The Malibu Real Estate Report: Malibu Condos Near Record Year for Sales Volume

Rick Wallace

Powered by the second half of the year, 2020 saw nearly the best year ever for Malibu condominiums as far as total sales volume: just under $150 million. The previous record was set in 2005 at just over $150,000,000; last year’s tally was just $3 million short of that mark.

Prices also went higher, of course, well above 2019 tallies but, surprisingly, the condo market is not priced at an all-time high quite yet, while the single family residence market in Malibu has otherwise soared to new records. Here are the averages recorded last year among a robust 103 condo sales in the 90265/Malibu market:

Average sale price: $1.431 million. Median price: $1.2 million.

Those are pretty big numbers—try explaining them to somebody in the Midwest—but considering that Malibu has not built a single new condo in 16 years (with none remotely planned for construction), and city folk are dying to get out to the coast (based on recent trends), supply and demand factors may still be favorable for local owners.

It’s ancient history now, but during 2008, despite plummeting unit sales, Malibu saw the average sale price at $1.455 million for condos. The median then was $1.165 million. That median dropped $400,000 the next year, sliding with the rest of California real estate.

It was 10 years later, in 2018, that the median finally climbed over $1.2 million for the first time, and then still slightly better than last year, while 2019 in between saw it dip to $1.02 million.

Last year’s 103 sales was the first time into triple digits since the above-mentioned 2005. Typically, condo sales in Malibu float in at the 75 benchmark. Six of the past seven years have seen 70-80 sales.

Tracking the larger complexes in town gives a better picture of what prices are doing. Condo neighborhoods with many units and sales provide an adequate sampling. Such locations are noted in the adjacent chart, with sales totals and average sale price indicated.

That said, note that Malibu Canyon Village, Tivoli Cove, Malibu Gardens and Zuma Bay Villas have units that vary in size and location that will also vary in value and possibly skew the averages, depending on which versions sell.

These statistics include reported sales in the local multiple listing service and private transactions uncovered by title record searches.

The single family home market saw a 37 percent increase in values, mostly propelled by higher ticket items selling in large volume. Furthermore, from 2015-20, the median for homes in Malibu went from $2.742 million to $4.94 million—that is an 80 percent increase. (The median is the midpoint of the sales range, where half sell for more and half sell for less). During the same time, condos went from $878,000 to $1.2 million, a 37 percent increase. Why so much better for homes? There is a partial explanation:

The Woolsey Fire took down more than 700 homes in the Malibu real estate area, whereas only about two dozen condos were affected. The supply of homes for coast-loving prospective buyers was depleted by 17 percent. Supply and demand drive all prices.

And perhaps there is also an implication that condo appreciation is lagging. Those escaping the city and looking for more lower-cost housing may yet keep the trends for condos strong.


Rick Wallace of Keller Williams Realty has been a Realtor in Malibu for 33 years and has contributed real estate articles to the Malibu community for 27 years.