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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

$15M Newport Beach Home Sets Neighborhood Record

A roughly 2.5-acre ranch overlooking Newport Beach’s Back Bay sold in June for $15 million, a record for the city’s Santa Ana Heights neighborhood.

The 5,384-square-foot home at 2612 Mesa Drive was built in 1950 as one of the neighborhood’s first houses.

The six-bedroom, five-bathroom home is also one of Newport Beach’s few equestrian properties, and is known by Bayview trail pedestrians for its outdoor pond frequented by ducks and geese.

“Finding equestrian properties that are coastal and have an amazing bay view is a rarity,” The Kidder Group’s Heather Kidder, who represented the buyer, told the Business Journal.

The lot’s size was also a factor in the home’s record-setting price.

“It’s unique to have that much space in Newport Beach,” listing agent Tim Smith of The Smith Group Coldwell Banker Realty told the Business Journal.

About 50 of Newport Beach’s roughly 39,000 homes are more than an acre.

Property History

The property at 2612 Mesa Drive, known to many as the Duck Farm, has only traded hands twice since it was built.

The home’s original owners, Alvin and Patricia Cox, constructed a duck farm on their lot after acquiring the land in 1947 from Myford Irvine, former president of Newport Beach-based developer Irvine Co.

The following owners bought the property from the Cox family in 2015 for $8.4 million.

They built onto the original house and added a guest house and a barn. The property can hold up to 14 horses.

The home’s new owners are local to Orange County, sources note.

Given the property’s size, view and equestrian facilities, the home “is obviously going to continue to increase in value over the coming years,” Kidder said.

SB 9

A California law that went into effect last year is also boosting the value of properties in OC.

Backers intended the California HOME Act, also known as SB 9, to help alleviate the state’s housing crisis by encouraging homeowners to split their lots into multiple properties. At the same time, it effectively bans the combination of lots into single-family units.

“Because we’re in a housing shortage, you can no longer combine lots in California,” Smith said. To have 1- to multiple-acre lots, especially in Newport Beach—where such properties are rare—“is becoming much more difficult.”

Though SB 9 intended to create more housing in California, recent research suggests its impact on the housing crisis is smaller than legislators hoped.

An analysis by University of California, Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation found that in the 13 California cities it examined, “SB activity [was] limited or nonexistent.”

Los Angeles saw 211 SB 9 applications last year, the most out of the studied 13 cities. The remaining cities, which researchers expected would see high SB 9 project activity due to financial feasibility and frequent development of accessory dwelling units, had few new homes or applications for lot splits.

The report, however, acknowledged that “it is still too early to say that SB 9 is not working,” since city planning departments are facing capacity and staff constraints, while homeowners and construction companies are dealing with rising interest rates, high inflation and ongoing supply chain disruptions.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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