Sometimes I feel my city of Malibu and neighborhood of Point Dume is becoming less a stunning singular coastal enclave , and more a non descript monopoly board; where a house is less a home and more an investment, a safe deposit box of sorts.
What is happening in Malibu and several other desirable neighborhoods in Southern California is that housing is becoming more and more difficult for most families to buy.
That is unless they have deep pocket parents, or they themselves are obscenely wealthy, thanks to our inequitable economy, as I comment on an upcoming 97.5 KBU, radiomalibu.net and select websites.
Though difficult to track more than anecdotally, an increasing number of houses on select streets are being snapped up as weekend retreats.
These buyers are known as zombie owners. If and when seen, they tend not to be friendly, and not particularly concerned with issues beyond their locked gates. So much for a sense of community
I am, of course, prejudice, having grown up in Brooklyn, in an neighborhood where you hung out on stoops, and everyone knew everyone, and their business. I later lived in a gritty East Harlem project tower, but its lobby, streets and playgrounds were friendly.
A sense of community also persisted later, when raising a family in Princeton, New Jersey and Port Washington, Long Island. Schools and local politics bonded you.
It was the same when I moved to L.A., in Santa Monica, with a few more kids in tow, before the wife found a house she loved in Malibu. That was 20 years ago.
There living across the street was an elderly couple in a house shared by their reclusive son and several dogs. We and our parade of pets became friendly, keeping an eye on each other. But they sadly passed, as did the dogs, and in time their inconsolable son. The house was put up for sale.
We looked forward with trepidation to whom would buy, and perhaps demolish it and construct a macmansion, as what was happening in our former Santa Monica neighborhood.
Ironically, I had been quite critical of this trend in my writings 25 years ago, and immodestly am credited by Wikipedia with having indirectly coined the phrase.
Of course, neighborhoods transform. My Brooklyn once populated with European Jews is now a hipster haven. Who would have guessed. If there is one constant in cities it is change.
We were relieved when a pleasant couple with two children bought it 3 years ago, and proceeded to attractively rebuild the house, and landscape it.
But now they have put up their homey house up for sale. The taxes, mortgage, college costs, a wavering economy, a rising real estate market, whatever the reason, they are moving. Call it flipping or not, they seem sad to move. We wish them luck.
So, we are again hoping someone doesn’t buy to demolish the house for a macmansion Or use it as a weekend retreat, or a party house, and on the side, rent it out as an airbnb. Worse could be a clinic. There are certainly enough of them in Malibu already.
You have to worry, given the city’s planning passivity and reluctance to get involved, and Malibu’s avaricious lawyers and realtors.
It’s Malibu Jake, where, the saying, “there goes the neighborhood,” is becoming more than a cliché.