By Jack Flemming Los Angeles Times
Despite fire risk and rising sea levels, Malibu dominated a ranking of most expensive neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area during 2018. For the second straight year, Malibu Colony Beach was the region’s costliest.
The median home in the oceanfront community sold for a whopping $10.65 million in 2018, according to housing data from PropertyShark.
That’s an 11 percent dip compared with last year, but still high enough to edge out the trio of Beverly Hills communities that ranked 2-4.
Beverly Hills Gateway, located above the Beverly Hills Flats, was second on the list and recorded the only other eight-figure median in L.A. County at $10.05 million — a 31 percent jump in median price year over year. Trousdale Estates ranked third at $8.535 million, and Beverly Hills Flats ranked fourth at $7.45 million.
Five other Malibu communities and one in Santa Monica round out the top 10: Malibu’s Serra Retreat at $5.475 million; Carbon Beach at $4 million; Santa Monica’s north of the Montana Avenue area at $3.869 million; La Costa at $3.412 million; Broad Beach at $3.2 million; and Las Flores Beach at $3.137 million.
Malibu Colony Beach, a longtime magnet for celebrities and exorbitant price tags, saw the former Mediterranean-style home of Brian Grazer sell in May for $25.395 million. A few months later, the wood-wrapped Colony cottage of late billionaire A. Jerrold Perenchio sold for $12.65 million.
Pamela Anderson of “Baywatch” fame also offered up her contemporary home in the gated community for lease at $40,000 per month in the fall. Other stars tied to the neighborhood include Ed Norton, Jim Carrey and Leonardo DiCaprio.
“Malibu Colony is so special because it’s the only guard-gated community in Malibu where the homes sit so close to the sand,” said Chad Rogers, who held the listing on the Grazer property and grew up in the neighborhood.
Malibu Colony holds roughly 120 homes — half on the land side and half on the beach. Rising sea levels have claimed some sand on waterfront properties at the center of the neighborhood, but homes on the left and right edges still boast plenty of beach space.
As opposed to Beverly Hills Gateway, where residents erect 15,000-square-foot mansions on an acre or more, the houses are relatively small. Builds range from 2,500 square feet to 7,000 square feet and can sell for $5 million to $20 million.
Rogers said last year’s Woolsey Fire, although devastating, probably won’t affect the Malibu housing market moving forward.
The city rebuilt after a 1993 fire, Rogers said, adding that he’s been receiving calls from residents of damaged homes who plan to stay in the community.
“There’s always a price for paradise. In Malibu, the price includes floods, rock slides, earthquakes and fires,” he said.
Los Angeles neighborhoods held the most spots in the top 50 at 16, followed by Malibu’s 14. Manhattan Beach had seven, Culver City and Beverly Hills each had four, and Long Beach had two.
“The biggest and most basic takeaway is that prices are going up,” said Eliza Theiss, who authored the report for PropertyShark. Only nine neighborhoods in the top 50 saw year-over-year median sale drops.
The most dramatic decrease was Malibu’s Broad Beach, where sale prices dropped 28 percent compared to 2017.
Theiss, who analyzes data sets for each quarter throughout the year, said most of the top 10 spots had stabilized by the first half of the year, since that’s when many of the big transactions took place.
The data cover all residential transactions that closed from Jan. 1, 2018, to Dec. 14, 2018.