Russian Buyers and Record Malibu Real Estate Sales
20 January 2013 · by Mike Gardner Malibu Real Estate Agent 310-699-8428

With all the talk about the latest record real estate transaction in Malibu, I find myself giving a lot of thought about how to intercept the next well-heeled Russian buyer. Initital thoughts included emptying my expense account for Beluga caviar and vodka when taking clients out to dinner in Beverly Hills. If it would be legal, I’d consider giving the buyer a Tourbillon by FP Journe as a closing gift…….I’m guessing that’s how business in done in these sorts of transactions.

Another thought would be to translate my real estate blog into Russian and run some ads on websites in Russia where the newly minted oligarchs hang out online. I wonder how they search Google for homes in Malibu? They don’t really type in “Mega Mansions” do they? …I doubt the mega part.

The word “mansion” is so 80’s to me….the current word used commonly for large properties is “estate.” Or maybe they use the word “palace”?….Palace as in the Palace Hotel in St. Moritz?

Part of me wonders if there is a Russian generation of BayWatch fans that now have the means to live where they long dreamed of.

So here’s what I see going on in Malibu right now. There is a tremendous amount of money coming from overseas buyers. In the 80’s and 90’s, the large transaction buyers were mostly Hollywood celebrities looking to get away from “town” as we say. In the early 2000’s, there were a few Persian spec builders developing properties in Malibu and the first wave of wealthy Persians purchased properties in Malibu. The last few years, my showings to foreigners have been dominated by Russians, Middle Easterns, and the Chinese. It seems that these foreigners are enjoying economic booms in their countries and seeing the luxury market in the US as a great investment. New York, Florida, and Los Angeles are the places to be right now.

The Malibu real estate market has had two very significant homes sell to Russians in the past year. Both homes share something in common…high price tags and the term “trophy” when being described.

The first big sale happend on Point Dume. A Doug Burdge designed architectural home sold for $21m to a Russian with discerning taste. The next one is the home on the Encinal Bluffs that sold for a record $75m to an anonymous Russian couple. This eclipses the $68 million sale of Nancy Daly Riordon’s Carbon Beach mansion in 2008.

The property is one I know well. As a teenager, I used to run across the vacant field to surf.There was nothing but an old firetruck from the 40’s decaying on the south side. The property was sold the Verna Harrah in the 90’s who proceeded to build the home as we see it today. She sold it to Herbalife founder Mark Hughes who later would sell it to Howard Marks. The property had been quietly shown for $125m.

What does this all mean? Even in times of economic uncertainty, there are buyers who will continually want to purchase “the best” that Malibu has to offer. Properties with one of a kind attributes, whether it be location or size, will likely continue to demand increasingly higher prices.

I personally was involved in multiple transactions last year where the buyers wanted properties that they saw “potential” in. Two were on the sand, one at $6m and one at $8.5m, and the other two were both on Point Dume.

Feel free to call and discuss the market, caviar, or who really should have won
the fight in Rocky IV. 1 310 699 8428


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