Real Estate

Few coastal neighborhoods in Southern California are as exclusive as Harbor Island in Newport Beach. For starters, there are just 30 homes on the small, semi-artificial island in Orange County’s Newport Bay. The island is defined by its ultrawealthy residents and bayfront setting.

One example: A three-bedroom home at 11 Harbor Island Road for sale that features a long yard to the water’s edge as well as a boat slip big enough to accommodate a 57-foot yacht, plus side ties for two smaller boats. Built in 1950, the 8,250-square-foot three-bedroom home has been renovated with a new kitchen, pipes and flooring.

It’s on the market for $13.9 million.

Inside the house, views of the water abound. The main level has an open-plan design with a living room that gives way to a large dining area and nearby kitchen. Two bedrooms are located on the main level; the primary bedroom with en-suite bathroom is located on the upper level.

“It is a location that is about building your legacy, and it has a privacy you don’t get anywhere else on the bay,” says listing agent AJ Olson Whitfield with Newport Beach brokerage EQTY. The island is a gated community with 24-hour guards and off-limits to nonresidents.

Harbor Island residents have included Donald Bren, chairman of the Irvine Company real estate development corporation, with a net worth of $17.4 billion, according to the Forbes Billionaire List; and real estate investor and former United States diplomat George Argyros.

The neighborhood is one of a handful of residential islands in Newport Harbor; others include Bay Island, Little Balboa Island and Lido Isle. The island was created during dredging in the early 1900s. Homes here were built in the 1940s and 1950s, capitalizing on the allure of the waterfront and the harbor.

Properties in the community tend to be as exclusive as its residents, and sales are something a rarity due to limited supply. Transactions over the last five years include the 2020 sale of a contemporary-style home with 134 feet of linear water frontage for $17.68 million and a $25-million deal in 2018 for a traditional-style home on a roomy waterfront lot of more than 10,000 square feet, according to the Multiple Listing Service records.

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