February 03

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How the Best Surfing Spots Near Pacific Palisades Boost Real Estate Value

Pacific Palisades

The history of surfing in the US has its roots in the 1940s and 50s but many associate it with the counter-culture scene of the 1960s. It’s almost strange to think that now almost 70 years later, surfing not only helps to create affluent communities but also has a considerable impact on the real estate market of an area, driving up home prices.

One such area that benefits from surfing is Pacific Palisades, an affluent residential community that enjoys all the perks of life by the sea: stunning ocean views, access to pristine beach waters, and an abundant supply of outdoor fun through recreations like surfing. There is no shortage of things to do in Pacific Palisades and no shortage of people who want to experience the world-class surf breaks on its beaches, as well as in those in nearby Santa Monica, Venice, and Malibu.

This is how a blessed coastal location like Pacific Palisade ends up becoming one of the hottest real estate markets in the US, thanks to a sport that has become a lifestyle.

Table of Contents:

The Surfing Effect on Real Estate

A study entitled “Impact of Surf Breaks on Home Prices in Santa Cruz, CA”, first published online in 2015, was pioneering research into how surfing affected property pricing. According to the study, the distance to surf breaks was a significant factor that determined home values, with a six-figure difference between homes located right next to a surf break and those located farther away. While not definitively proving a correlation, the study did, at the very least show there was a strong probability that surfing had an incredible effect on the surrounding real estate. For those who loved the sport, proximity to the waves was a primary consideration for where to live and how much they’d be willing to spend. Such was the state of things a decade ago.

The popularity of surfing has only skyrocketed since then. Before the outbreak of COVID-19, surfing had been gaining mainstream traction and was even announced as an official Olympic event for the first time. The pandemic only accelerated surfing’s widespread uptake as it was one of the few outdoor activities that was safe to pursue at the time. The experience of being locked in also prompted people to act on their surfing aspirations, leading to an increased demand for beachside properties near known surfing destinations.

How Surfing Boosts Real Estate Value

What exactly is it about surfing that makes surrounding real estate so valuable? Before answering that question, we must understand what attracts people to surfing in the first place.

  • Health Benefits – Clearly, the physical demands of the activity have a positive effect on health. Surfers undergo a full body workout every time they hit the waves, allowing them to burn calories, develop muscles, as well as increase strength and stamina in a relatively low-impact manner. Surfing contributes to mental wellness too, with enthusiasts citing benefits like improved self-esteem and reduced feelings of anxiety and stress.

  • Lifestyle – The simple joys of surfing, like the adrenaline rush of catching a good wave, and @the exhilaration of being tuned into powerful natural forces, make for a very laid-back and mellow lifestyle that can be very appealing. There’s also the warmth that comes with hanging out on the beach with your friends, enjoying a shared passion.

  • Community – The sense of community in surf towns is a strong reason why people who take up surfing also fall in love with these places. The locals are often friendly and welcoming, possibly a remnant of the surfing’s counter-culture origins. There’s also a constant stream of events, gatherings, and social activities that strengthen the bond among the community.

  • Location – The coastal requirement for surfing almost always means a postcard-worthy locale. You get to wake up to the sight of powdery beaches and turquoise waters. This is a great draw and not just for those interested in surfing.

Surfers couple running with surf boards on the beach

These are the things that the surfing population wants unhindered access to, making coastal neighborhoods like those within Pacific Palisades more desirable in their eyes. As more people settle in these regions, the more limited the housing supply becomes, creating a spike in real estate values.

Not that steep prices prevent the influx of investments in these areas. The 2015 study and post-pandemic relocation trends showed that people are willing to pay a premium to live as close to the surf as they can. Behaviors like this ultimately signal to investors and developers that there is an opportunity for high returns in the market, so they build more top-end accommodations and amenities to entice more tourists and potential long-term residents. The renewed demand results in the appreciation of property values, and the cycle refreshes itself.

Surfing in Pacific Palisades

Surfing, as it happens, is one of the most popular things to do in Pacific Palisades and the real estate market is reaping the benefits. This is not going to change anytime soon, especially since the area is abundant with beaches that have ideal surfing conditions.

The following are some of the most sought-after surf spots near Pacific Palisades:

  • Will Rogers State Beach – The surf break on this beach is relatively calm, making it an ideal site for beginners. Given the more relaxed experience here, it is often the chosen venue for surfing camps. This beach gets its fair share of visitor activity but is generally less crowded than other beaches on Santa Monica Bay. It has also made its mark on popular culture, having served as the shooting location of numerous TV shows and films, including the hit series Baywatch.

  • Sunset Point Beach – Technically a part of Will Rogers but separated from it by a sandless stretch of rocks, Sunset Point Beach shares the calm and beginner-friendly waters of the State Beach. The waves gradually roll into this spot, allowing beginners to still catch the thrill of the surf while improving their technique.

  • Ocean Park Santa Monica – Located ten minutes away from Pacific Palisades, this now well-known surf spot was once an amusement park at the end of the Santa Monica Pier. There are a variety of swells to experience in Ocean Park, so surfers of all skill levels tend to converge here, especially on the weekends.

  • Venice Beach The two main surfing points in Venice Beach are Breakwater and The Pier. Although conditions here are a little inconsistent, there’s still a lot of fun to be had when the tide, wind, and waves are in full cooperation.

  • Topanga Beach A renowned point break in Southern California, Topanga Beach in Malibu is less than 20 minutes away from Pacific Palisades. Longboard or shortboard, rookie or not — regardless of surfing preference or experience, you’ll find what you need in this classic surf spot.

  • Surfrider Beach Another nearby surfing destination is Malibu Lagoon State Beach, which is more popularly known as Surfrider Beach. It has three points that cater to surfers of different mastery levels. The iconic surfing location has also had a few movie and TV cameos from the 1950s to the 1960s.

  • Hermosa Beach It’s farther away from Pacific Palisades than the others on this list, but the surfing conditions make the extra travel time well worth it. Surfing is a big deal in this city, so much so, that it has a Surfers Walk of Fame on the beach pier. It is also the 2024 host of the International Surf Festival, an annual event that promotes surfing in the coastal cities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, and Torrance.

There are countless more surfing spots to explore in the area. Go in any direction from one of the ocean-view homes for sale in Pacific Palisades and you will stumble upon a point you will want to surf at least once.

Being surrounded by these natural wonders provides an anchor for a strong surfing culture in Pacific Palisades. This, in turn, enhances not only the value of the real estate in the area but also the quality of life of those who live there.

Living in Pacific Palisades

Although its surfing access is a big driver of the demand for homes in Pacific Palisades, there’s something else about the community that gives it the real estate X factor. With its impressive array of luxury homes and exclusive amenities, Pacific Palisades provides a wonderful balance between an opulent yet tranquil lifestyle, rare in the busy area of Los Angeles.

The Vibe: Highly exclusive and community-centered

As seen in other surfing communities, the atmosphere in Pacific Palisades is relaxed and easygoing. This may be a result of its natural surroundings with the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica mountains providing a natural seclusion from the hectic rush of nearby city areas.

While many would love to own property within Pacific Palisades, there are only around 22,000 official residents, making it one of the least dense communities in the city. Tourist traffic is kept to a minimum as well, so even if it does draw tourists, the day-to-day life in Pacific Palisades is still peaceful and quiet.

This doesn’t mean, though, that the homeowners like keeping to themselves all the time. Quite the opposite. Social calendars are packed with community-led events like luncheons, book clubs, concerts, festivals, and more. Visiting the weekly Farmers Market, for example, is a consistent favorite among the myriad of things to do in Pacific Palisades.

The Amenities: Excellent Schools, World-class Dining and Shopping

Another reason why Pacific Palisades is a hot real estate commodity is the access it has to first-class amenities.

The schools serving the jurisdiction are highly rated for their curriculums and programs. Public schools in the area include Palisades Elementary Charter School, Marquez Charter School, and Palisades Charter High School. There are several private school options as well. Leading colleges and universities are also within driving distance from the community.

One of the hallmarks of a great surf town is the high quality of dining options, which Pacific Palisades has in spades. Gladstones, an iconic restaurant that has been operational since the early 1970s, is the place for delicious California seafood. Meanwhile, some of the best Italian restaurants in Los Angeles can also be found on Pali shores, with Vittorios and Casa Nostra excellent choices.

Palisades Village is the central location for shopping in Pacific Palisades. It features a wide number of high-end boutiques and specialty shops that create an exciting and different shopping experience for residents and visitors.

The Attractions: Things to do in Pacific Palisades

Yes, Pacific Palisades is heavily surf-centric, but there’s more to do for leisure and entertainment here than just waiting for the next wave.

The water is not the only outdoor recreation available, as locals also have easy access to vast, beautiful parklands that surround the community. The Will Rogers State Historic Park, for one, offers some of the finest hiking and riding trails in the county. Temescal Gateway Park and Rustic Canyon Recreational Park are excellent park options as well.

The Getty Villa is another popular place to visit in the area. This museum and educational center is home to an astounding assembly of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities collected by oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. The site’s architecture and landscaping were also designed to mimic the environment of these ancient civilizations.

Another architectural marvel to visit is Eames House, which was the most successful structure to come out of the Case Study House program commissioned by the now-defunct Arts & Architecture magazine. Converted into a house museum, it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

Just some other things to do in Pacific Palisades include yoga and meditation at the Lake Shrine Temple and Retreat, as well as some golf and tennis at the Riviera Country Club facilities.

Real Estate in Pacific Palisades

Pacific Palisades houses and Santa Monica mountains. Southern California

Typical houses in Pacific Palisades are three- to four-bedroom single-family homes with expansive outdoor spaces that put the surrounding seas and mountains in full focus. The housing stock also includes waterfront apartments and condominiums, as well as heritage homes that have figured in the area’s rich history.

It’s the huge luxury properties, however, that stand out. Pacific Palisades mansions for sale go to market in the multi-million dollar range, and for good reason.

The amenities in these homes often include spacious entertainment areas, massage rooms, gourmet kitchens, formal dining rooms, and fitness centers. Outdoor features that are common in these houses are swimming pools with their own bars, resort-style lanais and patios, beautiful gardens, and roof decks that provide the most gorgeous vistas. This rich overall package, plus the tranquil and private way of life in the community, is what attracts A-List purchasers like celebrities, business magnates, and athletes.

Where to live in Pacific Palisades

Your search for homes in Pacific Palisades will lead you to 16 upscale neighborhoods that each have distinct characters and housing options. The most notable of these neighborhoods include:

  • Alphabet Streets Considered the first neighborhood in Pacific Palisades, this charming community is a well-known residential area due to its walking distance to The Village. This neighborhood appeals to young families looking for starter homes in a beautiful locale near the sea.

  • The Village Bluffs Located between Sunset Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway 1, this picturesque coastal neighborhood is home to spacious and elegant single-family homes that are mostly new or recently renovated. Its elevation on top of the bluffs from where it gets its name offers a nice panorama view of the ocean.

  • Castellammare This oceanfront community is the very definition of a beach paradise, with residents often seeing out the day with the most magnificent of sunsets. Most homes in the area were built with heavy European influences and come with outdoor amenities like courtyards and al fresco dining areas that take advantage of the breathtaking setting.

  • The Highlands This area has a high concentration of condominiums and townhouses, though two-story homes and bigger estates have also been added more recently. With the tight security owing to the many gated streets, The Highlands is a popular option for families and celebrities.

Make Pacific Palisades Your Next Home

Looking for homes in a first-rate surfing community like Pacific Palisades comes with its unique challenges, not least of which is the stiff competition you will face in the area. Navigating this fast-paced market can be as thrilling as catching your first wave.

James Respondek has been in the luxury real estate business since 1979 and has closed over $1 billion in real estate transactions. With his in-depth market knowledge, adaptable strategy, strong network, and discreet professionalism, he can help you with your search for ocean-view homes for sale in Pacific Palisades, and you can confidently expect a successful outcome.

Connect with James through email or give him a call at 310.488.4400 to get started on your Pacific Palisades home-buying journey.


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