How to buy a home in San Diego

May 09, 2019 - Sarah Lubeck

San Diego is a lot of things. It's beautiful (I mean, 70+ miles of coastline), it's diverse and we're hoping if you're still reading, that you believe it is a place where you can find a job at a really cool company.

But San Diego hasn't exactly earned a reputation as an affordable place, with median home prices in March topping $549K.  Yes, it's a bargain compared to scoring a home in Silicon Valley or a Park Avenue New York condo, but you're still going to be shelling out some major coin for your slice of the American - or San Diego - dream. San Diego Magazine did a little bit of research and found six more affordable options where you might be able to buy a home in San Diego.

And before you @ us on Twitter, we know affordability is in the eye of the beholder. But in the meantime, enjoy the article from SD Magazine on some cool places to check out if you want to buy a home in San Diego.

1. Mission Valley
Buying a Home in Mission Valley San Diego

What’s Here

Although it’s where all the big-box retailers and always-crowded Fashion Valley mall are, the neighborhood is suburban light—you can live in a manicured planned community and still be in a central location minutes from downtown. And as San Diego traffic worsens over time, investing in housing near the trolley isn’t a bad idea.

Why Now

Prices for townhouses and condos dipped slightly from 2018 to 2019, to a median sale price of $357,500. Plus, there’s a lot of new home construction happening, like the 230-acre master-planned community Civita.

What You Can Get

In Civita, brand-new homes are for sale in three subcommunities, with three-bedrooms ranging from $700,000 to $900,000. There’s a wide range of existing condos in Mission Valley, and they can cost anywhere from the low-$300,000s to high-$500,000s.

On the Horizon

You can see the construction at the Town and Country from the 8 freeway. It’s part of a $70 million plan to renovate the resort, which will have a 12-acre river park and 840 new residences when complete. Civita will have about 5,000 new houses, a retail center, and an office complex when it’s fully built out.

2. Escondido
Buying a Home in Escondido, San Diego

What’s Here

It’s the perfect blend of low-key suburban serenity and a little bit of downtown action. The historic district is a charmer, with vintage buildings, eclectic shops, galleries, and multicultural and family-owned eateries. Lakes, golf courses, wineries, breweries (hello, Stone!), and the California Center for the Arts, Escondido mean plenty of culture and outdoor adventure.

Why Now

You get more for your money, whether you’re a new homeowner or want to upgrade your lifestyle. But beware: Demand is increasing; prices have risen as high as 17 percent in the past year.

What You Can Get

Young families and millennials can find condos as low as $215,000 and townhomes in the mid-$300,000s. Single-family homes range from $400,000 to $3.4 million, depending if you want an entry-level home or a sprawling 10,000-square-foot estate. Midcentury modern bungalows, Craftsmans, and charming Victorians dot the old Escondido Historic District, ranging from $545,000 to $3.3 million.

On the Horizon

The former site of downtown’s Palomar Hospital is being rezoned for high-density apartments and for-sale condos, and two other modern apartment projects are in the pipeline, all just steps from the main drag that is Grand Avenue. The master-planned community of Harmony Grove continues to build out, offering families a rural feel close to the action downtown. Safari Highlands Ranch—Escondido’s largest development in decades, with 550 estate homes!—will be a sustainable, garden-to-table agri-neighborhood just northwest of San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

3. Oceanside

What’s Here

Oceanside is getting a new reputation for creativity—and cool places to show for it, like Dija Mara, Sea Hive Marketplace, and Oceanside Museum of Art. O’side is a diverse community, anchored by multigenerational residents, plus a wave of young entrepreneurs are setting up businesses and settling down to start families.

Why Now

A recent culinary renaissance has created “flip-flop fine dining”—a local term for high-caliber cuisine enjoyed with casual attitude and style. A significant price drop (almost 10 percent for single-family homes) in the central Oceanside area, from 2018 to 2019, makes the city even more appealing for buyers.

What You Can Get

There's everything from funky mobile homes around $100,000 or $220,000 to opulent oceanfront digs at $4.7 million. You can still find one-story ramblers and fixer-uppers, along with single-family modernized homes from about $600,000 to $1 million.

On the Horizon

Oceanside’s coastal highway corridor is seeing the largest beachfront development in the county in more than 20 years. Two boutique Hyatt hotel brands have broken ground and the iconic “Top Gunhouse” is being turned into a food vendor. For walkable downtown living, there’s Salt or the stunning 314 Beach Lofts, both on Cleveland Street. For a beachfront address, check out Pierside Apartments.

Find out what the three additional neighborhoods are in SD Magazine's article.

Want to buy a home in San Diego? You first need to get here. Check out our moving resources for more.

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Article and photos from SD Mag. Original Article by Marie Tutko and Ann Wycoff. Published April 25, 2019

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