If you want to live among gas-guzzling, tax-evading, hippie-gypsies running from the law, then Malibu's mobile-home parks are not the places to look (as the Who might otherwise suggest in its hit song "Going Mobile"). Here you will find no country-trekking trailers, but double-wides and manufactured homes placed permanently atop sweeping ocean-side bluffs. In fact, the term "mobile-home park" is rather misleading in this mansion- and estate-packed section of the globe.
In its early years, Paradise Cove was a recreational park where surf seekers towed their caravans for the summer in the 1950s. Eventually, these homes were left in Malibu year-round. Three upper levels were carved out of the mountainside in the early '70s.
A mile or so away, Point Dume Club, with an entrance gate on Heathercliff Road, began in 1972 as an adult-only community and was opened to entire families just 15 years ago.
Of Paradise Cove's 260 residents, more than half are permanent residents and the rest are second-home owners. Point Dume has significantly more permanent residents, with only 30 of 299 occupants renting or leasing.
Retiree Tamar Freeman has owned her mobile home in Paradise Cove for 15 years, has lived there for 10 and has only good things to say about her neighborhood. "I feel safe. I can go outside in the middle of the night and look at the stars. . . . I can call on my neighbors for anything," she said.
Among those neighbors is Pritchett-Rapf Realtor David Carter, the Malibu mobile-home-park guru of 25 years. "Beachgoers hang like lemmings" on the beaches surrounding Paradise Cove, he said. The park itself, however, is gated, so they can't come in to scrounge for parking.
Recently, several houses in the Paradise Cove and Point Dume Club parks sold for close to $2 million. Some would certainly find such high asking prices for mobile homes preposterous, even in Malibu. Lower-priced listings for one-bedroom, one-bathroom homes are about $300,000, while ocean-view bluff-top residences are priced at $1 million and up. In addition, there are fees to lease the land and a fee for the homeowners association.
Despite the prices, these homes have become highly sought after for the views, the gated neighborhoods and the extensive residential perks. Paradise Cove residents enjoy access to a private beach, tennis courts, a children's playground and a clubhouse. Those in Point Dume Club have a pool, a large spa, saunas, tennis and basketball courts, a clubhouse and proximity to Point Dume State Beach.
Nearly every home has a golf cart parked outside, a popular mode of transportation, many packed to the brim with surfboards and beach supplies. These are kid-friendly neighborhoods, and the homes are close together.
Schools are part of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. On the 2008 Academic Performance Index Growth Report, the district's elementary schools scored from 834 to 936 out of 1,000. Malibu High scored 824.