The listing’s real estate agent says the 10,000-square-foot mansion “burned to a crisp” in the coastal fire was “a sign away” from being sold. Now, that deal is literally up in smoke.
The unidentified owner, who has another home in Canada, watched helplessly from overseas as security cameras showed the fire approaching and eventually killing the home.
The mansion, listed for just under $10 million, was perhaps the most priceless of the 66 homes in the gated, ridgetop Coronado Point neighborhood with ocean views.
Fire officials said 11 homes were damaged and 20 were destroyed by the fast-moving wildfire in the Laguna Niguel neighborhood, west of Crown Valley Parkway.
Fire-damaged homes along Coronado Point ranged in price from $2.85 million to $9.61 million, and averaged less than $4 million, according to the most recent Zillow “Gestimates” of home values. The mansion on the cul-de-sac at the north end of the block was listed for sale for just under $9.9 million.
Most of the homes ranged from 4,000 to over 6,000 square feet. It’s impossible to find homes of that size for those prices in nearby Laguna Beach.
“It’s a very exclusive neighborhood,” said Newport Beach real estate agent Leo Goldswartz, … “It’s an under-the-wire, luxury community that’s little-known.”
ruined future plans
According to news clippings, the original gated, one-street community of Coronado Point dates back to the late 1980s, when a partnership called Coronado Point LP began construction. Most of the homes were built by the original developer, but six custom homes at the north end were built later.
The custom-built mansion at the north end of the block was the crown jewel of Coronado Point, with an elegant motor court in front, twin wings overlooking the canyon and a curved back wall overlooking the pool, a golf course, and Aliso Beach. distance. The home was built in 1999, designed by a French architect with feng shui sensibility, Goldswartz said.
“It’s a very special property. You can’t copy that house,” said the agent, who works for Compass Real Estate. “The house had separate wings. The adults moved to one side, the children to the other.” Gone. … It was like a palace. The house was a really beautiful house. The finishes were impressive.”
Goldswartz said that would-be buyers are devastated. He had plans to do an extensive remodel. A custom home next door that was also badly damaged by fire recently completed an extensive remodel.
The mansion was insured, Goldswartz said, but fire insurance is becoming increasingly difficult and more expensive as global warming and drought increase the risk of wildfires in California.
“I do a lot of business here on the coast, and for the past three years, it’s been hard for a lot of my clients to get insurance,” he said.
get out of the danger zone
Insurance payments have increased dramatically: Between 2011 and 2018, insurers paid nearly $4 billion annually to cover wildfire damages, but most recently paid homeowners during the fire season. This has resulted in $26 billion in paid claims, UC Berkeley researchers found in a study published last year. More than 1 in 12 California homes are located in fire hazard areas, and current California regulations allow more than half a million new homes to be built in these areas.
The UC Berkeley study concluded that the state should change its policies to allow owners to rebuild their homes after wildfires.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that American International Group Inc. and Chubb Ltd. were exiting California’s regulated fire insurance market and offering policies in high-cost spare and surplus lines.
Other insurance companies toppled thousands of California homeowners in rural areas and other fire-prone parts of California after the massive wildfires of 2017-18 in Santa Rosa, Paradise and Ventura counties, although this trend has been on the rise recently. has decreased to some extent.
“We have seen an increase in non-renewals by insurance companies following the 2017 and 2018 wildfires, but there have been some positive signs recently,” said state deputy insurance commissioner Michael Soler. “In our latest figures, non-renovations fell by 10%, meaning about 22,000 fewer homes were not renovated in 2020 compared to 2019.
Discounts have been offered to homeowners to reduce their home’s wildfire risk through measures such as using non-combustible materials and removing flammable brush and vegetation from around the home.
“The new state rules will require insurance companies to recognize the wildfire protection actions that homeowners take in their pricing,” Soler said. “If you work hard to make your home safe, you should see the reward.”
In addition to discount pricing incentives, Soler said California’s “protected from wildfire” insurance framework is intended to create transparency in insurance companies’ wildfire risk scores that are used to evaluate risk.
“Most homeowners don’t know there is a score that ranks their risk,” Soler said. “It would require providing those scores. If you’ve added a fire-resistant roof or dual-pane windows, that score needs to reflect that.”
Soler said he expects the new rules to go into effect this summer. Insurance commissioner Ricardo Lara has also sponsored legislation to strengthen consumer protections for wildfire survivors and evacuees.
Providing advance payment of claims without a detailed list of protections, at least two weeks of additional living expenses to cover mandatory evacuation costs, increased payments for total loss if you choose to relocate rather than rebuild, and disaster Includes providing additional insurance for survivors. Rebuild to cover updated building codes.
Solar suggests that home buyers should keep in mind the insurance cost of the property during the purchase process. Fire survivors can contact the Insurance Department if they have questions about their policies or filing a claim by calling 800-927-4357 or visiting bit.ly/calinsurancehelp.
SCNG art director Jeff Goertzen and Bay Area News Group contributed to this report.