Join us on this edition of Market Focus as we head down to sunny San Diego! Home to around 1.4 million residents, San Diego is the second largest city and third largest metro area in California, located 20 miles north of the Mexican border along the Pacific Coast. The city features 70 miles of public beaches and exciting attractions, however the best part of living here is the weather! If 265 days of sunshine and a year-round Mediterranean-style climate doesn’t make you want to start packing your bags, we’re not sure what will!
For an apartment that is centrally located in the city, you can expect to pay about $2,600-$4,000 per month for a two-bedroom unit. Rent usually does not include utilities/water so expect to pay extra each month for these.
There is stiff competition for properties and the market moves very quickly. Approximately 80% of listings are for immediate move in while the other 20% are within 30 days. Because of the high demand in the city it’s rare to see listings past 30 days, except for bigger apartment complexes. The San Diego rental market is in the top 10 most expensive markets in the US.
When you move also has a huge impact on listings available. Summer is a peak moving time while winter slows a bit, so make sure you take that into consideration.
Expect to pay $2,500-$6,000 (or more) for a home in the suburbs.
Where to Live
Carmel Valley and other coastal communities are incredibly popular for the better school districts and the beach lifestyle. Most people looking to move to this area should look at schools first and then find a neighborhood that works best for them in the district. These coastal communities tend to have a higher percentage of great schools. 1 bedroom units generally start around $2,000. 2-3 bedrooms will run from $2,400-$3,000 and up.
Upscale coastal cities like Carlsbad and Del Mar Mesa are more on the expensive side but are great options. Both are known for the beaches, food and drink scene, and luxury homes. Many families reside in Carlsbad and Del Mar because of the highly-rated school districts and suburban feel. 2 bedroom homes in these areas will run from $2,200 up, and 3+ bedroom homes will run from $2500 to $6,000+.
Solana Beach is a popular suburb of San Diego know for for its restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. It has a mix of young professionals and retirees, and there’s something nearby for everyone to enjoy. 1 bedrooms will start around $1,900, 2-3 beds around $2,400-$4,500+.
For great schooling and a more desirable cost of living, Santee is another great choice for families. It’s conveniently located only 9 miles from downtown San Diego. 2 bedrooms start around $1,700, 3 bedroom homes start around $2,700.
Tips for RMCs, HR & Assignees
Many companies and assignees may not realize how competitive the area is, so it is important to plan accordingly! Assignees should be prepared to make a decision quickly to minimize the risk of losing a property. It’s best to host home finding trips within 30 days of the final arrival since the market moves so quickly.
Due to its magnificent, year-round weather and a seemingly endless amount of things to do, rental prices in San Diego can be pricey when compared to other US cities. Be open to other neighborhoods to reduce costs even more, and remember that lower prices are often found further from the beaches.
While “America’s Finest City” may not be as densely populated as New York or San Francisco, a major consideration for assignees when moving should still be parking. Depending on your neighborhood, assignees can be surprised that the parking situation can be quite difficult in San Diego. You’ll need to consider not only the traffic, but also how you’ll be parking both in your home neighborhood as well as the office when commuting to work.
Local Insights for Assignees
San Diego is home to endless attractions. From a bustling nightlife scene with world-renowned restaurants to beautiful parks and beaches, it’s impossible to be bored!
One of the city’s most-visited attractions is the world-famous San Diego Zoo. The wildlife conservation center and safari park houses over 3,500 animals. It can be found in Balboa Park, a massive urban park often considered the “Smithsonian of the West”, which also has museums, theaters, gardens, and more to explore.
Gaslamp Quarter is considered the city’s dining, entertainment, and urban shopping district. Younger crowds are drawn to the clubs, cocktail lounges and dive bars, while the Spreckels and Balboa theaters have diverse programs of music, comedy, and drama.
San Diego has over 70 miles of public ocean beaches, so visiting the beach is a must! Whether you’re looking to swim, surf, kayak, paraglide, snorkel, scuba dive, or sunbathe (or all of the above!), there are several beaches to explore and enjoy. La Jolla and Coronado Island are two popular destinations with impressive restaurants and bars nearby, Pacific Beach is ideal for long strolls and family activities, and Ocean Beach is one of the more popular pet-friendly beaches and fishing destinations. You really can’t go wrong with any of the beaches around San Diego.
Disneyland in Anaheim is another popular destination for tourists and locals alike. It’s a bit of a drive – almost two hours each way from San Diego – but the famous amusement parks inspired by Walt Disney and his cartoon creations are worth it!
Though San Diegans won’t agree upon who makes them best, most will agree that this city is home to the world’s best fish tacos. Access to incredibly fresh seafood, along with being the gateway to Baja California, the San Diego Fish Taco is so tasty it can be a religious experience. To get you pointed in the right direction, try Brigantine in Del Mar or Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill in Mission Hills. Actually… we’re getting hungry now, so that’s where we’re headed!