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Malibu’s precious few

Beach house rentals are becoming a rare find

David Geffen returned public access to Malibu beaches last spring, but other locals are making it hard to find a place in the sun.

Malibu’s rental pool has shrunk over the last five years. Just as Mel Gibson recently complemented his longtime Malibu ranch with a beachfront spread, other prime family compounds are being snapped up to diversify real estate portfolios.

“There are only a couple dozen top-quality beach estates available for rent each summer,” says Coldwell Banker Malibu East agent Paul Randall, who has been selling the area for 30 years.

There’s also been a decline in the market’s middle range. Malibu native Chris Cortazo, an agent with Coldwell Banker’s Malibu West office, says homeowners have been acquiring neighboring homes as they come on the market to ensure their privacy. Many of these homes (like the modest pad Oracle founder Larry Ellison bought on Carbon Beach for $15 million last year) were formerly used as rental properties.

Throw in the fact that brokers do a lot of repeat business with families who take the same house every year and there’s not much left for anyone else.

Peak season is mid-June through mid-September, closely paralleling the school calendar’s summer break. Another big rental demographic: two or three single professionals sharing a weekend retreat. Most leases are for a minimum of two months, with July and August being the most desirable and priced accordingly.

“A little beach cottage can rent for $10,000 a month, while a major beach and bluff property above Paradise Cove or Point Dume will rent for $75,000 to $100,000 per month,” says Randall.

At the high end, expect five to six bedrooms in a fully furnished house with a pool, tennis court and, most importantly, beach access. At the low end, one- or two-bedroom apartments and beach condos go for $2,000 to $3,000 per month, mostly to young professionals in the entertainment and tech industries.

Randall notes that Malibu is still not quite as expensive as the Hamptons. Some power-renters keep a foot on each coast, renting one month in the Hamptons and one in Malibu (often paying a big surcharge for a one-month lease).

 “A lot of people lease for a summer to see if they actually like Malibu,” says Cortazo, who has seen many renters become buyers. “Once people try Malibu, it’s kind of like a drug.” If that’s the case, reserve your stash now.

Point Dume Malibu 27422 Pacific Coast Highway Malibu
#47 Malibu Colony Malibu
Point Dume Malibu 27422 Pacific Coast Highway Malibu #47 Malibu Colony Malibu
Four-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom Italian country style villa behind gates with two guesthouses and panoramic ocean views and beach access. Expansive lawn and garden areas with pool and spa, lighted tennis court. Architect’s own 4-bedroom, 5-bath home on a bluff with spectacular ocean views overlooking Paradise Cove. Published in Architectural Digest. Decorator-designed and fully furnished including paintings, books and rugs. Master bedroom with fireplace. Twenty-foot oceanfront decks, guesthouse and security gate. Five-bedroom, 6-bathroom English Tudor inside the gates on a double lot. Oceanside master suite, four fireplaces, gourmet kitchen, media room, attached tea house, three-car garage. Shared tennis court across across the street.
Monthly rate: $75,000/month Monthly rate: $22,000/month long-term Monthly rate: $50,000/month through May 15; $60,000/month, short term, with a two-month minimum
Contact: Paul Randall
Coldwell Banker Malibu East
(310) 456-1747, ext. 365
Contact: Chris Cortazo
Coldwell Banker Malibu
(310) 589-2472
Contact: Jeff Chertow
Pritchett-Rapf & Assoc.
(310) 456-5570

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