The novel coronavirus has disrupted virtually every part of our world and the long-term effects will take time to comprehend. In our tiny part of the map and in our tiny little industry, Malibu real estate has not escaped the impact of the pandemic. In the month of April, only five homes in the Malibu real estate zone sold, according to MLS and public records. During May, the tally was 10.

So, it is not like real estate has been shut down entirely. Particularly including healthy activity in the rental market, it has definitely not. It’s even possible to say the trickle of sales is better than expected.

Fifty sales through May for the year represents a pace very similar to the 2009 market collapse, when about 120 homes sold during the entire year. Malibu averages about 20 sales per month normally, if you go back 20 years to 2000 and average them since. 

The allocation of those sales this year has been curious. It seems that homes under $2.5 million and homes on the beaches and bluffs are getting respectable attention. The core gap of homes between $3-$7 million have struggled.

The projected total volume of about $600 million in single family transactions this year will pale in comparison to post-fire 2019, when volume came in at $864 million, let alone to the 2017-18 years that landed robustly around $1.4 billion each. The median sale price has been flirting with the $4 million benchmark. That would easily be a new record for Malibu. Surprise! No value plummets going on here. Twenty of the 50 sales have been at $5 million or more. Thirty-two percent of the sales have been at the beach. Both those stats indicate some strength at the upper end. (Most years, beach sales are 25 percent of the sales or less).

That said, here is a sampling of 2020 sales—usually difficult, complicated, fragile transactions that found their way to completion, in the 90265 zip code:

Among the five deals that topped eight figures so far this year was a beach house on Malibu Road with five bedrooms on 51 feet of sand frontage. The $11 million closing price was top among the few April sales. That was about $3 million more than its 2017 sale price, before its recent remodeling.  

Two homes in the 90265 zip code have managed to sell below $1 million. One, in upper Corral Canyon, features a gambrel roof and three renovated bedrooms. There are canyon views and public records put the square footage at more than 1,300 square feet.

A Malibu West home needed almost two years on and off the market but finally transacted for nearly $2.6 million. It is slightly on the larger side, about 2,600 square feet, with five bedrooms. Its large lot includes a pool and plentiful gardens. 

A Point Dume gated cul-de-sac home, built in 2003, sold for just over $4 million in March. It includes a pool, some distant ocean views and beach rights. The home has four bedrooms with wood floors, high ceilings, open gourmet kitchen and a library, with a large guest house near a pool area that’s full of amenities.

Malibu Park has seen a $4.5 million deal even among many burned-out lot sales and rebuilds going on. The home was particularly new, built in 2011, and particularly large, with over 6,300 square feet at the end of a cul-de-sac. It is a Mediterranean style home with a large motor courtyard on five acres.

Back to the beach, the most recent sale in Malibu Cove Colony was for just over $8 million. The house is 5+7. It is a large, architectural home once featured in Architectural Digest. All five bedrooms are suites and practically the whole ocean front of the house is made of glass. 

Among a handful of homes sold in Latigo Canyon is a three-bedroom contemporary home trading for $1.2 million. It has ocean views and had last sold in 2004 for $875,000. 

A pyramid house on top of the mountain in the West Saddle Peak neighborhood sold for just over $2 million. It literally looks like nothing but a pyramid, with three bedrooms and great views of the mountains and canyons below. Inside, there are stone floors and an inlaid Analemma solar calendar, according to MLS information. It sits on 2.4 acres.

Rick Wallace has been a Realtor in Malibu for 32 years and a contributing real estate columnist for 26 years.

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