The Malibu Real Estate Report

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Point Dume values

average $3.3 million / By Rick Wallace

It is commonly known that Malibu has two real estate markets. There is the beach market and the so-called “land side” market, all properties that do not have a direct access to the sand or are not contiguous to the beach. Even the Malibu area Multiple Listing Service makes the distinction.

While all Malibu real estate, from small vacant lots to beach mansions, has increased in value impressively over recent years, the beach has performed best. Anything on the beach side of the highway seems to have appreciated with more zeal than the rest of Malibu. The beach side of the highway, directly adjacent to sand or not, has virtually no land available to build more homes. Supply is practically capped; demand is always good.

Enter Point Dume. No other sizable neighborhood in Malibu is on the beach side of Pacific Coast Highway. The special feature of walking to the beach, without crossing the highway, applies to Point Dume. It might as well be considered beach-adjacent, especially when you see the prices.

No sale this year on Point Dume has been for less than $2 million. Even a recent probate sale of a home that had burned down began at an original list price of about $1.6 million and was bid up in court to a final sale price of $2.25 million. No home last year sold for less than $1.5 million. Nothing has dipped under $1 million since 2002. Currently, $2.7 million is about as low it goes for selection.

Point Dume has twice seen a doubling of its values in the past 10 years. The accompanying chart tracks the great escalation of prices on the Point. Based on current trends and escrows, this year should see a small increase from last year when values went up about 50 percent from 2003.

The average sale price on Point Dume this year has been about $3.25 million. It is about to go higher as six homes are in escrow at loftier prices yet.

How does Point Dume compare to the rest of Malibu? In the period of 1996 – 2004, Malibu’s mean average sale price rose from $1,032,000 to $2,902,000, an increase of 281 percent. Point Dume has seen an increase in the same time period of 357 percent, from an average of $915,000 to $3,264,000. Indeed, like the beach, Point Dume has been rising in value faster than the rest of Malibu.

Unquestionably, the precious private deeded key to specially located beach access gates along the Malibu Riviera is part of the appeal for most Point Dume homes. The highly coveted access gates are re-keyed each year under a highly guarded process. A home with deeded beach rights has an advantage over one that does not.

Two hundred thirty-seven different homes have sold during the past decade on the Point, about 60 percent of the homes. The character has certainly changed. More gated entrances, trees, landscaping and square footage are part of 2005 Point Dume; additionally, fewer horses, and no more equestrian trails.

One home has sold four times in the 10 years, and four have sold three times.

Apparently, four bluff sales have topped the $10 million mark, and the highest sale ever was a new Cliffside Drive mansion near the headlands that sold for nearly $16 million in 2000. The anomaly of year 2000 in the chart, increasing to an average of $2.2 million, was because of that one sale that added about $300,000 to the average in one shot.

Point Dume is to Malibu what California is to the United States. It represents approximately 10 percent of the population and is the most populous and wealthiest nonbeachfront neighborhood in town. It has some of the most beautiful scenery available and is strategically located near the heart of Malibu. There are nearly as many home sales on Point Dume and west as there are the rest of the Malibu coast eastward. And the Point offers both condominium and mobile home options.

The newest street on the Point, Hampton Court, can be seen from PCH near Portshead. The six Cape Cod-style homes there on smaller lots have had a phenomenal sales history. Originally selling for about $1.7 million two years ago when they were brand new, re-sales have been above $2 million in four cases, including a sale at $2.6 million. A recent listing hit the market at nearly $4.2 million.

Point Dume has a colorful history. The military occupied the area during World War II and topped off the headlands for a lookout station. Before that, the original Malibu family ran their railroad in the 1920s across the barren lands, which had no trees at the time. While the Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School is an exceptional school now, it was closed for more than a decade because of lack of students for the better part of the 1980s and early nineties; it was also used as a community center and park. The long stretch of beach from Little to Big Dume was once called Pirates Cove and grew infamous as a nude beach, particularly in the 1970s.

The John Merrick-Ron Rindge book, “Maritime Stories of Point Dume and Malibu,” describes a battle in 1902 of the U.S. government to acquire the Point by condemnation from owner Frederick Rindge for a lighthouse station. It failed. Later, a captured marijuana haul of 1,400 pounds resulted in one of the biggest drug busts in county history at the time, in October 1966, as authorities seized a boat setting anchor at Paradise Cove. A published general development plan for Point Dume in 1939 identified the area as suitable for a 138-acre golf course, polo field, tennis center and hotel retreat. The hotel would have been at the end of the current day Cliffside Drive cul-de-sac, with access to the beach below.

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