An index of the highest sales in Malibu

The highly rumored sale of the Playboy Mansion in Holmby Hills provides great fodder about past mammoth home sales in the Southland.  That same iconic residence that first broke the $1 million threshold in 1971 may now be the first residence that cracks the illustrious $100 million level in the Los Angeles area.

The record sale for a residence in Malibu is about $75 million for a massive bluff estate across from Decker Canyon in the Encinal Bluffs area.

RECORD SALES 2000-2005 2006-2010 2011-2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 (all sales shown in 000s)

CARBON BEACH 17300 37000 36943 8500 28800 22000 14320

COLONY BEACH 22660 30000 21450 17350 20000 10382 11500

BROAD BEACH 17500 23500 10955 12500 18000 28000

PARADISE COVE BLUFF 25000 21500 36500 42500 15300 60000

PT DUME BLUFF 11995 35000 21000 9608 33500 19900 17100

ENCINAL BLUFF 31000 18650 13000 74500 8700 50500 15000

SERRA RETREAT 17000 30300 9454 5950 11450 12940 11600

LAND SIDE 6400 10500 10225 11500 10100 5675


POINT DUME 4500 11600 8000 17000 9950 12500 7000

RAMIREZ CYN 5250 4500 2000 1455 6814 6150 4100

BONSALL 3995 4750 8500 4000 3900

MALIBU PARK 6000 13443 5550 8700 22500 15000 5325

Just as the Playboy Mansion is breaking a record for a second time, Malibu’s record-setter has surpassed its own summit more than once.  The adjacent chart shows the highest sales for a variety of time periods since year 2000, for the most expensive beaches and neighborhoods in Malibu.  The Encinal Bluffs estate was also the first ever to top $30 million, in 2001.

This year has been particularly lean of huge sales, and the industry is feeling it.  No home has sold for more than $20 million as of this writing. In fact, at the mid-year, no sale in any neighborhood has topped last year’s best, despite a very healthy year of price appreciation otherwise. Nevertheless, the gradual progression of increasingly higher sale prices is evident in the chart.

The heyday of Malibu real estate is still 2006-2010, the middle of which saw Malibu’s highest median price (at $3,325,000 in 2008).  More neighborhoods on the chart hit their peak during those years than any other time period listed. Certainly, since 2005, every place in Malibu has seen a new peak.

Most of the mammoth sales occur at the beach, of course, and particularly at large multi-acre estates on the bluffs, particularly at Paradise Cove and Encinal Bluffs.  Such spots enjoy nice beaches below large flat properties on the bluff, often with multiple living structures behind walled property boundaries.  All Malibu sales over $40 million have been in those two locations.  The only time a property has sold off a beach-adjacent location for more than $30 million was the huge visible estate directly overlooking the Malibu Pier. That was 10 years ago.

Other “land side” locations are included for interest. A celebrity purchase of a bluff estate overlooking Zuma Beach brought an eye-opening price of over $22 million for Malibu Park in 2014.  A cul-de-sac property on Point Dume brought in $17 million during a quiet, unlisted sale three years ago.  Serra Retreat has topped $10 million a total of nine times over the years. 

The three-time record-setter in Malibu is a mansion estate on seven flat acres that has sold for $27 million in 1999, $31 million in 2001, and $74.5 million in 2013.  The latest sale still cannot be confirmed in public records but is widely accepted as the price. Many mega-transactions these days take place out of the multiple listing service in private arrangements; the details are not shared with Realtors or the media.  They become known through rumor and ultimately are confirmed by information that is publically available.

Carbon Beach has been the preeminent beach in Malibu, surpassing the Malibu Colony and Broad Beach from past eras.  There is a very big reason for that and it involves very small objects: sand granules.

While the beaches of Carbon Beach have remained plentiful, the Colony and Broad Beach have suffered from beach erosion that literally washes away some of the property value. As much so, Carbon has been a popular target for the wealthy to obtain multiple adjacent properties and turn them into one mammoth beach compound. Such was the case in 2010 when the $37 million deal went down.  It involved multiple lots and 180 precious feet of beach frontage.  The trade two years later for nearly that price on Carbon (nicknamed “Billionaire’s Beach”) was on 150 feet of combined lots.

It took a celebrity beach compound to raise up Broad Beach for the mantle last year; “most expensive beach sale of the year” coming in at $28 million. That property has almost 150 feet of beach frontage. 

Indeed, celebrity is usually involved in the super sales around town.  If not celebrity, certainly prominent public names are in play.  And if they were not prominent before spending so much money on a house, they become so in a new world where exorbitant real estate is an entertainment theme in itself. Both deals last year that topped $50 million had celebrity lineage.

Rick Wallace has been contributing real estate articles to the Malibu community since 1993.  He is the 2016 President of the Malibu Association of Realtors. The information herein represents his own perspective and does not represent the Association.