This Malibu trailer park is coveted by the rich, the famous and the surfers

Oceanfront trailers sell for millions in Paradise Cove Mobile Home Park

Paradise Cove Mobile Home Park in Malibu
Paradise Cove Mobile Home Park in Malibu (Google Maps)

Tucked into an iconic cove in Malibu is America’s most expensive trailer park –– a spot coveted by the rich, the famous, and the surfers who have been there for generations.

Paradise Cove Mobile Home Park is home to just 256 mobile homes, the Wall Street Journal first reported. Residents have direct access to a secluded beach with an iconic surf break, and share a view of the Pacific with California’s most expensive real estate. Also on the Malibu bluff are the trophy estates of billionaire a16z co-founder Marc Andreessen, natural gas billionaire Michael Smith and media billionaire Byron Allen.

Andreessen’s 7-acre estate holds the California price record for a residential property –– he dropped a cool $177 million in that purchase.

While trailers in the cove don’t cost quite that much, they don’t come cheap these days, either.

Recent listings for mobile homes in the park post asking prices as high as $5.9 million, the outlet reported. The current price record in the park sits at $5.3 million, but agents told the publication they’ve heard of off-market deals close to $7 million.

All that money, and they still have to pay rent. That’s right –– the catch of a mobile home park is residents don’t own the land beneath them. The cove is owned by the Kissel family, who manages the park as the Paradise Cove Land Company. 

Lifeguard captain Ryan Addison and emergency room nurse Darlene Addison bought their lease in 2009 for $315,000, paid an additional $150,000 for their three-bedroom, two-bathroom mobile home and currently pay $1,500 in monthly rent, according to the outlet.

“We got lucky,” Ryan Addison told the journal. “There’s no way we’d ever be able to move in now.”

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While the prices of the cove’s trailers can rise at the whim of the market, the rent is regulated by local rent control laws. Monthly rates can range from the Addisons’ $1,500 to more than $4,000, the outlet reported. 

With the ballooning value of the park, the Kissels have tried unsuccessfully to fight the rent control over the years.

“We’re in California, where property rights go to die,” Steve Dahlberg, a member of the Kissel family, told the outlet. “It’s frustrating to watch wealthy people move in and pay $5 million for a trailer and then pay such a low, artificially restricted rent.”

The cove has had its share of rich and famous residents –– Stevie Nicks, Matthew McConaughey, Minnie Driver, Pamela Anderson and Betsy Johnson, to name a few. Still the park hasn’t been completely taken over by Architectural Digest-worthy mobile homes like actor Sarah Paulson’s.

Plenty of less-than-luxury trailers remain, pointing to the park’s roots as a quiet, treasured surf break. For many years, it was near impossible to surf Paradise Cove without being a resident of the park thanks to limited parking and beach access. Surfers won a legal fight against the Kissel family for public access in 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

Some of the longtime residents have cashed out on their unexpectedly profitable trailer park investments. Ted Silverberg, a former Paradise Cove lifeguard, lived in the park for almost 40 years, the outlet reported. He sold his trailer to a member of the Johnson & Johnson family for $2.4 million in 2019 and moved to Hawaii. The cove was not what it once was, he told the publication.

“It was paradise before it sold out.”

–– Kate Hinsche