A 4,913-square-foot home in Dana Point traded hands last month in a $31.5 million off-market sale, making it the second-priciest home sale on record for the city.
The home is 1 of 214 in Monarch Bay, a gated, beachfront community that was under a long-term land lease with the Moulton Co.— whose namesake family is one of the county’s oldest landowners— until 2020, when the community’s residents paid $225 million to buy out the ground lease to their homes.
That deal added significant equity in the properties and has led to higher pricing for the neighborhood.
The prior owner of the recently sold 39 Monarch Bay Drive paid $5.7 million for the land as part of the 2020 deal, about two years after buying the home itself for $9.1 million.
Last month’s sale of the six-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bathroom coastal home marks a 245% premium. It also set a new neighborhood record on a price-per-square-foot basis, working out to $6,412 per square foot.
Monarch Bay set the priciest home sale record for Dana Point in 2022, when a 7,700-square-foot estate at 63 Monarch Bay Drive sold for $33 million.
Though the 39 Monarch Bay property falls on the smaller side for high-end homes of comparable value, its amenities, direct beach access and a recent renovation boosted its price, brokers said.
“It checked all the boxes” for the buyer, Lee Ann Canaday of the Canaday Group & Re/Max Fine Homes, which represented the unidentified seller, told the Business Journal.
The buyer, represented by Jill Lockhart of Livel Real Estate, lucked out on the property since “the orientation is really rare,” Livel’s Meital Taub of told the Business Journal.
Several of the home’s standout amenities were added during a remodel a few years back, when the prior owners made the residence “fit for entertaining,” Canaday said.
A notable addition was a two-bedroom, two-bathroom guest house, as well as an outdoor kitchen and bar, outdoor fireplace and pool shielded by windows.
“You can see the ocean without the wind blasting in your face,” Canaday said.
Monarch Bay runs some 80 acres along the western edge of Coast Highway, near Crown Valley Parkway.
Prior to the 2020 land transaction, homes in the community typically sold for $2 million to $6 million. In the years since, about 10 homes have sold, ranging from $12 million to $33 million.
Residents in Monarch Bay share the beach club with guests at the nearby Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach, which includes a restaurant and bar.
“You’re really buying into a lifestyle rather than a house,” Taub said.
While recent reports indicate demand for homes away from the ocean is on the decline, the market remains strong for coastal homes like those in Monarch Bay.
“Oceanfront homes so far have not been negatively affected by the economy,” Canaday said.
OC coastal homes are getting even more attention from buyers due to LA’s “mansion tax.”
Late last year, LA voters approved Proposition ULA, which raises the one-time transfer tax from about 0.5% to 4% for property deals between $5 million and $10 million, and 5.5% for transactions of $10 million and above.
The new policy is driving a “surge” of buyers to OC, whose homes have yet to tap out on pricing, according to Lockhart, who represented the buyer.
Unlike LA, “we still have a lot more to grow in terms of pricing and sales,” she added.