San Diego's 7 Best Places to Live in 2023 | 2024 (Just Updated)
People might be a little nervous about buying a house in San Diego right now, which is understandable. Inflation is doing nobody any favors, and the cost of everything is going up. As of this writing, the current California mortgage rates are 5.51% for a 30-year fixed mortgage and 4.79% for a 15-year fixed mortgage. Of course, there is no telling what will happen in the coming weeks and months. However, we think that if buying a house is on your bucket list, now is an excellent time to start looking seriously.
There is no question there are some wonderful places to live in San Diego County. We are blessed with fantastic weather, a top-of-the-line public transportation system, and all the other amenities that enhance the quality of life. We want to show you the top 7 places to live in the San Diego area. We did not want to play favorites, so we listed everything alphabetically. All statistics quoted are as of this writing.
Here’s a quick rundown of our list:
Carmel Valley is one of the best places to raise a family in San Diego County. It rates highly for the public schools serving the community, and most homeowners have a college degree or at least some college education. It gets higher marks from the residents for being safe, family-friendly, and clean. The work commute time for most people is reasonable.
It is a planned residential community, but that does not mean that Carmel Valley is a dull place. If you enjoy the outdoors, this is a beautiful place to live. Hikers will enjoy the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, which has 4,000 acres of open space with waterfalls and canyons. Some hiking trails allow you to bring your four-legged friend with you, provided the dog is on a leash. Black Mountain Open Space Park has 1,200 acres of hiking trails and surrounds Black Mountain. There are opportunities for horseback riding in Carmel Valley. You can access the Historic US Route 101 easily in Carmel Valley.
- Population: 54,910
- Median Household Income: 160,064
- Top Employers: Starbucks, Chevron, Safeway, Blue Shield of California
- Median Rent: $2,605
- Median Sales Price: $1,555,000
- Median Days on the Market: 7
- Redfin.com rates the Carmel Valley Market as Most Competitive
- See Carmel Valley's housing market statistics here.
The people who live in Coronado love it! This town has received some great reviews from the people who live there. Here is one of them:
"I love this tourist town! The community is extremely close knit where local support are locally owned businesses and schools."
The town is known for the Hotel del Coronado, which is one of the world's top resorts and is a national historic landmark. Rumor has it that the hotel was the inspiration for the Emerald City in the wonderful Wizard of Oz and Orange Avenue was the inspiration for the Yellow Brick Road.
There are some unique activities that you can enjoy in Coronado. The Coronado Ferry Landing Summer Concerts occur every weekend. If you are into boating, the Glorieta Bay Marina will let you rent a sailboat, a speedboat, jet skis, you name it, to get on the water. The Museum of History and Art offers an educational side, which sponsors heritage walks through the neighborhoods. Finally, the Hotel del Coronado is not just a place for tourists to stay. You can take advantage of the MooTime Creamery at the hotel and create something out of ice cream to fit your taste.
- Population: 23,639
- Median Household Income: $108,967
- Top Employers: Sodexo, T-Mobile, Hotel Del Coronado, Starbucks
- Median Rent: $2,479
- Median Sales Price: $2,000,000
- Median Days on the Market: 27
- Redfin.com rates the Coronado Market as Somewhat Competitive
- See Coronado's housing statistics here
This little community ranks high on Niche.com for its public schools and is an excellent place for retirees. It started out as a seaside resort and hosts the Del Mar Horse Races each summer. Del Mar is a typical beach town and was featured in the classic Beach Boys song "Surfin' USA."
The beaches, of course, are a great attraction but there is more than the surf and the horse races. The Del Mar Farmers Market allows you to buy farmers' produce and international cuisine as well. If you want to get a good view of the Del Mar community, we suggest that you take a trip on the Magical Adventure Balloon Rides and get a birds-eye view. But if the water is what you really enjoy, you can have some fun at the Del Mar Surf school and learn how to catch a wave.
- Population: 4,331
- Median Household Income: $129,063
- Top Employers: Wells Fargo, Starbucks
- Median Rent: $2,320
- Median Sales Price: $3,112,500
- Median Days on the Market: 9
- Redfin.com rates the Del Mar Market as Somewhat Competitive
- See Del Mar's housing statistics here
Well, the neighborhood is a little pricey, but that doesn't seem to bother the residents that much. Almost everybody enjoys the weather and the scenery, which folks compare to what you would find ordinarily in the West Indies or Caribbean Mexico. It is nice to have the beach as close to the houses.
Frankly, you cannot escape the ocean because beaches and bluffs surround la Jolla on three sides. It is an educational community where you will find the University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Scripps Research Institute, and the Salk Institute. So, it is no surprise that nearly everyone who lives here has a higher education degree or at least some college experience.
You are in the wrong place if you do not like the beach. La Jolla Shores Beach is a great place for swimming, and Scripps Pier you would thing was made expressly for photographers. Some people enjoy picnics in the park. La Jolla Underwater Park is a protected area where you can scuba dive and kayak to your heart's content (be careful that you do not end up as a picnic for large fish).
- Population: 32,486
- Median Household Income: $140,204
- Top Employers: AT&T, Oracle, Starbucks, Best Buy
- Median Rent $2,553
- Median Sales Price: $2,355,000
- Median Days on the Market: 14
- Redfin.com rates the La Jolla Market as Somewhat Competitive
- See La Jolla's housing statistics here
Miramar Ranch North has a reputation for being an excellent place to raise a family. There is a lot for kids to do and easy access to shopping. It is also one of the safer communities in San Diego County. It is part of the Scripps Ranch community, and it is well known for its hiking trails.
Some of the attractions in the community include the local breweries. Ale Smith Brewing Company, Pure Project, and the Duck Foot Brewing Company are just some of the small breweries that are great to visit. You will certainly not go thirsty in this town!
- Population: 20,841
- Median Household Income: $147,238
- Top Employers: Wells Fargo, Amazon, Walmart, Microsoft Corporation
- Median Rent: $2,744
- Median Sales Price: $1,250,000
- Median Days on the Market: 7
- Redfin.com rates the Miramar Ranch North Housing Market as Most Competitive.
- See San Diego's housing statistics here
The public schools that educate the children in Solana Beach are among the best in California. If you like art galleries, you will love the large number of art places in Solana Beach that are in addition to the boutiques, antique stores, and import establishments.
The Design District is at the center of the cultural scene. Cedros Avenue is a road with all kinds of venues, and you can spend the entire day just window shopping. If that is not enough art for you, the Coastal Rail Trail has some hidden art treasures just waiting for you to look at and perhaps buy. The local art community creates all the art on this pathway.
- Population: 13,356
- Median Household Income: $108,118
- Top Employers: Wells Fargo, Citi, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Regency Centers
- Median Rent: $2,232
- Median Sales Price: $1,725,000
- Median Days on the Market: 9
- Redfin.com rates the Solana Beach Market as Very Competitive
- See Solana Beach's housing statistics here
This San Diego neighborhood gets high marks from Niche.com, is a fantastic place to live and raise a family, and is the right kind of environment for a young professional in the San Diego area. It is a safe community with a population that has a diverse educational background (approximate 69% of the residents have a baccalaureate degree or better).
One-quarter of the residents are families with children, so this is an area for singles. What is interesting about Torrey Pines is that although it is part of the city of San Diego, it has some fantastic environmental areas. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve includes 1500 acres of land with maritime chaparral, unspoiled beaches, and a lagoon.
- Population: 13,494
- Median Household Income: $142,118
- Median Rent: $2,257
- Top Employers: CVS Health, Rancho Valencia, AT&T
- Median Home Value: $1,262,094
- Median Days on the Market: Not Available
- Redfin.com ratings are Not Available
- See San Diego housing market statistics here
We think these are the best communities in the San Diego area and the type of places where you can feel comfortable. Selecting where you want to live is the first step in any house hunting expedition. The next is determining what neighborhood you want to be in and what place you wish to buy. We strongly suggest that you do not go into any of this with the retail store state of mind.
The house you will be living in is perhaps the most significant financial investment you will make in your life. If you notice the figures, you will be spending over $1 million to live in one of these communities. The housing market is hot, and a typical house will have several pending offers. It always happens that a house buyer is in a sprint to the finish line ahead of other people. Buying a home in a competitive market is like driving a Lamborghini. You can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than a minute. If you know what you are doing it is not a problem. If you do not know what you are doing, you will crash into a wall.
The right financing is critical to success in house buying. A person needs to know where they can find the best mortgage interest rates and how to apply for a mortgage successfully. Many buyers do not understand that there are alternatives to an FHA loan or a conventional bank mortgage. What is essential is that the person can qualify for something like a Veterans Administration (VA) loan or Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan. A home buyer must understand these financial instruments, and the application process can be tricky.
We strongly suggest that you never try to buy a house by yourself. The price of most homes in San Diego County is extremely high. A mistake can cost the buyer thousands of dollars in addition to the mortgage payments. Those trying to buy a house by themselves are like people trying to do root canals all alone. The process is going to be very, very painful.
We Are Here to Help
We have been part of the real estate industry. We concentrate on San Diego County, and we are familiar with the residential areas. We can help you find the right place for you and your family. It means researching the neighborhoods based on your specific needs. We do that all the time for our clients.
We can help you get ready for pre-approval letters and sample financing you need to buy your dream home. We are licensed to advise on mortgages, and we have been successful in helping people get the right financing.
We believe teamwork is the key to being successful in real estate. It means that we work with you and for you in the entire process. We make suggestions on what to do, but you decide what to do in the end. We will do whatever it is you need us to do. Our policy is to treat all clients with respect and courtesy, answering all the questions and going the extra mile for them.
The American Dream can be yours in San Diego County. Your desire to own a home will become a reality with the assistance we provide. We like to say more about what we can do to help you. With that in mind, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible, and set up a meeting. You will be pleasantly surprised by what we can do to simplify the house buying process.
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.
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