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The Malibu Real Estate Report: Some neighborhoods are busier than others

Rick Wallace, Contributing Columnist, Malibu resident
2:38 pm PDT May 19, 2014

There is a street up in the hills alongside Rambla Pacifico that has five houses currently listed for sale. Out of only 12 that exist on the entire street, about half the homes are for sale, but there is not any particular reason for that: It is just a coincidence.

Other streets in Malibu, meanwhile, have not seen a listing in years, let alone a sale.

Over a 10 year period, however, certain trends can be evident. This study looks at many of the larger, more popular neighborhoods in Malibu to see which have had more frequent sales activity and which have been quiet and stable.

A scoring system had to be developed, and it is this: The percentage of total sales in the specific neighborhood in the past ten years, in relation to how many homes actually exist. For example, if 100 homes exist and 37 have sold there would be a .370 score.

You might be surprised that very few neighborhoods score higher than 50 percent. That is, all the home sales combined over a ten year period are not even half of the homes that are available. Put another way, less than five percent of the homes sell in any one year, on the average. So it is for all of Malibu, we already know, as every year typically sees only about a three or four percent turnover of home ownership.

The busiest area for sales activity in Malibu the past 10 years is a surprise:  The Winding Way area. 

The upscale area that includes all houses accessed between Sycamore Meadows and Ramirez Canyon is generally new estates on large acreage with ocean views. Possibly many newly-built spec  properties over the past decade, built to sell right away, boosts the score for Winding way — 59 sales among 98 homes, a .602 average. Nevertheless, many homes in this zone have sold multiple times, and a legacy of turnover has taken root in Winding Way where the increased intrusion of hikers has not helped the neighborhood, either.

As a general rule, lower priced neighborhoods should turn over more often as they have a much larger potential buying pool. That appears to be true in Malibu, but not by much. Lower-priced Corral Canyon has a score of .407, while nearby Latigo is only .374. More notably, the Malibu West housing tract, originally built on small lots in the 1960s is very low, with only a score of .300. Families with children who can access the schools nearby and live near the beach at the most affordable price possible are reasons why turnover in Malibu West is pretty rare.

As expected, the overall beach commodity sells more rarely than homes on the land side. Overall, the average of 720 beach homes surveyed, with 273 sales in 10 years, equates to .379. Contrast that with land side homes — 2427 surveyed, 974 sales and a .407 average. Beach homes are just as much collectibles as they are real estate. Frankly, some beach homes are precious art collectibles, they are so rare and intensely desired.

While the more modestly priced Malibu West has little turnover, the under $2 million tract of Sea View Estates has high turnover. Forty two sales among 84 homes makes for an even .500 average and another high tally in Malibu. Sea View Estates homes are often a jumping off point for locals to go to nicer homes and farther west, as many have done with their second Malibu purchase over the years.

The La Chusa Highlands, though it lies far out to the west, has recorded a .562 score among its 48 homes — 27 sales since, and including, 2004.

Point Dume has been at about the average. It is highly desirable and lures zealous buyers that sometimes only want to be on Point Dume or nothing — sometimes in unlisted deals — all while it has proven to be such a smart real estate investment that many prefer to hold and never leave. It scores .407 while the competition from nearby Malibu Park has been lower — .381 turnover score.  There are some pockets in Malibu that just seem to never turn over. One such place is the top of Malibu Park in the Horizon Hills, overlooking the high school and Zuma Beach.  Very little turnover there, where most residents have been for decades — a super low .256 turnover score. 

Carbon Beach, Paradise Cove, and Encinal Bluffs are Malibu’s three most commanding estate locations. They score .363, .250 and .444, respectively. Of course, if not for the passionate buying activity of one famous investor on Carbon Beach, it would be lower there yet.

Big Rock has proven to be very stable in a era that is long past the tragic double-whammy of a large land slide in the 1980s and hellish brush fire in the 1990s. It scores .315; very stable as Malibu’s most “close-in” location.

Contrarily, however, the area around Kanan scores high, including homes that are accessed via Kanan. It has some features similar to nearby Winding Way, such as new spec homes that are still pop up, and .490 is the turnover ratio.

Both La Costa Beach and La Costa Hills have been on the move. Heavy real estate activity puts both around .500. La Costa Beach seems to always have many homes available at any one time — and 30 have sold among the 57 that exist. La Costa Hills scores .490.

Among many other prominent neighborhoods are these scores: Serra Retreat — .410; Malibu Knolls — .363; Malibu Country Estates — .388; Malibu Road beach homes (another buy and hold through the generations sort of place) — .363; Malibu Colony — .367; Broad Beach — .397; Bonsall — .456; Las Flores Beach — .307; Las Tunas Beach — 315.

 

Rick Wallace has been a realtor in Malibu for 26 years.