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Malibu Makes Bid to Be World's Mega-Mansion Capital

This property on Sea Lane Drive in Paradise Cove Bluffs (pictured) went for $36.5 million.
Berlyn Photography
This property on Sea Lane Drive in Paradise Cove Bluffs (pictured) went for $36.5 million.

Malibu has always been known for its hidden beaches and un-hidden wealth. The combination has now turned Malibu into one of the nation's capitals of hyper-priced real estate.

Malibu had the most $10 million listings in the 12 months ending in November, according to Coldwell Banker. With a huge boom in sales in the fourth quarter, fueled in part by the fiscal cliff, Malibu is in the running to have the highest sales total in the $10-million-plus category for all of 2012.

There were reportedly 11 sales of $10 million homes in Malibu last year, up from eight in 2011.

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That includes closings on at least $123 million worth of high-priced property in five different deals in the fourth quarter alone. There were three closings of $5 million or more at the very last minute, on December 31st.

And 2013 is off to a huge start.

A Russian billionaire couple has just paid $75 million to buy Howard Marks's 9.5-acre estate. That's a Malibu record.

The Pacific Coast Highway property includes a 20,000-square-foot house with eight bedrooms and 14 bathrooms, two guesthouses, a separate gym, tennis courts and a swimming pool.

The all-cash deal was off-market, with a reported original asking price of $125 million.

Marks, chairman of Oaktree Capital, and his wife, Nancy, paid $31 million for the property in 2002, when he bought it from the estate of late Herbalife founder Mark Hughes.

As for 2012, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison was one of the biggest buyers in Malibu, adding two more properties to his holdings along Carbon Beach. He bought former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel's estate in September for $36.9 million and Jerry Bruckheimer's home for an undisclosed amount.

Ellison now owns about a dozen properties in the area known as Billionaire's Beach, including famed Japanese restaurant Nobu, and a property he's developing into a botanical gardens and art museum.

Other famous residents of Billionaire's Beach include entertainment mogul David Geffen and former Dodgers CEO Jamie McCourt.

"Malibu is quickly becoming a full time destination for many," says real-estate agent Chris Cortazzo, of Coldwell Banker Previews International. "Home prices are still below their peak market price and interest rates continue at historic lows giving buyers a real sense of value for their money."

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The last major closing of 2012 happened with just three days left in the year. A property on Sea Lane Drive in Paradise Cove Bluffs (pictured) went for $36.5 million, a $19.5 million discount to the original asking price.

That 11,313 square-foot home sits behind a 12-foot wall on 6.6 acres of beachfront property. It has a theater, two offices, a private beach, guest house and lighted tennis court.

If you want to move into the neighborhood, there are currently plenty of $10 million offerings in Malibu. The most expensive may be the Rosenthal Estate on Newton Canyon Road, listed at $59.5 million.

It includes a 235-acre vineyard, a 12,000 square foot hacienda-style main house with 8 bedrooms, two pools, a gym, two guest houses, a wine tasting room and a 6-car garage.