North County San Diego: How Affordable?


by Roberta Murphy

North CountyWe are working with more first time San Diego home buyers than ever before. We’re also finding bargains for second home buyers in North County, as well as beach properties for some clever investors who have been waiting in the wings.

The loaded question: Which areas offer the best deals for single family homes in North County San Diego real estate?

The answer is as broad as the question.

There are real estate deals to be found everywhere in San Diego County.

This article, though, deals with San Diego’s highly-desired North County real estate, which covers everything from Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe north through Solana Beach, Carmel Valley, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside — and east to San Marcos, Vista, Bonsall, Fallbrook, Escondido, Rancho Bernardo, Valley Center, Ramona, Poway, Rancho Penasquitos, and Pauma Valley.

For August, 2008 there were two real estate sales in Rancho Santa Fe, with a median sales price of $3,262,500. This may be the highest median sales price for all San Diego real estate, but Rancho Santa Fe also has one of the longest median times on market with 131 days.

Vista (92083) offers the most affordable real estate in North County San Diego with an August median price of $256,000–and one of the shorter market times at 43 days. With 18 sales in the 92083 zip code, prices there are also down 34 percent from August of last year. With these numbers, 46 percent of San Diego County households could afford to buy a home in Vista–compared to just 23 percent in August, 2007.

Other affordable markets include Escondido, where median prices have dropped between 29 (92026) and 55 (92029) percent since a year ago, depending upon zip code. In the 92029 example, only 4 percent of San Diego’s buyers could have afforded a home there in August 2007. Today, 23 percent could afford to buy the median priced home of $409,000.

The only city in North County San Diego to hold absolutely stable in real estate affordability year over year is Del Mar. Only 2 percent of San Diego’s population could afford to buy a home in Del Mar a year ago, and that same percentage holds steady for today. With 5 sales in August, 2008, Del Mar has a median sales price of $1,560,000.

If you would like a full summary report for North County San Diego real estate sales statistics, please feel free to email me: or give me a call at 760-402-9101 or 877-818-8197.