San Diego’s 10 Most Affordable Neighborhoods in 2022 | 2023

House prices and mortgage interest rates in San Diego are rising. It does not look as if this one-two punch to a house buyer’s wallet will change for the better anytime soon. We wanted to give you that unwelcome news upfront because we think there is every reason to remain optimistic about buying a home in San Diego County.

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Yes, there are indeed some very expensive neighborhoods in the county. They can command median prices of $1.5 million or more, which is a lot for any consumer to handle. However, if you are willing to make a few lifestyle adjustments, you may discover that homes are more affordable than you imagined.

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We mean living a few extra miles from the beach or someplace where you will not find trendy restaurants or nightclubs. Parents raising a family will often settle for a very quiet community that does not have a nightlife but does offer solid education for children. There are some very affordable neighborhoods in San Diego if you are willing to make a few trade-offs.

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We want to introduce you to these house buying opportunities, which may be a short distance from where you are currently living. The neighborhoods are in alphabetical order. All statistics quoted in this article are as of this writing.

Here’s a quick rundown of our list:

1) Chula Vista

Chula Vista gets good grades for exceptional public schools and the nightlife of this little community. In addition, there is wide diversity in its population.

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If you are looking for a small-town atmosphere, Chula Vista is the wrong place. It is the second-largest city in the San Diego SMSA (Care to guess the largest city?). Being larger means there is more to do, and you will not be disappointed. The city embraces Mother Nature with a bear hug. The Chula Vista Nature Center, Chula Vista Marina, Aquatica San Diego, and the Otay Valley Regional Park are where you can find all kinds of marine life and perhaps do a little fishing. The population of Chula Vista is 268,778 people. The residents own 60% of the housing units, and the average household income is $105,155.

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2) Linda Vista

It is where the University of San Diego is located, which qualifies Linda Vista as a college town. Niche.com ranks it as #4 in the Most Diverse Neighborhoods in San Diego category. College proximity adds a bit of excitement to the nightlife, and Linda Vista is fun when the sun goes down.

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The population is 9,963, and this is a white-collar town with roughly 90% of employed residents having white-collar occupations. The average household income is $140,388. Housing is about evenly split between those who own their housing units and those who rent. Tecolote Canyon is an urban park where you can chill out, and Linda Vista Skatepark is a great place to relax. K Sandwiches is a must-visit place if you are hungry.

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3) Lemon Grove

This little San Diego community is home to the World’s Biggest Lemon. It is a 3,000 lb. sculpture near the Orange Line Trolley and has been the town’s center piece for decades. An unusual pass time in Lemon Grove is whale watching and tours are available every day.

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Davey’s Locker is the whale watching tour you want to be on. Lemon Grove has 26,739 residents and 52% of the household units are owned by those who live in them. The average household income is $76,011.

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4) Mission Valley

If you are looking for a great neighborhood for families with excellent schools and reasonably priced, then Mission Valley is worth your attention. Niche.com considers it the #7 Best Neighborhoods for Young Professionals in San Diego. It gets excellent reviews from its residents and has a great diversity mix.

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If you are a shopaholic, you will love Mission Valley. Fashion Valley, Hazard Center Mall, and Westfield Mission Valley are all located here. Those who love history will enjoy walking in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, Presidio Park, and the Mission San Diego de Alcala. All three are on the National Register of Historic Places. 

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Mission Valley boasts of being in the middle of it all. The San Diego Zoo is not far away, and Snapdragon Stadium, the football venue of the University of San Diego, is just around the corner (It will open for the 2022 season.). If you want the ride of your life, check out Belmont Park, an ocean-front amusement park. Mission Valley has about 31,911 people with a median household income of $90,192.

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5) National City

A salute to the automobile is the National City Mile of Cars, one of the original auto malls. The National City Automobile Heritage Day Car Show is an event that celebrates classic and muscle autos. The San Diego Pretzel Company offers visitors a class on making your own pretzels, and Pier 32 Marina is a beautiful place to go and just chill. The kids will love the Stein Family Farm.

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National City has 61,3432 inhabitants, and about one-third of the housing units are owner-occupied. Average household income is $64,676

Quick Facts:

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6) Poway

AKA “The City in the Country.” Poway was unincorporated until December 1, 1980 and takes immense pride in its country roots. The average household income is $147,926, and owners occupy approximately 79% of all housing units. Poway has 49,780 residents

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Niche.com gives this community an overall grade of A- and it is #7 on Niche.com’s Best Suburbs to Live in the San Diego Area. The schools that provide service for this town are the primary reason for Poway’s high ranking. It is a very peaceful and quiet suburb and is about 30 minutes from the nearest beach.

Quick Facts:

7) Rancho Bernardo

Niche.com gives this neighborhood high marks for public schools and diversity, and it is a wonderful place to raise a family. Overall, Rancho Bernado is ranked #11 on the Niche.com list of Best Neighborhoods to Live in San Diego.

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Rancho Bernado is a master-planned community in the northern hills. It is the home of the oldest-operating winery in San Diego, the Bernado Winery, and is the corporate headquarters of Sony Electronics, Inc. Some places ought to be on your bucket list for the family in the area. These include the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the Rancho Bernado Historical Museum, and Double Peak Park. Rancho Bernado is a community of 41,907 people. Residents own two-thirds of the housing units here, and the average household income is 4155,079. It is a well-educated neighborhood, and about 83 % of the residents have at least some college education.

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8) Santee

Santee gets good grades from Niche.com for the public schools that serve the community and the diversity of the residents. It is a good place for kids and has excellent amenities that make it an attractive pace to set down roots. Santee has a fantastic cultural vibe, and the town sponsors a 10-week series of free concerts in the summer. Autumn is the time for the Santee Wine and Bluegrass Festival, and you do not want to miss that!

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Some other family activities include the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve, the Creation and Earth History Museum, and the Santee Drive-in Theater (Yes, they still have those. The drive-in is open 365 days a year! Santee has 57,407 inhabitants, and the residents own 71% of the housing units. Average household income is $99,223.

Quick Facts:

9) Serra Mesa

Named for Saint Junipero Serra, this San Diego community is the Ruffin Canyon Open Space Preserve home, an 84-acre space that runs north and south along Serra Mesa. It has a population of 34,103, and the average household income is about $109,851. This is more of a renter community, and 40 % of all housing units are occupied by the owners.

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There are some neat things to do that are close by. Legoland is a great family place, and the San Diego Zoo is within easy driving distance. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a desert location with hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails for you to explore.

Quick Facts:

10) Scripps Miramar Ranch

The residents enjoy Scripps Miramar Ranch. It has quick access to the freeway (Very Important in San Diego County!) and is close to everything you could possibly need. The community has good schools and is a fantastic place for families to thrive.

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It is a hiker’s paradise. Mount Woodson Trail is 7.6 miles long and features Potato Chip Rock. Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve is close by, and Lake Miramar has trails around a man-made reservoir. If your throat is parched after hiking, you are in luck! Scripps Miramar Ranch is the home of several craft breweries.

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There are 34,922 citizens of Scripps Miramar Ranch. 78% own their housing units, and the average household income is $168,712. Roughly two-thirds of the people have a baccalaureate or graduate degree.

Quick Facts:

Time is of the Essence!

There are affordable homes in San Diego County, but that does come with a cautionary note.

Look again at the median days on the market. That number is 10 days or below, and here is something to think about: the most desirable dwellings can be on the market for only 6 days in some cases. If you want to get a low-cost home in San Diego County, you must be able to move quickly. Do not wonder where the competition is; those people are right behind you, and they are gaining fast!

Own a home in San Diego and you want to get a personalized home valuation for it to see how much you can walk away in profit in this exciting market? See Now ›

We are saying that you must be ready to make an offer within perhaps two or three days. You will need to do the finance shopping before you start looking.

A preapproval letter helps. It is a document that lenders issue that will determine the amount of mortgage loan you could be approved for and what might be your mortgage interest rate. It will require information about your income, credit score, and assets.

Do you own a home in San Diego and want a fast, free, and automated home valuation in 30 seconds or less? Get One Now ›

We can help you look for the money.

We are more than just a real estate agency in San Diego. We are also a licensed mortgage loan originator. So, we have the expertise to help you find the right mortgage at the most affordable interest rates.

We know the financial institutions in San Diego County as well as we know the neighborhoods. We will gladly sit down with you and determine an affordable price range and the best interest rates for your budget while working as a team. You can depend on us to identify those lending institutions that are the best to work with and most willing to loan you the needed cash.

We propose that you contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about our services. It is easy to arrange a conference and we would welcome the opportunity to talk with you. We think you will discover that what we have to offer are the best services in the area and you will enjoy working with us.

☎ 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 San Diego Insider, 

Scott

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4356 Properties
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$1,499,000
Neighborhood: Rubaiyat Estates
5
Beds
3
Baths
3,333
Sq.Ft.
1975
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016458
MLS
Here is your chance to purchase this rarely available home located in a quiet cul de sac in the Historical Escondido neighborhood. Enjoy the 180* views of Hidden Valley, year-round sunsets, city...
2
Beds
1
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268
Sq.Ft.
1956
Year Built
1
Day on Site
305477785
MLS
39 acres of beautiful land with fruit trees, 2 water wells, electricity and spectacular views. It is located Near the Pacific Crest Trail starting point, the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and a 45...
4
Beds
2F11/2
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1,911
Sq.Ft.
2000
Year Built
1
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Home is located in the Eastlake Trails community just steps away from Arroyo Vista Elementary School, middle and high schools just minutes away, all award winning schools! This 4 bedroom 2 1/2 bath...
4
Beds
3
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2,657
Sq.Ft.
1992
Year Built
1
Day on Site
305482330
MLS
Meticulously maintained POOL AND VIEW HOME in desirable Rancho Del Oro area. You enter to the various angled ceilings, walls with display shelves, and large windows which give way to panoramic east...
3
Beds
2
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1,328
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1984
Year Built
1
Day on Site
305483516
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Beautifully remodeled throughout, this stunning Single Story Carlsbad residence offers a show-stopping list of updates that has transformed it into a modern haven that's sure to delight! Upon...
$1,749,000
Neighborhood: Vineland Hills
5
Beds
3
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2,838
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1980
Year Built
1
Day on Site
305484084
MLS
Lovely North Poway SINGLE LEVEL home with 3 CAR GARAGE sited on approx. 1/3 acre CUL-DE-SAC lot with PANORAMIC VIEW overlooking Lomas Verdes, Bernardo Winery & beyond to Palomar Mtn. GREAT ROOM...
Open 7/1
16089 Caminito De Las Noches San Diego, CA 92128
3
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
1,554
Sq.Ft.
1989
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220015408
MLS
Welcome home to this stunning twinhome in the sought-after Tierra Del Sol complex in Bernardo Heights! Set at the end of a cul-de-sac, this turnkey home is beautifully maintained, and feels more like...
2
Beds
2
Baths
907
Sq.Ft.
1987
Year Built
1
Day on Site
305461143
MLS
Serene Living in Stony Brook II! This unit has lots of "new" features!! NEW paint, NEW waterproof vinyl flooring, NEW white baseboards, NEW Ceilings,(Popcorn being removed 6/27/22 week), NEW GE...
2
Beds
2F11/2
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1,881
Sq.Ft.
1988
Year Built
1
Day on Site
305463072
MLS
Here is the townhome you have been waiting for - An Architectural Contemporary Townhome in the highly desirable UTC area, it is an Ideal location. Easy access and walking distance to the Westfield...
Open 6/28
7989 Kathryn Crosby Ct San Diego, CA 92127
$2,995,000
Neighborhood: Crosby
5
Beds
4F21/2
Baths
4,418
Sq.Ft.
2006
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016460
MLS
Welcome to this single level immaculately kept home, located behind the guarded gates of The Crosby in Rancho Santa Fe. Walk through the villa like courtyard and you will find a guest casita upon...
Open 7/1
9624 Blossom Ridge Way El Cajon, CA 92021
$1,725,000
Neighborhood: Blossom Valley
5
Beds
5F11/2
Baths
4,045
Sq.Ft.
2007
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016462
MLS
Entertain your guests in this LUXURY Blossom Valley home that opens up to custom iron glass doors into a breathtaking iron staircase. Enjoy making dinner in your spacious Chef s Kitchen while hearing...
$485,000
Neighborhood: Pacific Beach
1
Beds
1
Baths
678
Sq.Ft.
1975
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016465
MLS
Don't miss this well maintained, ground floor, 1 bedroom/1 bath unit facing the pool. Lots of windows, patio, and great end unit location. Located in the sought after coastal community of Pacific...
$689,000
Neighborhood: Fairmount Park
3
Beds
1
Baths
1,055
Sq.Ft.
1953
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016466
MLS
Welcome to this beautiful 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom 2 car garage single story home located in the central Fairmount Park neighborhood. Positioned in a large 5,500 square foot lot, this home has lots of...
Open 7/2
1760 E Palomar St. #304 Chula Vista, CA 91913
$549,000
Neighborhood: Otay Ranch
2
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
1,275
Sq.Ft.
2005
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016467
MLS
Gorgeous and well maintained home in Villagio at Lomas Verdes. Features 2 large master bedrooms with large bathrooms and walk-in closets. Open floor plan, upgraded flooring, upgraded lighting, patio...
$1,499,999
Neighborhood: Old Creek Ranch
5
Beds
3
Baths
3,047
Sq.Ft.
2005
Year Built
1
Day on Site
305448695
MLS
This is the one! Dont miss out on this absolutely spectacular home located in Mahogany at Old Creek Ranch. Located on a cul-de-sac & backing up to open space, this home provides a perfect, private...
3
Beds
2
Baths
1,105
Sq.Ft.
1974
Year Built
1
Day on Site
305483483
MLS
Downstairs Condo with a newly paved/stamped concrete patio inside of a private fence in the Pepperwood Meadows Community. Rare 3 bedroom 2 bath condo was totally remodeled recently, and is in great...
4
Beds
3
Baths
2,949
Sq.Ft.
2003
Year Built
1
Day on Site
305484858
MLS
OCEAN VIEWS to La Jolla & Catalina Island from this magnificent custom Encinitas home. 4 bedrooms & 3 full bathrooms with 1 Bedroom & full bathroom on main floor. Beautiful solid mahogany doors,...
5
Beds
2
Baths
1,735
Sq.Ft.
1969
Year Built
1
Day on Site
305484880
MLS
Welcome Home! This Absolutely Stunning 5 bedroom 2 bath Home features a remodeled Kitchen with New Cabinets, Quartz counter-tops, designer laminate flooring, Porcelain tile in bathrooms and a two car...
$1,550,000
Neighborhood: Rancho Ponderosa
5
Beds
3
Baths
1,895
Sq.Ft.
1978
Year Built
1
Day on Site
305484884
MLS
Two Story Home in the desirable community of Rancho Ponderosa * Full Bedroom, Full Bathroom downstairs * Kitchen has granite slab counters, custom cabinets & drawers, bay window, pantry and eat-in...
2
Beds
2
Baths
1,659
Sq.Ft.
1980
Year Built
1
Day on Site
305484893
MLS
LOCATION! Welcome to the quaint, peaceful gated community of Leucadia Village, West of I-5 & minutes from the beach, restaurants & shopping. Homeowners willing to put in some sweat equity or an...
$1,585,000
Neighborhood: Champagne Crest
4
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
4,095
Sq.Ft.
2000
Year Built
1
Day on Site
305484909
MLS
This Private 3.8 acre estate is located in the exclusive gated community of Champagne Crest. This 2 story home has been meticulously maintained and offers gorgeous views of nature, incredible sunsets...
3
Beds
3
Baths
1,334
Sq.Ft.
1930
Year Built
1
Day on Site
305484925
MLS
Location, Location, Location! with views to the mountains to the E and on a hilltop of the cul-de-sac and boasts one of the biggest lots in a well-maintained street in the neighborhood. Grand...
4
Beds
3
Baths
2,803
Sq.Ft.
1990
Year Built
1
Day on Site
305484932
MLS
Alpine Ranch Estates serene 4 bedroom 3 bath 2803 sq ft private home resting on 1.14 acres. Rear yard is very useable, is fenced and gated with rock outcroppings and several majestic oaks. One...
$1,200,000
Neighborhood: Lemon Grove
4
Beds
2
Baths
9,957
Sq.Ft.
1958
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016473
MLS
2837-43 Citronella St, is a well cared for "turnkey" duplex located in the up and coming rental market of Lemon Grove. This property was built in 1958 and consists of 2 identical, 2 Bed 1 Bath Units...
Coming Soon on 07/01
2728 B St #100 San Diego, CA 92102
$415,000
Neighborhood: Golden Hill
1
Beds
1
Baths
560
Sq.Ft.
2006
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016474
MLS
Welcome to Stonemark at Golden Hill, a 2006 built condo community at the border of South Park and Golden Hill. This one bedroom one bath lower level unit features an open floor-plan & washer/dryer....
$1,348,000
Neighborhood: University City - West Of
3
Beds
2
Baths
2,037
Sq.Ft.
1962
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016476
MLS
Opportunity knocks, three-bedroom cosmetic fixer located in an impressive neighborhood in University City. It boasts a unique open floor plan centered around a floor-to-ceiling tiled gas wood burning...
Open 7/2
3741 Wawona San Diego, CA 92107
$1,250,000
Neighborhood: Point Loma Heights
2
Beds
2
Baths
916
Sq.Ft.
1947
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016479
MLS
Adorable 2br/1ba detached home in picture perfect neighborhood! This fantastic starter features open wood beamed ceilings, updated kitchen w/stainless steel appliances, updated bath, laminate floors,...
$359,000
Neighborhood: Santee
2
Beds
1
Baths
780
Sq.Ft.
1970
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016477
MLS
Ground level cottage with yard space around it. Only attached at rear wall. Quieter street, feels like a house. Ready for renovation or keep existing tenant, who would like to stay.
$599,000
Neighborhood: East Side Add
4
Beds
2
Baths
1,175
Sq.Ft.
1948
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220009411
MLS
REDUCED! Great price! Beautiful remodeled home just near the base of Dictionary Hill in Spring Valley. New kitchen and bathroom, and new flooring throughout. This is a great home for a family as it...
Coming Soon on 06/30
1844 Wintergreen Glen Escondido, CA 92026
$665,000
Condo: Morningside Woods
4
Beds
2
Baths
1,635
Sq.Ft.
1980
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016481
MLS
Nestled in the trees at the end of a cul-de-sac of sought after Morningside Glen community, this spacious single story 3 bed, 2 bath (plus office) town home lacks nothing. Completely remodeled in...
Coming Soon on 07/08
1805 Mackinnon Cardiff By The Sea, CA 92007
$2,950,000
Neighborhood: Cardiff West
6
Beds
4F11/2
Baths
10,679
Sq.Ft.
1976
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016480
MLS
You have found the perfect investment in Cardiff by the Sea! West facing with gorgeous ocean views and great sunsets with a ton of privacy on this large, lush 10,000 sqft lot! A duplex giving you...
$695,000
Neighborhood: Bancroft
5
Beds
3
Baths
15,410
Sq.Ft.
1955
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016484
MLS
Opportunity Knocks! This large property is turnkey with major upside potential for future development. Current configuration is 4/3 & a 2/1 with oversized 2 car garage/shop, a regular 2 car garage is...
$2,149,000
Condo: The Villas Of Ivanhoe
3
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
2,167
Sq.Ft.
1991
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016485
MLS
Best location within the Villas of Ivanhoe & located on the quiet West side! Flooded with light, this recently renovated villa in "The Village" is walking distance to The Cove, restaurants,...
$1,325,000
Neighborhood: Palo Verde Ranch
4
Beds
2F11/2
Baths
3,147
Sq.Ft.
2015
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016486
MLS
New Rancho Palo Verde home in Alpine!! First time on the market. Come check out this beautiful 4 bedroom 3 bath home, that offers spectacular mountain views, quiet and gated community, large...
$3,350,000
Neighborhood: Lyons Valley
4
Beds
2
Baths
3,518
Sq.Ft.
1900
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016487
MLS
Just 40 minutes east of Downtown San Diego, rests 18155 Lyons Valley Rd, a rare Ranch Home Getaway with a private vineyard on a sizeable spread of land in a breezy valley of Jamul. Resting on 80...
Open 7/2
10761 Caminito Bravura San Diego, CA 92108
$699,999
Condo: Mission Playmor
3
Beds
2
Baths
1,334
Sq.Ft.
1976
Year Built
1
Day on Site
220016489
MLS
See this two-story townhome in Mission Valley. Located in the Mission Playmor community, it is just steps from the pool and the refinished spa. This home has a private yard with a large storage shed...

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