The Best In The Westside

Confirmed: Homes in Malibu Are Very Expensive

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With the tech industry booming and real-estate values rising, Northern California has lately had the upper hand in the long-running feud between Northern California and Southern California. So here’s some good news for (select) homeowners in Southern California: Los Angeles and Orange Counties have the nation’s two most expensive real-estate markets, beating out Northern California.

The nation’s most expensive real estate market in 2013 was Malibu, Calif., with an average listing of $2.15 million, according to a Coldwell Banker ranking of the nation’s priciest markets. Newport Beach, in Orange County, was second, while the rest of the top five were in Northern California (Saratoga, Los Gatos and San Francisco, respectively).

Coldwell Banker’s ranking is a bit unorthodox. The real-estate brokerage only looks at homes with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, which makes it easier to compare markets.

For instance, if a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Malibu costs $2.15 million, what would it cost in Cleveland? The answer is $63,729.

Cleveland was ranked Coldwell Banker’s “most affordable” market in 2013.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the nation’s most expensive markets—20 of which have an average listing prices of $1 million or more—are mostly limited to the coasts. Twelve of the most expensive markets were in California. Four were ritzy suburbs around the New York and Boston metropolitan areas. Two were resort areas: Breckenridge, Colo., and Kailua, Hawaii.

You might be wondering why the top of the list doesn’t have more ultra-exclusive resort areas (we were). A possible reason is that, since Coldwell’s report only looks at four-bedroom, two-bath homes, there might not have been a large enough sample during the period the report was run (January to June of this year). The brokerage says it removes any markets with fewer than 10 such listings.

The list of most affordable places is dominated by economically depressed areas in the Rust Belt and deep South. After Cleveland, the most affordable area was Garfield Heights, Ohio, which is just outside Cleveland proper. The next three most affordable are Flint, Mich.; Saginaw, Mich.; and Jackson, Miss.