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Lack of Coastal Inventory Prompts Homebuyers to Look South

The ongoing lack of coastal luxury inventory in Orange County is translating into shifting buyer trends that could draw shoppers away from the region’s highest-end markets of Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, and into the relatively more affordable coastal cities of Dana Point and San Clemente.

Kristine Smith, the chief marketing officer of Surterre Properties, notes this trend is already playing out in the former city, which is capturing prices she’s “never seen before.”

Surterre expects that migration to continue southward into San Clemente, which “offers the best value for buyers looking for oceanfront properties.”

Lack of Lots 

One neighborhood example of the dearth of coastal homes for sale in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach is Cameo Shores in Corona del Mar. Despite being a relative hotbed for coastal construction in OC, of the 14 waterfront homes in the community, only two have sold over the past two decades.

One home on this coastal stretch of Brighton Road, sometimes referred to as “Billionaires Row,” recently hit the market with a $35 million price tag. Surterre’s Adrienne Brandes has the listing for the 7,000-square-foot home, which last sold in 2019 for $20 million.

Southward Migration

Shrinking options and skyrocketing prices may prompt potential homebuyers to look further south, Smith notes.

“As buyers start to get wind of what they can purchase in more affordable cities like Dana Point and San Clemente,” that may be more of a visible trend in 2022, Smith said.

In Dana Point, the priciest reported single-lot oceanfront residential land sale in Orange County occurred in March of this year. A 10,642-square-foot front-row lot at 6 Ritz Cove in the gated Monarch Beach community sold for nearly $14.3 million.

In the nearby Strand community in the city, one home sold last month for $20 million, among tops for the city this year and marking the priciest sale on record for homes in the third and highest row of the multi-tiered Sanford Edward-overseen luxury gated development.

San Clemente 

Smith expects San Clemente to heat up as well.

The South County city sees the highest-end transactions occur in Cotton Point Estates, such as the $34 million deal in September for 4130 Calle Isabella, a nearly 13,000-square-foot estate near Casa Pacifica, the 5.5-acre San Clemente estate that was home to former President Richard Nixon.

That famed estate, owned by Allergan founder Gavin Herbert Sr., is by far the priciest active listing in the city with an asking price of $65 million. According to Zillow, a nearly 15,000-square-foot home at 4070 Calle Isabella is the second priciest listing at $14.5 million.

A recent MLS report found Marblehead in San Clemente to be the most inexpensive coastal community in Orange County with an average $706-per-square-foot sales price, less than half that of Crystal Cove.

As the inventory issue worsens in Newport Beach in particular, and buyers continue to work in a largely remote fashion, cities like San Clemente may see an influx in new homeowners in 2022, Smith predicts.

“The migration is coming,” Smith said

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