High-earning Angelenos desiring a beach retreat zip 30 miles west of downtown Los Angeles to the quintessential beachfront community of Malibu. The 21 miles of pristine Pacific Coastline have long attracted surfers and sun-seekers to what locals refer to as “the Bu.”
“Malibu is a highly desirable beach community,” said Shirley Sherman of Douglas Elliman. “Many area residents have their second and third homes here. Malibu is the ‘it’ beach community in Southern California and the stomping grounds of old Hollywood.”
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Malibu is bordered by Topanga on the east, Solromar in Ventura County to the west, the Santa Monica Mountains to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south.
“Realtors divide the city from west to east with Latigo Canyon Road as the middle ground between both,” said Chad Rogers Hilton & Hyland, a member of Luxury Portfolio International. “The west section of Malibu includes Point Dume, Zuma Beach and Broad Beach. The east section is home to Malibu Colony, Serra Retreat, Carbon Beach, and La Costa Beach. It’s very long and narrow along the 21-mile Pacific coastline.”
The average home in Malibu is around $4 million. Homes start around $2 million and can go up to $20 million, with some selling upward of $80 million. Condominiums start at approximately $1 million and can go up to $4 million, depending on the location, Sherman said.
Location affects prices. For example, in Malibu Colony, landside homes start around $5 million, Mr. Rogers said, and can reach $15 million depending on the size of the house and lot. Beachside properties start at $11 million and can go up to $40 million.
“The beach lots are split up into three categories: a single lot approximately 30 feet; lot and a half approximately 45 feet and double lot approximately 60 feet,” he said.
The architecture is a mix of styles including traditional, Mediterranean and contemporary. “Modern and mid-century style homes have become very popular in Malibu, but many people still prefer the casual, classic Malibu beach house,” Ms. Sherman said, which used to be on the smaller side (think: chic cottage).Pictured is the interior of a three-bedroom, ocean-view home in the gated Serra Retreat community of Malibu, California. The property is currently asking for $4.499 million.
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What makes it unique
Malibu is close enough to the urban hub of Los Angeles but is also a well-preserved beach community with distinct shopping and dining areas. “Since Malibu is home to many Los Angeles locals, the proximity to the city is a key factor. Malibu Colony is within walking distance to the best shopping and dining,” Mr. Rogers said.
Established as a city in 1990, and complete with its own Landmarks Preservation Commission, “the city is also governed by the California Coastal Commission, and both enforce their strict building codes,” Ms. Sherman said.
“Building in Malibu can be expensive and construction can take a few years, but it is well worth the wait because once complete, you have a home in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the world,” she said. “Malibu only offers a few gated communities but maintains exclusivity due to the prices and location.”This five-bedroom, six-bathroom spec home built on the site of the landmarked Castle Kashan in Malibu is currently listed for $85 million.
“Malibu is a small community of approximately 13,000 residents but is a global destination that receives visitors from all over the world,” Ms. Sherman said.
Among its most renowned restaurants are Japanese hotspot Nobu, upscale Chinese restaurant Mr. Chow, and private dining and social club SoHo House.
Plus, Ms. Sherman said, “there are also some excellent locally owned restaurants, such as Tra di Noi, a wonderful Italian restaurant; Bui Sushi and Kristy’s Village Cafe—all local favorites.”
Plus, there are two high-end shopping centers in Malibu, with boutiques from John Varvatos, Maxfields, Ruben & Chappell, Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren, Ted Baker, Madison and local favorite Planet Blue, according to Ms. Sherman.
Our Lady of Malibu (kindergarten to eighth grade) is the only private school, “but the public schooling is top-rated and many people move to the area for the public schools,” Ms. Sherman said.
Who lives there
“Like many homeowners in affluent neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles, Malibu Colony is comprised of business moguls, celebrities, doctors, lawyers, tech executives, and entertainment types,” Mr. Rogers said. A good portion of the homeowners have primary residences in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, and Brentwood.“
Aside from the music and film industry types, "there are also residents from many other fields, and we see buyers from the tech sector of Northern California,” Ms. Sherman said. “Of course, there are also many doctors, lawyers and finance professionals who count themselves as Malibu residents. We are also seeing more foreign investors coming to Malibu, as well as buyers from the east coast who are moving to the area and purchasing second homes.”This four-bedroom, beachfront home owned by hotel heir and philanthropist Steven Hilton was recently sold for $8 million. Mr. Hilton purchased the house for $7.1 million 10 years ago.
Malibu has been home to the glitterati dating back to the 1920s, when Mary Rindge (the matriarch who owned all of Malibu) leased a stretch of beach to several actors, directors and producers. “At the time, it was called the ‘Malibu Movie Colony’,” Ms. Sherman said. “They built little beach cottages out of leftover material from movie sets. Today [that stretch of beach] is called ‘The Malibu Colony’ and still has many residents from the music and film industries.”
“A few of Malibu’s renowned residents, both past and present, include Johnny Carson (his estate is currently on the market for $81 million), Michael Landon, Pink, David Geffen, Steven Spielberg, Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth, Cindy Crawford, Julia Roberts, Ed Norton, Jimmy Iovine, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Downey Jr., Lady Gaga, Dr. Dre and Barbra Streisand, to name a few,” Ms. Sherman said.
There is no lack of demand in Malibu, or asking price too outrageous, it would appear. “We are experiencing a strong market in Malibu, featuring some of the highest priced sales in the country,” Ms. Sherman said. She pointed to the reported sale of a $120 million house by Westside Estate Agency CEO Kurt Rappaport to Canadian billionaire Daryl Katz; David Geffen’s sale of an $85 million Carbon Beach house to Mark Walters, the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers; and Simon Cowell’s $25 million purchase on “Billionaire’s Bluff.”The pictured Malibu home belonging to Kurt Rappaport, co-founder and CEO of Beverly Hills-based Westside Estate Agency, is set to sell for $120 million.
“We expect the strong market to continue in 2018,” Ms. Sherman said. “There is only so much beachfront real estate in Malibu, and buyers should feel confident purchasing homes in this small, exclusive paradise.”
Exclusive neighborhoods, in particular Malibu Colony, are always a sound investment, if one can find a property. “Malibu Colony is considered the most desirable community in Malibu and PropertyShark ranked it as L.A.’s most expensive neighborhood in 2017. The market in the Colony is showing no signs of slowing down and a limited supply of homes (landside and beachside) makes it in high demand,” Mr. Rogers said.
“Properties in the Colony rarely become available, and for that reason they get snatched up right away by elite buyers who want the epitome of that laid-back Malibu lifestyle,” Mr. Rogers said. “In my opinion, it is always a favorable time to buy in the Colony.”
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