October 15, 2006 at 3:04 PM #7743
I have a question for the board. I have been living in San Diego for 1 year now, and am trying to narrow down which neighborhoods my wife, soon to be family (in about 1 year) and I would like to settle in. We both work downtown, and have really taken a liking to the Sunset Cliffs, and Wooded area of Point Loma. Does anyone have any input on these areas. I have heard the elementary schools are good, but the high school is average to below. We will be looking to purchase next winter. If anyone has any other suggestions on neighborhoods for a young family, will both parents working downtown, I am all ears. We are budgeting 700,000 – 900,000 for a starter home in an above average location that we can add value to later. Anyone have a guess on how Sunset Cliffs will fare during the correction in comparison to other neighborhoods.October 15, 2006 at 3:06 PM #37941sdrealtorParticipant
Put your helmet on!October 15, 2006 at 3:33 PM #37943
Let me clarify that I will be looking in winter 07. I am really looking for ideas on nice family neighborhoods for a couple who both work downtown. We really like Sunset Cliffs and the Wooded area, and am looking for any native San Diegan knowledge.October 15, 2006 at 4:40 PM #37947powaysellerParticipant
A very gross measure would be a combination of 3 factors for that particular area: tracking inflation, return to historic rent/price and price/household income. You’ll have to pay Dataquick $250 for the price data. Those 3 methods will give you an idea of the true fundamental value. As vrudny said, it’s probably going to take 5-7 years for prices to return to fundamental values. The reason it takes so long is because the resale market is very sticky on the way down. It usually takes a year longer for prices to go down, than for the bubble to go up. Are you hoping to buy at the bottom, or maybe you are happy with a 30% discount and don’t mind if prices continue falling for 2 years? I expect San Diego to keep losing 50,000 people/year and unemployment to rise to over 8%.October 15, 2006 at 4:56 PM #37948
I am not trying to time the market. I am looking for a place to settle my family, and am looking for an opinion on the Sunset Cliffs area, or any other neighborhoods that would be convenient for two people working downtown.October 15, 2006 at 5:13 PM #37949PDParticipant
Instead of buying, why not rent something in that area and try it out? Moving is a pain but losing 200k is a much bigger pain. How long would you have to work to earn 200k? How long would you have to work in order to effect a move? Pay yourself to rent.
Every dollar that our old house goes down in value is a dollar we paid ourselves to (sell and) move.
After you have lived in an area, you are better able to decide which street or even which house you want to buy. You might even get the inside scoop on a house that is about to come up for sale and get in cheap.October 15, 2006 at 5:26 PM #37951
Hammer, I love that area too. Sounds like you are going to be living there a long time, so timing the market isn’t necessarily the most important thing to you.
Here are the plusses as I see them:
– close to downtown, and easy commute if you go over the hill, past the airport along the harbor. What a great drive every a.m!
– beach within walking distance
– nice community feel; people talk to their neighbors
– ‘alternative flavor’ – kinda hippie, kinda granola-y
– all the homes are different, and have nice size lots
– great restaurants, bars and shops
– People’s Market!
– Old Venice Cafe
– lots of homes being fixed up, and adding value to each block
Here are the negatives as I see them:
– some noise from the airport. I would go and stand on some of the streets you like, for an hour or so at a time, and see how bad the noise is. Stand there at night too, and see what it’s like. When looking at homes, see if the bedrooms have double-paned windows.
– The alternative flavor is sometimes a little too much – many drunks and drug addicts that sit down on the beach wall all day. Whose garden do they sleep in at night? Could your kids leave their bikes in the yard not locked up? There’s a transient factor too. It seems like the end of the 8 is the end of the road for a lot of people coming out West.
All in all, I think it’s still a great area, and the negatives maybe worth putting up with. If I were you, I’d try to find out a little more about the schools. I’ve heard the high school in Point Loma is pretty good, so keep asking around. At this point, you’ve got plenty of time to do your homework, and find out what you need to know. PD is right, even renting in the area, you’d learn a lot!October 15, 2006 at 5:36 PM #37952
Thank you for your insight. Any other neighborhoods that you feel would be a fit.October 15, 2006 at 5:54 PM #37953
We might have the same taste, so also look into the following:
Mission Hills – great homes and architecture, nice lots, and windy streets with trees. On the edge of some canyons are magnificent views, but be aware that on some streets, you can really hear the roar of I-5 or the planes taking off at the airport. But, amazingly beautiful, with lots of old homes, and big established shady trees.
Kensington – nice community feel, great homes like the above, but pocketed between some shady neighborhoods. Weather is slightly warmer in Summer as it is more east, but it is right off the 15, and you could be downtown in minutes. Lots of good restaurants, etc too.
South Park – I think this is one of San Diego’s best kept secrets. Huge lots, Craftsmen and Spanish style homes, many overlooking Balboa Park, or the golf course, minutes from downtown, and home to San Diego’s hippest new restaurant, Vagabond. (Seriously, the types in there are some cool cats . And I don’t mean hipsters, I mean professionals with good jobs, but not plastic-y.)
Mt. Helix – a little further east, but some of San Diego’s oldest money, and many, many custom homes. Plus, the views are magnificent. Schools are good. But, a little harder to get in and out of. You’d soon learn the back roads. In fact there may be a way to jump on the 94 and head straight into downtown that I don’t know about. The neat thing about those homes up there is many have granny flats (so if you have aging parents, it’s kind of nice to know they could live with you, but not be on top of you.)
The funny thing about San Diego is that there are pockets all over the place. (I’m talking about below the 8.) So, if you don’t mind going a few blocks through bad stuff to get to good stuff, you can find beautiful homes.
I’ve heard Clairemont is very up and coming, and of course it’s ‘central’, but unless you’ve got an amazing view, and live on the edge of a canyon, I still think the homes are the worst types of tract homes ever built, and getting in and out is for the birds.October 15, 2006 at 6:05 PM #37954Steve BeeboParticipant
When you were describing the Sunset Cliffs area, it sounded like Ocean Beach a little more than Sunset Cliffs.
Hammer – if you’re talking about the south end of Sunset Cliffs, away from Ocean Beach – I think that’s a great area. I don’t think there’s much if any aircraft noise there, like you would get in Loma Portal or Ocean Beach.
The Wooded Area has a nice feel to it, but there is no ocean or bay view, and if I lived somewhere in Point Loma, I would prefer a view. For the price you would pay in the Wooded Area, you could probably get a similar house a 1/2 mile away for the same price, with at least some water view included.October 15, 2006 at 6:06 PM #37955
How are the schools in South Park? Does it have a family neighborhood feel? Is it considered a safe neighborhood? Mission Hills seems expensive for what you get relativley speaking. $900,000 for no garage or driveway. I will have to take a closer look at South Park. Does it stay pretty cool there in the summertime?October 15, 2006 at 6:10 PM #37956
I agree with your comment on a view. I think the streets in the Wooded area are very charming and unique. In a lot of cases you could walk 10 minutes to a scenic point. My concern in the wooded area is that it deems like it doesn’t get a lot of light because of its lush surroundings.October 15, 2006 at 6:25 PM #37957AnonymousGuest
Hammer, best wishes on your planning. Great area, Point Loma/Sunset Cliffs is.
From experience, watch out what you lock yourself into: after our second child, my attorney wife said, “I want to stay home with the kids.” What a great decision it turned out to be. However, it did rather change the financial plan!
Life was much better and less hectic with my wife running the household and me bringing in the money. The kiddies got much better care — there is no better caregiver than a mother. Sure, we had to turn down the spending, but we could not be happier with how things have worked out.
Just food for thought.October 15, 2006 at 6:36 PM #37959heavydParticipant
Hammer, when I moved back to SD 18 months ago, my wife and 2 young kids temporarily stayed back in NYC while I moved in with an old high school buddy in South Park / Golden Hill (his craftsman is on Grape near Granada). I was there for about 3 months in Spring, and I really liked it, although I’m not sure it’s a great family neighborhood…yet.
Pros: Proximity to Balboa Park, Downtown, and Freeways; lots of laid back bars and a growing number of decent restaurants nearby; beautiful mix of well cared for Craftsman and Mission style bungalows, all of which have sidewalks out in front. And my buddy’s place gets the best breezes through his house…all year long!
Cons: Ex-cons…seriously, the south end of South Park, near Hwy 94, is home to several halfway houses — you will be shocked if you do an online search for registered sex offenders in the area. A bit of airport noise, especially closer to 94. And I think the local elementary school (Brooklyn?) is still in transition — getting better, but not so good at this point. But SD Unified School District has some magnet and other programs that may be attractive.
If I were single, or if it were just my wife and me, I would love to live in South Park (or Mission Hills, Kensington, Pt Loma). As someone with 2 young kids, it would not be my first choice, however.October 15, 2006 at 6:45 PM #37961
Yeah, I tend to lump together Sunset Cliffs and OB just because it’s the same grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations etc. But, the further you are from the pier, the better. Thanks for clarifying Steve B.
As for the schools in South Park: unfortunately, I have no idea. I don’t have kids, and friends that were there, ended up moving to Mission Hills. I think the high school downtown was recently ranked among the top schools in SD, but I don’t know if you’d get your kids in there. And, I don’t know what high school kids go to in South Park. I think Mission Hills kids may go to Point Loma.
Overall, Point Loma, and Sunset Cliffs are more family-oriented. I live on the edge of Mission Hills now, and when I go for an evening run through the neighborhoods, I don’t see young kids, and families, I see older couples, or gay couples. But that’s also because I’m more on the Hillcrest side, which is a little more urban (as opposed to suburban), and definitely more gay.
But, definitely check out Mission Hills. Come up through the back part of Old Town. You’ll see plenty of nice long driveways! And when I’m there to watch the fireworks on the 4th, there are plenty of families in their yards.
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