Point Dume Still Thrives

Rick Wallace

One year ago this week, the Malibu community was still convulsing from the growing tallies of loss from the Woolsey Fire. Here is a partial list:

About 700 homes lost—the worst disaster, ever, for Malibu.

Firefighters let Malibu burn—beyond comprehension then and now.

Hundreds of more properties rendered uninhabitable from smoke damage—it took months to remedy that.

Point Dume burned, with about 90 homes lost—Wait, what?

Point Dume was never expected to burn, under any condition, and as shocking as the other results were, losing so many homes on Point Dume seemed to be the topper. Located a couple miles from any steep hillside, with Pacific Coast Highway as a buffer, on relatively flat land, with homes generally well-spaced from one another, a major loss on Point Dume was considered impossible.

About 610 single family residences existed on the 20 streets that make up the Point—before about 15 percent of them disappeared in one day. If not for the well-documented efforts of locals and, notably, the well-publicized “Point Dume Bombers” saving more houses from burning, it would’ve been worse. More than half of the point’s streets saw loss.

Malibu Park in particular, and many other neighborhoods, have been finding their way through 2019 to rebuild and come back as strong as ever. The results should be fresh renewal and likely improved values in the future. For Point Dume, the pulse is already easy to measure, and it is quite good. 

Point Dume still thrives as a place to live; the results so far this year on real estate values are impressive. The adjacent charts tracks sales units, the average sale price and the median sale price of homes both on the exclusive bluffs and the standard properties inside, most of which have deeded beach rights to the gates of the Malibu Riviera. Only single family homes are tallied.

Even though the number of sales is notably down (that is the case all throughout Malibu, as the year is tracking a 40 percent reduction in sales from 2018), the prices have been very healthy for the transactions that have occurred. Two bluff properties have sold for more than $20 million. Two inside street properties (of the eight sold) have brought in over $10 million. 

The trend has been terrific for Point Dume for the past five years, during an upbeat overall marketplace for the rest of Malibu. Two years ago—2017—was a gangbuster year on the point as 32 properties sold, bringing in nearly $170 million in volume and an average sale price of $5,373,000. Not bad for an area long ago referred to as the “slums of Malibu.”

The year isn’t over yet but, even with a smaller sampling size, it is clear prices are healthy. They absolutely are not going down. (Malibu as a whole is experiencing fairly steady prices in 2019, despite much fewer sales.)

A handful of burn-out lots have sold on Point Dume so far. As a general rule of thumb, a vacant acre on the interior streets is worth about $2 million or so, with several factors affecting value. Some of those newly vacant properties just purchased will see built-out values in perhaps the $6 million ballpark. 

These are big numbers for a neighborhood that continues to thrive, as it has for 40 years. Not even an unexpected fire cutting through the heart of a once sandy, windswept peninsula has changed that.