On the Armchair Expert podcast he spoke to Shepard about his frustration that his son and Meghan were photographed on the toddler's first day

The Santa Barbara tourist board website welcomed Harry and Meghan last year, saying that while there was heightened interest in the area because of their arrival, locals would largely leave them alone and allow them to enjoy their peaceful surroundings.

It also pointed out they could enjoy walks in the mountains and on the beach, and that Harry could pick up polo again at the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club. 

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