Balboa Island: Quintessential Seaside Living in the Heart of Newport Harbor

Balboa Island

Boundaries: Located just off of Pacific Coast Highway, Balboa Island is accessible one of two ways. You can access the island either by taking Jamboree Road via a two-lane bridge or you can take a 3-minute ferryboat, the Balboa Auto Ferry, which provides access across the harbor from the Balboa Peninsula.

History: Balboa Island is a man-made island and began taking shape in 1908 when William Collins was given permission to pile sand and silt on the existing mud flats. Waterfront lots were originally offered at $350 to $750 and some were even sold for as low as $25! However, it wasn’t until 1920 that utilities came to the island and more homes were built and the island’s population increased. The island area actually consists of 3 separate islands. The main island is Balboa Island, to the east is Little Balboa Island, and to the west is Collins Island.

Homes: There are approximately 1,430 parcels and 2,226 dwelling units. Approximately forty-five percent of these are single-family homes and the rest are duplexes. Almost all of the lots are 30-feet by 85-feet (2550 square feet total). The Balboa Island Improvement Association started in 1918 and still exists today. Island residents have a lot of pride in their community and organize and celebrate many festivals and parades throughout the year.

Style: Numerous owners have remodeled their original homes or have completely restructured their properties. There are many varied, eclectic styles of homes on the island, however, the majority of homes on the island are traditional ‘island’ style or clapboard Cape Cod style. There are still some original cottages on the island dating back to the early 1900’s.

Recent Sales: Since January 2009, there have been 19 sales on Balboa Island and the Little Island. The sales prices range from $1,300,000 for a 2-bed/2-bath cottage on an interior street to $5,030,000 for a 3-bed/4-bath home on the south bayfront.

Now Listed: At this time, there are 32 homes officially listed for sale on Balboa Island, Little Island and Collins Island in the MLS. They range in offer price from $1,095,000 to $10,900,000. In addition, there are currently 8 homes in escrow.

Source: Renee West of Prudential California Realty, 3301 E. Coast Highway, Corona del Mar. She can easily be reached at her office at (949) 566-1127 or on her cell phone at (714) 914-9060. Please visit her website at

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