Taking the pulse on Malibu's summer lease season

Mega music producer-manager Peter Asher's beachfront house in California leased out for the summer at what may be a record-breaking price for Malibu Colony this recessionary season.

The MLS says it leased for $110,000 a month, still a bit anemic compared to previous seasons where Malibu beach homes went for $150,000 a month.

Asher's six-bedroom, 4.5 bathroom furnished property in the exclusive guard-gated Colony includes a detached guesthouse with a full kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. But it is so much more than that: The Colony is where people go to see and be seen. The listing agent was Chad Rogers of Hilton & Hyland in Beverly Hills, one of the stars of Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing" show.

Things were definitely a tougher sale this summer.

Malibu Coldwell Banker West agent Susan Monus said that while the Malibu summer beach leasing frenzy usually peaks in March or April with the top addresses going fast, this year things didn't heat up until late May-early June and in general, leases were of shorter duration -- one month instead of the full summer. Prices, too, were more negotiable, she said.

Madison Hildebrand, a Coldwell Bank agent based in Malibu -- who also stars on "Million Dollar Listing" -- said summer renters boldly made low offers this season. Some owners responded and others saw their homes go unrented. There were a few "impressive" leases, he said, but inventory is still available.

Putting it more bluntly, Malibu Prudential Realty agent Mike Gardner estimated that "demand dropped in half." Gardner also tracks Malibu short sales and foreclosures on his site www.themaliburealestateblog.com.

Finding a summer tenant was also made more difficult this year because of a Malibu ordinance that limits the number of large parties renters can throw. This, in turn, limited the interest of corporate sponsors which would lease Malibu beach homes to throw big parties to which they invited young starlets and the paparazzi. One photo appearing in a magazine with their product placed in the background was worth the weight of a leasing price tag.

Asher, who was half of the singing duo "Peter and Gordon," has ties to the Beatles and Apple Records that date back to the 60s. He is credited with discovering James Taylor and more recently has managed Diva Difficult, Courtney Love.

Read Full Story