The Malibu Real Estate Report

Rick Wallace has been writing real estate columns in Malibu since 1993, with The Malibu Times from 1993-2013. He returns to The Malibu Times with this column summarizing Malibu real estate in 2016.

Normal is the new normal as Malibu real estate sales in 2016 had their fifth year in a row of virtually the same number of homes selling — about 250. Incredible consistency, in great contrast to most of the past 20 years, has been the hallmark of local home sales since the end of 2011. The precise count last year was 236 units sold in the 90265 ZIP code.

Prices had a great year, additionally, as the median value of a home sale leaped 17 percent. It had been $2,742,000 during 2015. Last year took the median up to $3,200,000. The median is the value at the center — where half the sales are for less and half are for more.

The volume in Malibu, excluding condos, mobile homes and raw land sales, came in at about $1.12 billion, very similar to the year before. The volume is steadily rising over time but not by any great measure in any recent years — another example of consistency.

For buyers, sellers and agents, the tempo has not changed much in a long time. There are multiple offers for listings on occasion. Many other listings go way past a year on the market before selling, after many price reductions. And there is plenty in the middle of those extremes. 

The median price has still not quite reached that of 2008, when the last gasp of the booming Malibu market was occurring before the huge collapse. The median was just over $3.3 million then. Just as much so, the average sale price was just over $4.9 million in 2008. Last year the average was $4,751,000.


The adjacent chart shows all these trends and more, going back to 2008. These statistics apply only to single family homes in the 90265 ZIP code.

The most fun part of observing high-priced real estate is to observe the very highest-priced real estate, but last year was modest for that category. A total of 26 homes selling for more than $10 million in Malibu was a new high, but only one transaction more than the year before. Meanwhile, the opportunity to buy a home in Malibu for under $1 million diminishes further, as the numbers indicate.

Although 236 is the present tally of homes sold, that number will increase. Invariably each year, secret sales are discovered in public records, those deals that had no exposure in the Multiple Listing Service. Likely, more than 250 home sales will be the final figure. An adjustment in the total volume is inevitable in future reports, also, but the averages will be hardly affected.

Perhaps the only noticeable trend, besides the obvious bump up in prices, is some movement in the inventory levels. The July index last year was showing an increase, but that has subsided somewhat in subsequent months. For the most part, the levels of homes for sale remain at a low enough point to cause a seller’s market. With such a steady, solid pace to the market, it is difficult to predict two things. First, when such stability will begin to change. And second, in which direction? The U.S. economy seems to be bolstered since the November election, as well as real estate activity, so it certainly seems that a downward arc is nowhere in the forecast in the short term.

Rick Wallace has been a Realtor in Malibu for 30 years

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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