Recent sales indicate rosier marketplace

Deep within the caverns of real estate activity in Malibu, hidden from the light of the public eye,

a clash of two forces rages on. At once, the two forces battle to either weaken or strengthen the values of local homes.

A statistic representing each force is available, usually numbered between 200-250. The number of sales projected to occur in the calendar year, for all single family homes 1-4 units in Malibu/90265 ZIP code, is the positive force. The more sales, the better chance that prices increase, obviously.

The number of homes listed at any one time? That is the negative force. If there are too many homes available for competing buyers, prices need to come down to win the sale. Currently, about 215 homes are on the market. About 250 are projected to sell during 2014. As long as the sales number is higher than the inventory number, prospects, typically, are good for Malibu prices in the near future. That is the case now. If sales trends slip while the number of homes for sale increases, that will bode poorly for values.

It is very infrequent that both tallies are in the 200-250 range, but that signifies how stable and healthy the market is at this time. And, in general, the buyers are facing more competition than the sellers, nudging prices upward to compensate for the imbalance. As such, here is a brief review of random sales since summer began and their reflection on their respective neighborhoods.

The latest sale in Malibu West is a whopper — more than $1.9 million, well above the average of sales from the past 12 months. The house is extra large — with added square footage — in a cul-de-sac, and features an extraordinary kitchen. The house has a nice indoor/outdoor flow to the lush landscaping surrounding. Plentiful sales averaging about $1.5 million have otherwise occurred in Malibu West the past year.

Two sales in the upper part of Corral Canyon demonstrate the thinning of sub-$1 million single family properties remaining in Malibu. Both deals were in the $900,000 ballpark, though one of the homes, albeit on the small side, has some ocean view. Since summer officially began, Malibu’s median value of about three dozen sales has been about $2.8 million. If that holds for the whole year, it would indicate hefty appreciation for 2014. Sales as large as $20 million don’t happen very often, but a closed deal this month hit that number, exactly. The home is on Malibu Colony Beach and boasts the deepest, sandiest part of the beach. Though the home is only three bedrooms, the property still contains a large grassy yard. The house is essentially two homes in one, with separate living areas, and started at a much lower original asking price, about $15 million.

A six-bedroom home in the Malibu Park area sold in a matter of days for over $4.5 million. With a long driveway and expansive lawns on over three-and-a-half acres, the property has the feel of a resort. In fact, there are waterfalls, a saltwater pool and cabanas, as well as horse corrals and a private sanctuary tea room. Two of the bedrooms are master suites with ocean views. The living room has soaring ceilings.

Another home sold in the $4.7 million ballpark sets a record for the La Costa Hills. The house, with spectacular ocean views, of course, is four bedrooms and six baths in spanish villa style with large lawns, also, on nearly two acres. There is a cascading rock pool and a separate casita. The property sits in a very private location in a nook in the hillside.

Sea View Estates has been busy. Three recent sales topped $1.5 million. In contrast, only one out of 18 sales between 2011-2013 topped that figure. The highest priced of these sales, at $1.65 million, is a three-bed, three-bath house with a pool and grassy yards. There is a view of the mountains and ocean from the house and back yard. The house has high ceilings and two stories.

Two sales in La Chusa Highlands have been in the $2 million vicinity. One was celebrity-owned with three bedrooms, a pool and more than an acre of land. It has ocean view as does every house in the neighborhood, a short distance up Encinal Canyon. There has been an explosion of nine sales that have closed escrow in the past year and a half in La Chusa.

A notable transaction in Ramirez Canyon has topped $6.8 million. The home is a blend of rustic and contemporary and includes a recording studio. The property, which sits behind a creek, has seven manicured acres and includes a barn. There are light oak floors and custom cabinetry throughout the home, with an open floor plan. The latest sale in Malibu Knolls was for nearly $2.7 million of an ocean view home that features a pool between the main house and the guest house. The home sold for the first time since it was built in 1973.

Rick Wallace as been a Realtor in Malibu for 26 years.