Residents living in San Diego, CA recognize how lucky they are to stay in a place famous for its fine weather and beautiful beaches. Lifestyles here vary depending on whether someone wants to live near a beach, an urban environment or a suburban setting. Nevertheless, residents never lack things to do because Sand Diego offers a wide variety of outdoor activities, free museums and entertainment venues.
Is San Diego a good place to live? According to Real Estate US News, out of 125 metro areas in the USA, San Diego ranks as the 36th best place to live and 14th the best place to retire. All in all Sand Diego boasts of a good quality of life, healthy economy and a moderate climate. However, the cost of living here is not particularly affordable.
Are you moving to San Diego soon to settle down or start a new job? It is highly likely that you have come to this blog post because you have some questions. What transport means do the residents use? Are the schools any good? What is the cost of buying a home in the area? In this article, we take an in-depth look at what life is like in San Diego.
Is Sand Diego a good place to Live? Prons & Cons:
San Diego, California is home to a fairly young population partly because of its ability to lure millennials with its colleges and universities and the big-city amenities.
When it comes to the best neighborhoods in the area, North County is a very desirable residential area for young families. Many families love to live there because it is quiet and offers larger homes.
On the other hand, millennials prefer to live in the downtown area and communities in the northeast because of gentrification and the numerous entertainment choices available in those places.
It is also worth mentioning that the overall crime rate for San Diego, CA is 20% lower than the countrywide average. Moreover, this city is 46% safer than other California cities.
Any expat moving to San Diego with school-going children should know that this metro area encompasses 161 public schools, 228 private schools and 11 colleges/universities. Over 40 San Diego high schools and three higher education institutions have gained recognition in the U.S News & World Report’s Best High School Rankings and Best College rankings respectively.
San Diego, California is an expansive city, and for the most part, residents get around using personal cars. Traffic congestion does occur during rush hours in some parts of the main roadways, including Interstate 5. However, the traffic in this city is still among the most manageable in the country’s biggest metro areas.
Other than cars, some residents also use a local commuter train known as Coaster to move from North Country to downtown. In general, this train system is convenient for commuting during the weekdays, but the last train leaves early in the evening during the weekend, limiting its use for evening or late-night events.
In addition to that, there’s a trolley system that serves the downtown part and stretches to the south. San Diego also has a reliable public bus system. Additionally, the San Diego International Airport, which is north of the downtown area, offers flights to national and international destinations. There is also an Amtrak line that connects the city to Los Angeles and other major cities.
The social life in San Diego is very lively as the temperate weather allows for an active outdoor lifestyle. During the weekend residents go on hikes, have fun at the beach, visit the museums, go to the zoo, or dine at any of the impressive restaurants.
Is San Diego a good place to Work?
San Diego’s biggest industries are tourism, technology, healthcare, military and research. As a result of the city’s closeness to the Pacific Ocean, some of the largest employers here are the U.S Navy and Marine Corps. A number of national defense contractors such as BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman have offices in San Diego, whereas General Dynamics NASSCO hires engineers and manufacturers to construct and repair ships.
In addition to that, the education and medical fields are also a major part of the economy because of the University of California, Kaiser Permanente and Sharp. Since about 35 million tourists flock to the area every year, many San Diego residents also find employment in the tourism industry.
The unemployment rate for this is a city is lower than the average for the whole nation and it has shown a steady decline over the past few years. As of May 2019, the unemployment rate for San Diego stood at 2.8%.
Moreover, the salaries here are also good. On average, people working in San Diego earn $61,627. In terms of the academic degree, Ph.D. holders earn $103,083 on average while those with a degree in Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering have an average salary of $97,551.
Is San Diego a good place to buy a House?
There are very many great neighborhoods in San Diego for buying a home, including Del Mar Mesa, Miramar Ranch North, Pacific Highlands Ranch, Torrey Hills, Sabre Springs, San Pasqual Valley, Via de la Valle, Rancho Penasquitos, Black Mountain Ranch and Carmel Valley.
However, home prices in San Diego are generally high. The median home price is $817,185 and the median rent is $2,560 (as of July 2019).
A 1-bed home for sale can sell for $199,900-$1,335,000; a home with three bedrooms can have a selling price of $369,900 or more and a 5-bed house for sale can go for $565,000-$4,099,800.
For rental properties, a 5-bedroom home can rent for $4,500 per month; a property with three bedrooms can have a rent of $2,636-$3,493 a month, while a one-bedroom home can have a monthly rent of $1,585-$1,980.
Getting a mortgage for a home is also possible as there are numerous banks and credit companies in the area. The yearly mortgage interest rate is 4.15% for a 20-year fixed-rate loan. Whether a person is buying a house on credit or not, getting a home insurance cover might be necessary. San Diegans pay about $905 per annum for home insurance.
Is San Diego a good place to Retire?
Although it is somewhat a luxury to live in San Diego because of how expensive it is, any expat will look forward to living here as retirees because of the sunny weather and reliable health care facilities. San Diegans also enjoy a thriving and diverse lifestyle.
With temperatures averaging at 72ºF, lots of sunshine and low humidity, wearing a pair of shorts and sandals every day is no problem in San Diego. The over 70 miles of attractive beaches, make the city a retirement paradise.
Additionally, San Diego makes for a great place to retire because of the broad offering of senior housing and assisted living options. In a year, the cost of assisted living is approximately $42,000, with the cost of nursing home care services ranging between $82,000 and $94,000.
Is San Diego a good place to Visit?
The favorable San Diego weather makes it possible for residents to lead an active outdoor lifestyle, which is essential for good health. Hiking coastal and inland trails, cycling, and playing tennis and golf are some popular forms of exercise in the area. San Diegans normally spend their free time at the beach taking part in beach volleyball, boat riding, sunbathing and other beach activities.
Other than the beach, the inland part also offers fun outdoor activities. Balboa Park is an inland cultural hub that encompasses several museums and incredible Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. Likewise, animal lovers gather at the world-famous San Diego Zoo Safari Park or at SeaWorld to explore different animal species.
In terms of dining, there’s no need to cross the border to get authentic Mexican cuisine. San Diego is home to a myriad of restaurants options, which are mostly in Old Town. There is also a thriving brewery scene that attracts craft beer aficionados.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cost of living in San Diego, California?
San Diego’s cost of living is 44.4% above the USA average (as of July 2019). Energy bills are $19.64 per month, phone bills are $205.35 a month and gas prices are $3.36 per gallon. The grocery prices are 13% more expensive than the United States average. A loaf of bread costs $3.76, a gallon of milk goes for $2.19, a carton of eggs retails at $2.04, and a bunch of bananas sell for $3.79. A visit to the doctor comes with a charge of $199.01 while a dentist visit costs $102.24.
Is San Diego a good place to invest in property?
San Diego ranks highly when it comes to the hottest real estate markets. Year after year, the housing market in this metro area shows continued growth, and this has captured the attention of real estate investors. The best neighborhoods to invest in the San Diego real estate market include Black Mountain Ranch, Carmel Mountain, Miramar Ranch North, Pacific Beach, Hillcrest and Del Mar Heights.
Is San Diego a good place to raise a family?
Raising a family in San Diego is well worth considering because it offers many opportunities for family fun in the form of playgrounds, parks, beaches, ideal weather and other attractions. Moreover, education and child care services are top-notch.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.