What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Malibu?

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by Upgraded Home Team

With a population of just under 10,000 and an area of about 20 square miles, Malibu is a small suburban city located on a strip of the California coastline. To get to Malibu, it takes around 45-60 minutes to drive westward from downtown L.A. or 25 minutes to drive northward from the Santa Monica Pier.

It is most famous for its recognizable fishing pier and for the kind of waves that surfers’ dreams are made of. I always thought of it as a place full of laid-back surfers and starving artists, but that is not the entire reality of Malibu.

The median age of a Malibu resident is 53, and the typical home consists of a median of 2-3 occupants. Malibu’s poverty level is 7%, so it’s not too full of starving artists and drifting surfers but mostly, the middle-aged with very few children. Malibu is a gorgeous city with a lot to offer for some, but for others, this little city may stop short of their needs.

Malibu has no shortage of pros, like the awesome landscapes, the fun attractions, the top-quality education, the low crime rate, the modest poverty rate, the ample diversity, and the peaceful politics. Not to disturb the dream, there are also a few cons to ponder before taking the leap into Malibu — cons like a high cost of living, a slow job market, a declining population growth, the wrong housing market, the troubling Pacific Coast Highway, the far distance from the big city, and the stunted growth. What do the pros and cons of living in Malibu look like?

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The Pros of Living in Malibu

You think of the Malibu you see in the movies, but is that what it’s really like? What are the pros of living in Malibu? Let’s take a look.

Awesome Landscapes

Over three dozen beaches are in Malibu, offering a plethora of landscape experiences. Malibu doesn’t end with the glistening sand and surfers’ waves you find on Surfrider Beach by the pier. El Matador State Beach offers huge rock formations, some with natural openings at the bottom that you can walk through, making them perfect for photo opportunities. You can also opt for the gorgeous steep bluffs of Little Dume Beach.

Fun Attractions

If you see Malibu, don’t miss the Adamson House. It holds Malibu’s historical landmarks in its bluff-top museum. This showcase is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With its ritzy boutiques, art galleries, and more, the Malibu Country Mart is a place you definitely want to include.

Eat some simply great food at Duke’s Malibu and chase it with a cool drink from the Barefoot Bar. You can go pier fishing, surfing, stand-up paddling, kayaking, hiking, or biking. There are even rocky caves to explore. Be sure to remember the Malibu Pier.

Top-Quality Education

The Santa Monica – Malibu Unified School District is composed of 17 top-shelf, public schools. Serving grades K-12, it has a student-to-teacher ratio of 21:1. There are also good choices for private schools in Malibu, like Our Lady of Malibu School for K-8 and Moreau Academy for grades 1-11 (both are Roman Catholic schools). Also, there is McKenna Learning Center for students requiring special education, and don’t forget about Pepperdine University, whose main campus is located very near to Malibu.

Low Crime Rate

While property crime is 13% higher than the national average, violent crime is 56% lower. Aggravated assault is a common crime in many cities across the country, so a city with such a low violent crime rate is quite a find. Especially for those with children, Malibu may be the perfect place to mix everyday life and vacation into an everyday getaway.

Modest Poverty Rate

With an average annual household income of just over $271,500, Malibu has a poverty rate of roughly 7%. There is not a notable difference in the rate at which men versus women attain education. In Malibu, men make more than women in every educational level except for those that only graduated from high school. The average male earns $104,000 yearly, and the average female earns $50,000 yearly. While 50% of males rent a residence, 85% of women and 88% of married couples own their own homes.

Ample Diversity

Malibu is diverse in several ways. Though it is 83% White (non-Hispanic), there are other races that help make it diverse. Malibu is 9% Hispanic, 2% Asian, 1% African American, and 4% Mixed Race. It’s 50% men and 50% women. While 36% are 44 years or under, 17% are 45-54, 21% are 55-64, and 25% are 65 and older.

Peaceful Politics

Though Malibu is known as a right-wing or conservative city in an overwhelmingly left-wing or liberal state, it is said that its people are not at all hostile to liberal thinkers. As a matter of fact, Malibu’s citizens are known to take in everyone. It is common for a person in Malibu to feed the homeless, and its people pull together in a crisis.

The Cons of Living in Malibu

Is it the Malibu you read about in the tabloids? What are the cons of living in Malibu? Let’s examine some.

High Cost of Living

The cost of living in Malibu is 384% higher than the average cost of living in the United States. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? The cost of living in Beverly Hills, a mere 27 miles away, is 13% higher than Malibu’s. Healthcare in Malibu runs around 11% lower than the national average, and utilities are just over the national average.

Food and groceries cost around 18% more than the national average, and transportation costs are around 67% higher than the average across the nation. High expenses are also a con of living in Chico, CA.

Slow Job Market

The greater number of professionals in Malibu work at HRL Laboratories or Pepperdine University earning between $43,000 and $145,000 yearly. However, it seems as if these entities are well-staffed already. If I do a search on, say, Indeed of available mid-level job positions in Malibu only posted in the last 72 hours, I get a return of only 85 jobs, while there are 297 entry-level positions listed.

The wage trend is rising but at a level of less than 1% while job growth is predicted to be approximately 34% over the next 10 years. Most residents must drive the 33 miles to Los Angeles for work. The only jobs left in Malibu are low-level, low-paying positions.

Declining Population Growth

Malibu reported just over 12,500 residents in 2010, meaning its population is on the decline with a current population of just under 10,000. The population density is around 500 residents per square mile. This adds us to a (-9%) annual growth rate. The thing about declining population growth is that it is impossible to put a finger on one cause so that you can fix the problem.

All the residents that left Malibu couldn’t have possibly left for the same reason, and truth be known, they probably had complex reasons made up of more than one factor.

Wrong Housing Market

We all know that you want to buy low and sell high. You have to know housing markets to do that. Right now in Malibu, home prices have risen 126% from last year at the same time. The median price of a Malibu home is $4,000,000. Depending on who you are and the means you have, it may not be the time to buy in Malibu right now. There are many nice homes in this city where you can live close to the gorgeous shoreline, but exactly how nice are they?

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Troubling Pacific Coast Highway

No one would argue that driving the Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most exhilarating things you can experience in the United States. However, the canyons of the Pacific coast are quite dangerous to drive through, especially at night.

Through Malibu, the Pacific Coast Highway is a two-lane road that spans 27 miles. The road is very curvy and people reportedly often drive 65 mph at night, though the speed limit varies from 45 to 55 mph. In a three-year period, the highway saw over 625 injuries and more than 15 deaths.

Far Distance

While certain amenities are available in Malibu, most are privately-owned small businesses and fast-food restaurants, like Jack in the Box, Subway, and McDonald’s. To shop at department stores like Target, Marshall’s, or Nordstrom, or see a film at a cinema, you must drive a long distance to Santa Monica or Los Angeles.

Stunted Growth

Locals in Malibu seem to rail against growth. They like things just the way they are. They like their somewhat predictable way of life with the crowds in the summers and the quiet in the fall. While Malibu has grown a little with its fast-food joints, new businesses are not popping up as quickly as some would like due to the fact that the citizens fight it. Larry Ellison, one of America’s richest men, bought most of the beachfront property of Broad Beach, so he may have big plans for Malibu’s development.

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