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The 9 Most Expensive Places To Live In San Diego
Real Estate

The 9 Most Expensive Places To Live In San Diego

Whether you're planning to buy your dream home or you're a real estate enthusiast, check out the most expensive neighborhoods in San Diego. Team


6 min read

September 27, 2020

Boasting stunning shorelines, vibrant nightlife, unique attractions, and beautiful architecture, San Diego—also known as "America's Finest City"—is a coveted place to live. So, it's not surprising that this top California destination is among the most expensive cities to live in the state. San Diego's homes are valued six times above the national market median price, but the income is twice that of the national average, so you may be able to take the plunge and leave your old life behind. Whether you're planning your move to San Diego or you're just a real estate enthusiast, tour the most expensive places to live in San Diego now and let your imagination run wild.

1. Rancho Santa Fe

The charming, rural ambience of Rancho Santa Fe makes it a top neighborhood in San Diego County.

Median home price: $2.6 million

Median household income: $105,469

Population: 3,117

Rancho Santa Fe, another affluent residential area in San Diego, is the perfect place for adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts. The neighborhood boasts 50 miles of horseback riding trails and an extraordinary country club for golfers. Once a part of Mexico, Rancho Santa Fe was sold to the Santa Fe Railway in 1906, and thus began the California chapter of its rich history. Now, it is among San Diego's most expensive cities and offers gourmet restaurants, luxe spas, and picturesque parks.

Although the residential area is brimming with millionaires, Rancho Santa Fe remains one of the few upscale neighborhoods with a fairly calm, welcoming atmosphere that makes for a comfortable lifestyle. (Oh, and if you bump into resident Bill Gates, make sure to say hello.)

2. Del Mar Mesa

A stunning area of San Diego, Del Mar Mesa is an idyllic and desirable place to call home.

Median home price: $1.4 million

Median household income: $122,563

Population: 1,596

A somewhat rural community, Del Mar Mesa is spread across 2,042 acres in northern San Diego County. Developed in the 2000s, the neighborhood is fairly new. Although the community was established recently, a number of ancient artifacts—such as pottery dating back 9,000 years—were discovered here and are currently being examined by the San Diego Archaeological Center.

For an extra-exclusive lifestyle, homebuyers can look into the Preserve at Del Mar Mesa, a gated community with excellent hilltop views of the surrounding valley. There's a limited number of houses available here, making it all the more exclusive. 

3. Carmel Valley

To live in a beautiful suburban community with top-notch schools, move to Carmel Valley—one of the best places to live in San Diego.

Median home price: $1.2 million

Median household income: $146,086

Population: 55,316

Carmel Valley, home to the famous Carmel Canyon, boasts coastal communities situated in one of the wealthiest areas in the country. Since its establishment, Carmel Valley has been dedicated to incorporating its exceptionally beautiful surroundings into everyday living and residential architecture. The neighborhood is beyond gorgeous, with sweepings streets, Spanish- or Mediterranean-style townhouses and villas, and lush public spaces areas. The affluent community boasts a number of excellent restaurants, too

Carmel Valley is also a fantastic place for families thanks to the top-notch selection of schools nearby. Torrey Pines High School has been ranked in the 100 best high schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report. With excellent educational opportunities and superb suburban surroundings, it's no wonder Carmel Valley is one of the most expensive areas in San Diego. If you set your mind to move here, prepare for a four-bedroom home to cost over $1 million. 

4. Torrey Pines

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is one of the most breathtaking coastal parks and is one of the many draws of Torrey Pines.

Median home price: $1.2 million

Median household income: $185,349

Population: 39,724

Mesmerizing views and rare trees found in a natural reserve, an intricate network of trails, and a number of idyllic parks make Torrey Pines a nature enthusiast's heaven. Nestled in the northern part of San Diego, this is the 44th wealthiest community in the country. The neighborhood’s downtown area offers plenty of boutiques and jewelry shops perfect for indulging in retail therapy, while the first-rate restaurants provide great places for date night.

Thanks to the town's close proximity to both the city of San Diego and the Pacific, Torrey Pine residents can have their cake and eat it, too. Head to Torrey Pines State Reserve to enjoy several of the most renowned beaches in San Diego—live it up and surf, swim, and picnic on the weekends. If your dream vacay home is a beach house, then Torrey Pines is the place for you. 

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5. La Jolla Farms

Median home price: $1.2 million

Median household income: $185,349

Population: 39,724

La Jolla Farms, just as luxurious and prestigious as Torrey Pines, is a suburban utopia situated within the coastal community of La Jolla. Oceanfront homes boast breathtaking panoramic views, justifying why La Jolla Farms is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in San Diego. Many of the original properties found in this neighborhood can be traced back to the 1950s and 60s. Admire the Spanish, Mediterranean, Contemporary, and French architectural styles of the homes, and stop by the local restaurants for healthy and delicious meals.

6. Torrey Hills

Median home price: $1 million

Median household income: $192,395

Population: 55,316

The 784-acre neighborhood of Torrey Hills is one of the most expensive areas in San Diego and is a hidden gem for families seeking a stellar school system—the public schools in Torrey Hills consistently have high ratings. Featuring a mixture of urban and suburban vibes, the community also has plenty of exquisite restaurants, coffeehouses, and parks.

7. Scripps Ranch

High rated public schools, superb architecture, and pristine landscape make Scripps Ranch one of the top places to move to.

Median home price: $1 million

Median household income: $159,743

Population: 34,359

Located in the northeastern part of the city, Scripps Ranch is found north of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The area was first an estate owned by E.W. Scripps, a newspaper publisher in the Midwest attributed to the initiation of The Detroit News. 

Scripps Ranch is a very desirable location due to its combination of pristine landscapes, city living, superb architecture, and high-quality schools. The neighborhood is close to the 160-acre Lake Miramar, where residents can try their luck at fishing and go kayaking and tubing in the lake. The neighborhood is also only a 20-minute drive to downtown San Diego and its top attractions, making it easy to spend a day seeing the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Maritime Museum of San Diego, and San Diego Zoo.

8. Rancho Peñasquitos

Median home price: $828,158

Median household income: $138,965

Population: 54,986

Found in the northeastern part of San Diego, the suburban community of Rancho Peñasquitos (PQ) is named after the first Mexican land grant in the region. Translated from Spanish, Peñasquitos means "little cliffs." The community borders the Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve, which boasts open spaces perfect for hiking and biking.

PQ is a great residential area; it's a part of the Poway Unified School District, the third-largest school district in the county, and only 2 percent of the community's land is allocated to commercial use. Rancho Peñasquitos' rugged terrain encompasses canyons, hillsides, and ridges—spend as much time in the great outdoors, whether it's in your backyard or in the spacious public parks.

9. Sabre Springs

Median home price: $700,000

Median household income: $122,461.28

Population: 10,402

Located north of Scripps Ranch, the Sabre Springs community is split north and south by Poway Road. It's home to quiet neighborhoods, rolling hills, and parks boasting many recreational activities—yielding a wonderful work-life balance. The land once belonged to Native Americans before becoming home to ranches. Old Poway Park is the perfect outdoor destination to enjoy train rides, admire the crafts at the Boardwalk Craft Market, and purchase fresh locally grown produce at the farmers market.

For luxury living in NorCal, check out the guide to San Francisco’s most expensive neighborhoods.

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