Condo sales continue to rise

About $81 million in total condo sales volume graced the Malibu real estate market last year.

Set among 75 sales, that leads to an obvious conclusion: The average condo sale in the 90265 ZIP code last year was more than $1 million. Million dollar condos in Malibu sounds great, but the threshold has true significance in a couple of ways. For one thing, prices are higher here for condominiums than most places boast single family home values. More so, the value of local condos continues to rise.

As noted in the adjacent chart, the average price of a condo sale (which includes some large transactions on the beach and in the luxury complexes) was $788 thousand in 2010. The value now, about $300 thousand greater, means the four-year period saw a 38 percent increase in values.

For the median value (that point where half the sales are more and half are less), the increase from $570k to $830k calculates to a 46 percent increase. This is the highest tier for Malibu condos in many years, and yet values have seen better days than currently. From 2005-2008, the averages, including the median average of $830,000 described in the adjacent chart, were well above current-day levels (in 2008, the median was north of $1.1 million). But the steady rise in values is what is featured here.

Sales units also clearly picked up during the past two years, exceeding 70. A more detailed analysis of the condo market, however, excludes the random beach sale and ultra-expensive deals that occur from time to time in various pockets around town. More revealing is the market for the standard complex, of which there are many from Malibu Canyon Village on Civic Center Way to the Pacifica-Lunita units above Broad Beach. And where the standard price is between $500,000-$1.3 million. The median of all those specific communities, representing the heart of the market, actually increased yet more during these last fours after the 2010 base was established. Boosted by the mildly increasing number of sales units, the median value jumped from $500,000 to $810,000, a leap of over 60 percent.

Not many of the complexes in town are shown in the chart. The four identified represent the four largest complexes in terms of total existing units, but also serve as benchmarks for the market as a whole. The rise in values for the Malibu Canyon Village, Malibu Villas and beachfront complexes of Tivoli Cove and Malibu Bay Club at County line show the general trend for all of Malibu. Certainly a large chunk of the Los Angeles population would love to live in Malibu. Finding affordability is tough. Condos not only are the small space choice for establishing residence and lifestyle, but a keen investment choice as well. The fact that the condo supply remains essentially capped, with new condos practically zoned out of possibility, leads not only to an inviting investment option, but a wise play for the long-term owner-occupant, also.

In all, 313 different units have traded owners in the past five calendar years, among approximately 1245 total units. That is almost exactly one-quarter. As such, an average of 75 percent of Malibu condo owners do not move within 5 years of ownership, demonstrating the staying power and appeal of the Malibu condo lifestyle.