Every major sport has its off-season. Baseball, for example, shuts down at the end of October and not much happens until April. There may be player movement between teams and tweaks in the rules, but not much else is actually happening on the field.
A lot like Malibu real estate. Since the World Series ended—and, subsequently, the fires hit on Nov. 9—Malibu has been in an off-season, with very little happening in the field. New listings? Hardly any. Buyers? Not many. A few listings have changed teams. Some speculation about what is to come, but little real data has resulted to score the market.
As spring progresses, usually a busy time for Malibu real estate, it will be interesting to see how the trend lines develop. It is rare the local industry just shuts down (it did after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the final four months of 2001), but that has been the case for several months. Perhaps low inventory will boost prices. Or, perhaps the drag of few buyers will sink prices.
The inventory of homes available for sale in mid-April was only 161 listings. How does that compare? Last year, it was 200. Two years ago, it was 211. The fact that 15-20 percent of the homes in Malibu disappeared in November will have continuous impact on buyer choices, giving hope to increasing prices.
The west side of town, of course, is seeing the very meager selection of homes available. Last August, 20 beach homes were available for sale from Point Dume north. Now, at this writing, there are eight. Land side homes between $2-$4 million on the west end? There were 34 in August; 18 now. Homes over $4 million have gone from 42 to 22 in the same time span.
The other side of the coin is total sales. The tallies are gruesome: only 22 homes sold in Malibu (90265 zip code) through March. That rate would represent the worst year in perhaps 50 years. Even when the real estate depression hit Malibu in 2009, about 110 homes sold, a better pace than we are on currently.
Nevertheless, deals that have concluded have only jolted the median average higher for the year, after it took a respite last year. The following have all been closed deals so far in 2019:
• A Point Dume cul-de-sac property has sold with five bedrooms for just over $8.5 million. Close to the beach access gate, the property includes a pool and lighted tennis court. It originally hit the market in 2015 for $10 million, but the latest listing sold for over asking price. Two detached guest suites come with the home. The style is Mediterranean contemporary.
• A three-bedroom Corral Canyon home has sold for just over $1 million. It sits on a small lot with generous outdoor patio areas, located in the Malibu Bowl. Originally listed two years ago, it sold recently while off market.
• A Trancas Highlands home with fabulous views has sold for $2.3 million. The Spanish style house has four bedrooms, three baths and sits on four hillside acres. It survived the fire, of course, though it sold well off its original list price of two years ago.
• On a land side of Malibu Road, a contemporary home has sold for $3.8 million. However, it was sold during a remodel, with local architect Doug Burdge creating the new design. The house, originally built in 1989, is gated, on nearly an acre with superb views and the sound of the surf across the street.
• A classic ranch house on Point Dume sold for nearly $3.9 million. The house was originally built in 1955 and had owners for 40 years before the transaction closed a couple weeks ago. Located on an elevated knoll, the house has five bedrooms and a three-car garage, and includes beach rights. It sits on one acre.
• Very close by, a bluff estate on Point Dume is this year’s highest sale, so far. The highly secure, gated property of one acre includes a mid-century home of three beds and three baths, with great outdoor areas and patios, including a bocce ball court. Large windows highlight the exterior of the home, which sold for $21,750,000.
• Here is a sale from a dying breed: A Malibu home has sold for under $1 million. It took place on Mipolomol Road near the top of the mountain inside Ventura County. Two bedrooms and beautiful views brought $810,000.
• The upper knoll of Malibu West has seen a sale just over $1.5 million. It was a probate deal and included a home with three bedrooms with ocean views.
Rick Wallace has been a Realtor in Malibu for 31 years and has contributed real estate articles to the community for 25 years.