The Malibu Real Estate Report


Malibu condo values up 25 percent so far in 2004

By Rick Wallace/Special to The Malibu Times

If the news was, say, that condo values were going through the roof, increasing 33 percent over the previous 20 months, that might be enough to intrigue readers. Oh yes, that was the October 2002 story, “Condominium Values Rise Dramatically Over Two Years,” in The Malibu Times). We were just getting started at that time!

The values are well above roof level now.

With a median price of a typical Malibu condo sale up to $680,000, values throughout town have risen about 25 percent so far in just the first half of 2004. With scant inventory and a white-hot demand to own any so-called “affordable” housing near Malibu’s beaches, the market has seen a spring blitz like no other.

The median was $420,000 during 2002, so the new 20-month score is this: values have increased about 62 percent. Condo prices have amazingly, steadily risen 2 percent to 3 percent, per month for about two and a half years running.

The adjacent chart reveals the sales performance of the major complexes in town. The information was derived strictly from the local multiple listing service. Clearly, there have been many more sales than are indicated, private deals out of MLS entry, but the apples-to-apples comparison of reported sales each year gives a good idea of trends.

In many places, one mere transaction has brought stunning leaps in value from ravenous buyers. The one sale in Portico so far this year was $900,000, for example. That is almost 50 percent higher than the average of three sales in the complex last year. In the Tapia condos in Malibu West, one sale of $790,000 is more than 50 percent higher than any previous sale.

The lowest priced complexes, Malibu Canyon Village and Malibu Gardens, which have no active listings at all (as of this writing, out of 160 combined existing units), have seen an average of $125,000 equity growth per unit in just six months. Not bad to own the lowest-priced condo in town while earning $20,000 per month in increased value. Combined, the average sale price of a unit in the two facilities was $334,000 last year. So far in 2004- $459,000, up 37 percent.

The increases are across the board, however. The new Vista Pacifica complex near Malibu West has had seven reported sales already this year, averaging nearly $1.1 million. Most of the “other” areas include lesser-known beach locations where values have doubled in about three years.

No matter what may come of the next 20 months, essentially the entire Malibu condo marketplace has enjoyed a doubling in just three years. The average sale price, which is currently $821,000, is also up about 25 percent from last year.

Rick Wallace of the Coldwell Banker Company has been a Realtor in Malibu for 17 years. He can be reached at his Web site,