Barbie ditches her Malibu dream house

Mattel says the famous doll will introduce a new dream house in 2013. But is it another desperate move from a struggling toymaker?

By Aimee Picchi Feb 7, 2013 4:32PM

Barbie's Malibu dream house (Mattel Inc.,'s ditching her life in Malibu after residing in the glitzy California seaside town since 1971. 

It may be a long overdue move. After all, there's something, well, dated about Malibu, which was a byword for California-style living in the 1970s and 1980s, inspiring a 1983 television movie starring Susan Dey of the 1970s sitcom "The Partridge Family" and the Malibu sedan from Chevrolet. 

Like Malibu's connotations, Barbie's also dealing with age. Sales of the iconic doll fell 4% in the fourth quarter, Mattel (MAT) said on Friday. That marked the third quarterly decline in 2012. 

Mattel and other toymakers are suffering from an economy that's still recovering from the recession and kids who increasingly would rather play "Angry Birds" on their parents' iPhones than with a physical toy.  

Barbie's home search is one way Mattel is trying to generate new interest in the doll. Millions of women who grew up playing with the Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse and Malibu Barbie might be interested to follow along as the doll searches for her new home, which hasn't yet been "found."

Mattel is combining virtual and real aspects in the doll's move. It's listed the fictional Malibu Dreamhouse for a whopping $25 million on real estate site Trulia (TRLA), where fans and the merely nosy can view photos of Barbie's "bachelorette compound" complete with pink "granite" countertops and heated pink "marble" flooring (the house's decorating theme is best described as "pink plastic").

So where is Barbie moving? Mattel plans to keep that under wraps until the fall, when it will announce her new dream house and release a new playset -- just in time for the holiday shopping season. 

Rather than asking consumers and fans to suggest locations for her new house, Mattel has tapped a team of designers to help make the decision.

The promotion isn't dissimilar to Hasbro's (HAS) efforts with Monopoly, with the toymaker creating some buzz for the venerable board game with a "Save Your Token" contest.

Fans from more than 185 countries participated in the Monopoly campaign, which asked people to vote on Facebook about which tokens to keep. In the end, the iron was booted and a new cat token will be introduced later this year. 

As for Barbie, her house will be listed by Josh Altman of Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles," who says he'll be happy to show her houses all over the world. 

According to the New York Times, Altman noted, "And Ken is fine with whatever she wants to do."

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Feb 7, 2013 6:15PM
Barbie used to be classy -- think Jackie O suits in the 60's.  But recently she's sporting tattoos and hootchie clothes.  Obviously her new dream home will be a Trailer.
Feb 7, 2013 5:09PM
Like everyone else Barbie is leaving Cali due to the taxes.
Feb 7, 2013 8:46PM

I miss the days when there were only a few Barbie's to choose from and you could buy the clothes separately. Now it seems like you have to buy a doll for each outfit.


We didn't have much money so my Barbie drove a shoebox and she had a water bed made from the plastic bag that they would put your Sunday papers in when it was raining. My Barbie dated my neighbors GI Joe and we'd take his Jeep!

Feb 7, 2013 10:29PM
The best approach would be to have multiple dream houses ... because every girl's dream is a bit different.  How about a Manhattan Barbie Condo, a Mom Barbie Suburban Home, a Country Barbie Ranch/Farm, a Seaside Barbie Townhome, and Snow Barbie Ski Chalet?  
Feb 7, 2013 7:58PM

Since Barbie's in her 50s, she needs a house on Cape Cod. 

Feb 8, 2013 3:23AM
How about a FANNIE-MAE Foreclosed Malibu Barbie Beach House ... complete with liens and legal documents?
Feb 7, 2013 9:34PM

Here's a taste of her profile:


Name: Barbie Mattel

Occupation: Socialite, Inheritance

Spouse: 1-Ken Mattel (divorced)

Age: 50ish

Children: None

Net Worth: ?


Anyway - as for the Malibu Dream House, seems things are hard-up for Barbs these days and she needs the money or else faces foreclosure from back taxes owed to the IRS. Wow - we all knew that Ken was a lazy no good bastard, but she wouldn't listen. Now she's paying for it literally with monthly alimony payments to guess who. It's all his fault!

Feb 7, 2013 5:58PM
Yeah because everybody dreams of an apartment!
Feb 8, 2013 3:07AM
She left Ken for a younger GI Joe ...
Feb 7, 2013 6:23PM
Good thing there is no Barbie dream house here in NJ because it would have been property taxed into extinction years (decade) ago!
Feb 8, 2013 12:08AM
Lets see Barbie was born kn 1959 so she is going on 54.  Well in 2014 whe she is 55 Barbie can find a retirement village and volunteer helping the elderly.  Or wait until 2024 and hope she will be eligble for SSI if its still around.  She should name her next home Barbie's Retiremtn Villa.
Feb 7, 2013 8:23PM

Maybe Barbie should move to China where all the jobs are. Maybe Dubai ?


Feb 7, 2013 5:49PM
It would be more realistic if she moved into an apartment
Feb 7, 2013 7:10PM
New house should have closets! Lots and lots of closets!!!
Feb 7, 2013 7:46PM

Barbie had great fashions and accessories when she first came out, then she went schlock, cheap and chintzy.

Now I wouldn't bother with her, she's not worth the surface giltz, and those houses never did stay together.

Feb 7, 2013 6:59PM
This is true.  My daughter begged and cried for a Barbie Doll house for her 6th birthday.  Now it sits forgotten in the corner while she plays games on our IPAD.  I've threaten to send it to Grandma so that she can share it with all her cousins and herself when we visit since Grandma doesn't have fast internet, to which she cries NO!  But still it forlornly.
Feb 7, 2013 7:57PM
If they would just spend less time fighting the children and join them. Make her dream house interactive with modern technology. Put a chip in Barbie, when she enters a room the lights come on and a real screen comes on, lord knows there's enough cell phone screens and smart phone tech to get the job done. ;)
Feb 8, 2013 3:15AM
It is time for an anatomically correct Barbie ...
Feb 8, 2013 3:05AM
Barbie let herself go, put on weight, started to drink, her face has become wrinkled and less elastic, her boobs began to sag and hair has become brittle ... Ken dumped her sorry old pathetic patoot for a younger model ... The good news is ... Barbie and her lawyer a very happy as they took old Ken for everything he has.
Feb 8, 2013 3:02AM
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