Inside America’s Most Expensive Trailer Park, Where Mobile Homes Sell for Millions

April 12, 2023

“Welcome to my living room,” said actress Sarah Paulson as she led a tour for a magazine’s video crew producing a piece on her designer Malibu, Calif., home.

Dressed in an off-the-shoulder wool sweater, she detailed the home’s luxe finishes; the sea foam green marble countertops in the kitchen, the custom boho textiles, the imported European light fixtures, pink bathroom tiles that shimmer like sequins, and a double fridge and freezer designed to hold enough booze for entertaining. 

Signs welcome visitors to the Paradise Cove area of Malibu. PHOTO: ADAM AMENGUAL FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

They are design touches suitable for any of L.A.’s most glamorous homes. But they were in Ms. Paulson’s approximately 500-square-foot property in a trailer park.

Enter Paradise Cove Mobile Home Park, widely considered the most expensive trailer park in America. Home to 256 trailers and manufactured homes, it dates to the 1950s, when the then-owners allowed commercial fishermen to park campers there. Starting in the early 2000s, big names such as Stevie Nicks, Minnie Driver and Matthew McConaughey began buying up trailers, slowly turning the park into some of the hottest real estate in California

The draw is clear. The cove, as it is known by locals, sits on a bluff with panoramic views over the Pacific Ocean, with direct access to a secluded cove that is popular with local surfers. These are the same views that billionaires pay hundreds of millions to secure. Nearby, Edward H. Hamm Jr., a movie producer and heir to the Hamm’s Beer fortune, paid $91 million for a mansion; media mogul Byron Allen paid $100 million; venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and his wife, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, paid $177 million. Barbra Streisand’s enormous estate is perched on the edge of the same stretch of bluff as the park.


Meet the Neighbors

A series of mega-deals have recently closed near the park. From left to right: a $100 million home purchased by Byron Allen; a $177 million estate bought by Marc Andreessen and a $91 million house purchased by a prominent movie producer. FROM LEFT: ADRIAN ANZ; SCOTT FRANCES/SCOTT MITCHELL (DESIGNER)/OTTO; DANIEL TACCONELLI/SOTHEBY'S INTERNATIONAL REALTY

Today, the cove is a patchwork. Decades-old trailers that resemble banged-up tin cans that have been sitting in the California sun for close to half a century are snuggled up next to mobile homes that completely defy the traditional concept of a trailer. These multimillion-dollar beauties sport spacious gazebos and chic, designer finishes. There are exteriors designed by prominent architectural firms such as Marmol Radziner, known for revamping some of the most architecturally important homes in Los Angeles. Some of the wealthiest buyers have brought on high-end interior designers or used the design services of trendy, celebrity favorites such as One Kings Lane. The trailers are owned by celebs and other wealth-havers who use the cove as a beach-front refuge from their inland mansions. 

These buyers are driving prices in Paradise Cove way up, bolstered by low inventory and pandemic-induced demand for homes by the ocean, local agents said. Roughly 30 trailers have sold in the past three years for sums as high as around $5 million, according to listings website Zillow, though that figure doesn’t include a number that sold off market, real-estate agents said. In March, a three-bedroom mobile home came on the market for $5.85 million; if it sold for close to that amount, it would likely set a record for the cove, agents said. Agents point to the $5.3 million sale in 2016 of a mobile home owned by Ms. Nicks as the likely current record holder, but others noted that they had heard of off-market deals at up to $7 million.


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