The Uber-Wealthy Continue To Favor Malibu Homes

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In Malibu, California, sand is gold. Where homes are sited―whether sandcastle-close along Broad Beach Road or atop Point Dume cliffs―is all about the correlation to beaches glinting in a sunset’s glow.

The main show is the Pacific Ocean and its sonic swells―that serene rhythmic roll homebuyers crave to hear 24/7 and will gladly pay millions for.

But building in Malibu can get dicey given vexing code regulations and slow permitting. Renovated properties are now en vogue.

“We’re seeing a lot of developers come in and update these homes,” says Hilton & Hyland Realtor Chad Rogers. “You can’t build today what you could 10 or even five years ago―the codes have changed. These homes can’t be duplicated.”

A $24.5 million recently renovated four-bedroom home along Broad Beach Road exemplifies the accelerating trend.

Developer Yigal Hamias bought the 1993-built Broad Beach home nine months ago and has since swapped out a cabin-like interior for a crisp modernist look. Hilton & Hyland agent Laura Kalb has co-listed the 5,150-square-foot home―31030 Broad Beach Road.

The average home sales price along Broad Beach Road and adjacent streets is $11.9 million, according to a multiple listing service (MLS) report, and the area has 262 properties.

Malibu Buyers Favor Renovated Properties

Rogers adds that “it can take three or more years to build a home because of strict regulations. Billionaires will pay a premium to avoid that process.”

He cites Pierce Brosnan’s home along Broad Beach Road―a two-minute walk from Kalb’s listing, as one of Malibu’s premier irreplaceable properties, one that could not be built today.

In 2000, Bronson and his wife, Keely Shaye Smith, commissioned the 12,500-foot Thai-inspired retreat, spread over an acre-plus, which took a decade to build. The couple listed the three-story home for $100 million in September 2020. Nearly one year later, the listing agreement expired without an offer.

Paradise has other perks. Malibu home sales skirt Los Angeles’ new “mansion tax” that ranges from 4% to 5.5%, enacted to boost affordable housing and homelessness efforts. Malibu is an incorporated city with its own governance.

A Broad Beach Home’s Backyard: The Pacific Ocean

That future savings attracted developer Hamias, who owns Van Nuys-based Milano Granite (more on Rogers’ Malibu market report later).

Surveying 31030 Broad Beach Road’s potential, he realized its countrified interior had to go. It was wholly incongruous with the home’s smart exterior set with planes and angles accented with multipaned vertical windows.

Of particular note is a rear sitting room off the dining room with a built-in banquette. Open on one side, the room flows seamlessly into the back patio set with a Jacuzzi. Straight ahead is the home’s backyard―the Pacific Ocean.

“A lot of people enter that space and say they feel they’re on Cape Cod or in the Hamptons,” Kalb says. “It has a sophisticated, easy beach kind of feeling.”

Past a courtyard, the home’s front door opens to a spacious foyer that embraces the main staircase. Straight ahead, two steps descend to the living room and ocean views, optimally framed by vertical 9-foot windows flanking a double door. The upstairs master and sitting room have similar windows and doors that open to a lengthy deck.

A first-floor hallway leads to a second living room/media room with glass doors leading to an oasis garden patio that also serves an en suite bedroom.

A 500-square-foot guest suite is positioned over the two-car garage. The space could also be used as an office or art studio. The suite has a separate entrance. It includes a sitting area with wood ceilings cut with skylights as well as a kitchenette, bathroom and a walk-in closet.

31030 Broad Beach Road’s Renovation Project

Before renovations, the home was packed with a preponderance of slate that gave it a weighty feel. The material was used for flooring, steps, walls, the back patio and to face a vertical fireplace enclosure.

Hamias stripped away most of the metamorphic rock. The new floors are of 4mm-thick engineered white oak. The main staircase’s slate steps were replaced with 1-inch-thick white oak and its wood frame was stained black.

Slate that faced the main floor’s double-sided fireplace (serving the living and dining rooms) was replaced with vein-cut silver travertine marble. The upstairs double-sided fireplace (serving the master and a sitting room) was faced with Venetian plaster with faux marble accents.

Copper windows and doors were badly tarnished after 30 years. The surfaces were treated, primed and painted black―both inside the home and out. The hardware was also switched out. All bathroom cabinets were replaced and topped with a rose letter-finish Caesarstone. New plumbing was also installed.

After refinishing, vaulted cedar ceilings in the upstairs master are now burnished. The suite includes a dual fireplace, sitting area, walk-in closet and en suite bathroom. The bath’s striking pale gray tile walls by Porcelanosa are inset with ridges. They form an alcove that embraces the freestanding tub.

The kitchen cabinets and drawers were refaced with reef oak panels created by Shinnoki. New Calcutta marble countertops are by Cambria, which are paired with new Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances. The kitchen has a center island and walk-in pantry plus a dumb waiter that serves the home’s three floors.

The upstairs hallway is topped with a peaked roof set with newly cleaned alabaster so that the structure floods the area with a creamy light.

The home’s basement―unusual for Los Angeles, let alone Malibu―includes an approximate 100-bottle wine cellar, laundry room and storage cabinets.

Broad Beach neighbors include actor Danny DeVito and Los Angeles Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, says Kalb, whose listing is a 10-minute walk from the popular Trancas Country Market complex.

Rogers’ Malibu Snapshot

Beyond Broad Beach Road properties, the City of Malibu’s average home sales price during 2023’s first quarter was nearly $6.1 million, according to a market analysis provided by Rogers. That’s down $1.650 million, about a 21% drop from 2022’s first quarter report of $7.7 million.

Rogers attributes the backslide to “rate-locked” sellers as well as a lack of inventory and tighter buyer margins.

The number of days a property stays on the market has also plummeted―from 66 days in April 2022 to this April’s 49 days, a decrease of nearly 26%.

“I believe that’s because we’re seeing interest rates go down a bit from where they were in March,” says Rogers, a former luminary on Bravo TV’s Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles. “That could be stimulating movement. With less inventory and demand about the same, homes will typically sell quicker if priced correctly.”

Spring and summer should see more activity, he adds, since “Malibu tends to be a seasonal market.”

The report also shows that there were 67 expired, canceled and withdrawn properties in the first quarter of 2023 compared to 50 during the first quarter of 2022.

“Homeowners might want to move but are not jumping to sell―they likely have a low rate compared to today’s much higher rates,” says Rogers, a Malibu native. “If they get their price, they’ll sell. But if they don’t, they’ll stay.”

Still, sales along Malibu’s 21 miles of azure coastline continue to be notable. Consider these three reported standouts sold in the fourth quarter of 2022:

Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen set a California sales record―$177 million―when he purchased a Malibu compound in late 2021. (Michael Eisner aims to break that record with his recent Malibu $195 million Malibu listing.) Spread over nearly seven acres atop a bluff, Andreessen’s property overlooks Paradise Cove. In 2022, Andreessen paid $34 million and $44.5 million for homes nearby―his six-month Malibu shopping spree reportedly totaling $255.5 million.

Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs also shops in Malibu’s Paradise Cove, with her tab coming to about $80 million split between three homes purchased since 2014― about .6% of her $13 billion net worth. Another dedicated Malibu shopper: WhatsApp cofounder Jan Koum, who recently spent $187 million on adjacent homes overlooking Paradise Cove.

Rogers hopes to attract similar deep-pocket buyers. He recently listed a 4,159-square-foot home for nearly $30 million in the Paradise Cove area.


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