San Diego’s 9 Best Beach Towns to Buy a Home in 2023 | 2024

San Diego’s 9 Best Beach Towns to Buy a Home

The beach is everything in southern California. A little sand in your shoes is no big deal; it lets you know you live near some spectacular natural scenery. San Diego County is blessed with 70 miles of coastline and some of the best beaches on the Pacific Coast. Towns and cities dot the shoreline and contribute to a beach lifestyle that many enjoy following.

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The natural beauty is sufficient to make somebody move in and settle down in one of these municipalities. It’s a good idea for the right person. We intend to tell you in this article about the best towns where you can have your beach and enjoy it, too.

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Sun of a Beach!!!

No one in southern California must be told the importance a stretch of sand on a sunny day has for a person’s attitude. The coves and caves along the Pacific Ocean are places of peace and quiet that are far from the madding crowd. The serene sound of waves coming in lightens the soul and calms the mind. Those are primary reasons why living close to the water is the perfect dream for many.

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We don’t suggest building a shack near the incoming tide. It really isn’t a good idea and the local zoning commissions would agree. You can buy a house in a beach town and be within walking distance of the shore, and that would be perfect. Here are what we believe are the best locations close to the water. All figures mentioned are as of this writing and the towns will be in alphabetical order instead of being ranked.

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Here's a quick rundown of our list:

Carlsbad

San Diego’s 9 Best Beach Towns to Buy a Home - Carlsbad

Population: 114,523. Median Household Income: $110,478. Median Home Sales Prices: $1,210,000

Carlsbad gets high marks from Niche.com. It is a major tourist city, and the golf manufacturing industry is the reason why Carlsbad is known as “Titanium Valley”.

Carlsbad is ranked #4 in Cities with the Best Public Schools in America. It is also #5 in Best Suburbs to Live in the San Diego Area.

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The city’s workforce is 90% white-collar. About 15% of Carlsbad employees are self-employed, 69% work in private companies, close to 10% work in the public sector, and 5% are in not-for-profit organizations.

Redfin.com rates the housing market as Very Competitive and average homes are sold within 10 days of being on the market.

Coronado

San Diego’s 9 Best Beach Towns to Buy a Home - Coronado

Population: 23,639. Median Household Income: $108,967. Median Home Sales Price: $2,400,000

Coronado ranks #3 in Best Suburbs to Live in the San Diego Area. The isthmus that connects this tombolo to the mainland is called the Silver Strand. The Hotel Del Coronado is one of the world’s top resorts and is listed as a National Historic Landmark. Tourism is a major industry.

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About 92% of the working population of Coronado are white-collar employees. 20% of workers are self-employed, 49% work for private employers, almost 22% are in government jobs, and 9% work for not-for-profit companies.

 Refin.com rates the housing market as Very Competitive and average homes are sold within 14 days of being on the market.

Del Mar

San Diego’s 9 Best Beach Towns to Buy a Home - Del Mar

Population: 4,331. Median House Income: $129,063. Median Home Sales Price: $1,925,000

Del Mar is ranked #1 in Best Suburbs to Raise a Family in San Diego Area. It also ranks #3 in Suburbs with the Best Public Schools in California and #5 in Best Places to Retire in California. If you think this is not a beach town its name, meaning “by the sea”, should convince you otherwise. The Del Mar Horse Races are run annually on the Del Mar racetrack. The San Diego County Fair also takes place here.

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Roughly 90% of employed people are in white-collar jobs. 38% are self-employed, 52% work on private companies, 6% are government employees and 3% work in not-for-profit organizations

Redfin.com rates the housing as Somewhat Competitive and average homes are sold within 20 days of being on the market.

Encinitas

San Diego’s 9 Best Beach Towns to Buy a Home - Encinitas

Population: 62,780    Median Household Income: $116, 022 Median Home Sales Prices: $1,592,500

Encinitas is ranked #4 in Best Suburbs to Live in the San Diego Area. The “Surfing Madonna” mosaic is located here and the Magic Carpet Rode statue. There is a fair amount of culture in Encinitas and the Encinitas Ballet, the Lux Art Institute, and the San Dieguito Museum are part of the scene.

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Approximately 92% of employed residents are in white-collar jobs. Self-employed workers comprise nearly 21% of self-employed, 59% work for private employers, 12% for government, and about 8% are working in not-for-profit organizations.

Redfin.com rates the housing market as Very Competitive and average homes are sold within 10 days of being on the market.

Imperial Beach

San Diego’s 9 Best Beach Towns to Buy a Home - Imperial Beach

Population: 27,315. Median Household Income. $53,690.Median Home Sales Price: $870,000.

Imperial Beach is well known for surfing, dude. The town’s Boca Rio beach is considered the second-best surfing location in the county. You can read about the role Imperial Beach played in surfing USA from the Pier Plaza plaques on surfboard benches. This is the home of the U.S. Open Sandcastle competition. Honestly, you cannot get more “beach” conscious anywhere else.

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75% of working people are in white-collar jobs. 10% of all workers are self-employed, 69% are wage earners in private companies, 18% work for the government, and 3% are in the not-for-profit arena.

Redfin.com rates the housing market as Very Competitive and the average homes are sold within 15 days of being on the market. 

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La Jolla

San Diego’s 9 Best Beach Towns to Buy a Home - La Jolla

Population: 32,486. Median Household Income: $140,204. Median Home Sales Price: $1,500,000.

La Jolla occupies about 7 miles of California coast and is about 12 miles north of the city of San Diego. It has a good sense of community even though the cost of housing is admittedly high for many. The city is ranked the 6th Best Neighborhood to Live in the San Diego Area. GreatSchools.com gives La Jolla a score of 9 out of 10 for academic standings.

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 It is a white-collar town where over 90% of employed people are in white collar occupations. Approximately 23% are self-employed, 51% work for private companies, nearly 15% work for private companies and about 11% are employed by not-for-profit establishments.

Redfin.com rates the housing market as Somewhat Competitive and average homes are sold within 12 days of being on the market.

Oceanside

San Diego’s 9 Best Beach Towns to Buy a Home - Oceanside

Population: 175,622. Median Household Income: $72,697. Median Home Sales Price: $713, 750

If you think beach towns are small communities, you are mistaken. Oceanside is a good-sized suburb of San Diego and is the third largest city in San Diego County. It is part of a tri-city that also includes Carlsbad and Vista. Oceanside happens to the where the Supergirl Pro Jam, the world’s largest women’s surf competition, is held. The Marine Corps Base Camp at Pendleton is not far away. Public Schools are rated above average.

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White-collar jobs are the occupation of 80% of the workforce. Nearly 12% are self-employed, 69% work for private companies, about 13% work for the government, and 6% are employed by not-for-profit companies.

Redfin.com rates the housing market as Very Competitive and average homes are sold within 10 days of being on the market.

Solana Beach

San Diego’s 9 Best Beach Towns to Buy a Home - Solana Beach

Population: 13,356. Median Household Income: 108,118. Median Home Sales Price: $1,500,000

Solana Beach is ranked #1 in Best Suburbs to Live in the San Diego Area. The homes are ranked among the most expensive in the United States. The Cedros Design District has over 985 art galleries, antique stores, boutiques, and cafes, making this a shop-till-you-drop town. Nisus Software is headquartered here.

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White-collar jobs employ 93% of the workforce. Approximately 19% are self-employed, 64% work in private companies, 8% for government and roughly 9% work in not-for-profit companies.

Redfin.com rates the housing market as Very Competitive and houses are sold within 14 days of being on the market.

Special Consideration

Ocean Beach

San Diego’s 9 Best Beach Towns to Buy a Home - Ocean Beach

Population: 19,698. Median House Income: $91,478. Median Home Sales Price:$1,105,000.

Ocean Beach is not a town but a community within San Diego. It might as well be a town and we think that it merits attention. People who live in Ocean Beach consider themselves “OBecians” and Ocean Beach is not just a neighborhood but a state of mind, too (just ask the neighbors). The waterfront has a special place in its heart for canine members of the family and Dog Beach is a 24/7 place for leash-free dogs. Ocean Beach is also known for the Ocean Beach Street Fair and Chili Cookoff. You won’t find many chain stores establishments because the natives don’t like them.

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90% of the wage earners here are white-collar employees. Approximately 14% are self-employed, 65% work for private companies, 11% are government employees, and a little over 8% work for not-for-profit organizations.

Redfin.com rates the housing market as Somewhat Competitive and houses are sold within 10 days of being on the market.

Honorable Mention: Beach Neighborhoods

We want to include some other neighborhood/communities that are part of San Diego itself and are beside the deep blue ocean. They are:

You can look at these if you are concentrating only on the city of San Diego.

Never Buy Solo

You probably want to hop in the car, pop a Beach Boys CD in the CD player, and go on your own surfing safari after reading about these beach towns. That’s a great idea but remember that you are not looking for the perfect wave. There is a greater goal in this quest.

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You are looking for a home to call your own. A place where you can perhaps raise a family and get on with the rest of your life. There are a lot of properties along the coast and not all of them are outrageously expensive. Nevertheless, if you are a first-time buyer then you should not enter the real estate market alone. It is a forest of terms and conditions that a lay person will have trouble understanding. Real estate at its core is a process of negotiating. Anyone who tries to buy property alone can be quickly outmaneuvered by a seller. It may result in you paying hundreds of thousands of dollars and discovering that the house needs extensive repair work. You could be stuck with additional costs you did not budget for in the first place.

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We urge you to seek out a good real estate agent in your search for a house. Preferably, it will be someone who has good experience with the local real estate market. That professional who knows the territory can steer you in the right direction. Buying tactics such as getting loan pre-approvals, negotiating payment of existing utility budgets, and deciding who assumes responsibility for various repairs can be discussed with the agent. Incidentally, the agent is ethically bound to work in your best interests and any agent who does not do that is in serious trouble.

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We can help you out. We are a real estate agency doing business in San Diego and we have worked in this area for years. We definitely know the territory! Whatever beach town you have set your heart on, we can do the research to find the property and the neighborhood that matches your lifestyle. There is another service we provide that many real estate agencies do not do at all.

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We can help folks find the right financing, which is critical when dealing with high price property. That added service is going to help as you venture into the Very Competitive communities.

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Do not let the cost deter you from achieving your oceanside dream. You can afford it if you prepared for it and are willing to accept the price. The property you buy will appreciate in value, and its resale price might be substantially more than you originally paid. You know, it is possible that in a few years you could sell the house and buy another one that is even better and near the beach.

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Are you interested in what we can do for you? Let’s talk! Please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience. We could tell you more, but the surf is up, and we are out to catch the perfect wave. We promise you will get the perfect property with our help.

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I would love to help assist you with your home purchase, home sale, or home loan - please feel free to give me a call, text, or use the form below. 

Your Beach Lovin' Insider,

Scott

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