San Diego, California is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and offers a number of amenities on top of that. As such, it should come as no surprise that it’s an exceedingly expensive city to live in.
That said, you don’t have to be rich to live in San Diego. There are still several affordable neighborhoods available for middle-income individuals and families.
Are you curious as to where the most affordable neighborhoods in San Diego are? If so, then keep on reading. These are the best affordable neighborhoods in San Diego.
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1. Serra Mesa
We’ll start by discussing Sera Mesa, a diverse community featuring quite a few families and young professionals. This neighborhood has a median housing sale price of around $929,663 and a median monthly rent price of around $3,000. The median household income in the neighborhood, on the other hand, comes in at around $112,755.
No, this isn’t the overall cheapest neighborhood in San Diego, but it does offer a long of bang for its buck. Plus, it’s cheaper than the average San Diego house, which is around $912,745.
Serra Mesa is close to a variety of San Diego attractions, including SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, and Mission Bay Park. The closest beach is around 10 miles away and takes approximately 20 minutes to get to. Downtown San Diego is around 9 miles away and takes around 15 minutes to get to.
There are plenty of outdoor activities that you can do in the Serra Mesa area, particularly hiking. It contains Murphy Canyon and the Ruffin Canyon Open Space Preserve. The latter is an 84-acre wilderness area where you can walk, relax, and see native animals.
In addition, there is a community center in Serra Mesa. This provides playgrounds, athletic fields, basketball courts, and other park amenities.
In summation, Serra Mesa is a great neighborhood to live in. It’s safe, it offers excellent public schools, and it’s much more affordable than other neighborhoods of its caliber. As was stated above, it provides a tremendous amount of bang for your buck.
2. Normal Heights
Up next is Normal Heights, a neighborhood that’s as cheap as it is charming. This neighborhood is a favorite of the twenty-something crowd and is home to many young professionals.
The median home sale price in Normal Heights is around $622,709. The median rent price, on the other hand, is quite low, coming in at $2,000. As far as median household income in the area goes, it’s around $83,869.
Normal Heights has seen a revitalization within the last 10 years. It still possesses many of its past quirks but appears more clean and vibrant than it once did. This gives it an arty vibe that meshes well with — as we said — the young crowd.
As far as entertainment in Normal Heights goes, bars, restaurants, and coffee shops are king. You can find an eclectic mix of all of these located within the neighborhood, with many of them hosting musical performances and the like.
Normal Heights is located around 7 miles from downtown. Generally speaking, downtown can be reached from Normal Heights in around 10 minutes. The closest beach, on the other hand, is located around 8 miles away. It can be reached in between 10 to 15 minutes.
When it comes to families, Normal Heights is a solid neighborhood, depending on your preferences. It offers great parks and schools. However, its homes don’t tend to possess as much yard space as some other neighborhoods.
3. Linda Vista
Another affordable neighborhood that you might like to call home is Linda Vista. This neighborhood is home to the University of San Diego, and, as a result, offers up something of a college vibe.
Linda Vista is renowned for its diversity. In fact, it even hosts a multi-cultural parade on a yearly basis. In addition, it offers some solid natural attractions. These include Tecolote Canyon Natural Park, a wilderness park consisting of interesting geological formations and a series of hiking trails. Other attractions in Linda Vista include a skatepark and a variety of neighborhood parks.
This neighborhood is just a short walk from the zoo, SeaWorld, and Mission Bay Park. It’s also around 8 miles and a 15-minute drive to the closest beach, and around 7 miles and a 15-minute drive to downtown.
All kinds of people call Linda Vista home, from college students to post-grads, to families, and more. It’s a terrific community that’s safe and pleasant to live in. Sporting top-notch schools and close proximity to everything, it’s as solid a choice as any.
4. Mission Valley
Looking to buy a residence on the (relatively) cheap? If so, you should take a close look at Mission Valley. Located southeast of Linda Vista, Mission Valley is known primarily for its shopping. It offers a variety of shopping plazas and malls, allowing local residents to buy essentially anything they need.
What does Mission Valley have to offer? Well, in addition to its shopping locations, it’s also home to two buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. These buildings include the Mission San Diego de Alcala and the Old Town San Diego Historic Park.
Perhaps the best aspect of Mission Valley (apart from its low price) is that it’s close to the beaches and downtown. It’s about 8 miles (14 minutes by car) to the downtown area, and it’s about 10 miles (13 minutes by car) to the closest beach.
Like the majority of neighborhoods in San Diego, Mission Valley has excellent public schools. In addition, the area is safe and easy to get around. Great for young professionals as well as families, it’s an awesome spot for those buying on a small budget.
If you’re alright with living in a high-rise instead of a house, then downtown San Diego itself would actually be a solid option. Yes, its residences are a lot smaller than those in other areas, but they get you close to the action, and for many people, that’s the biggest perk of all.
The median sale price in downtown San Diego is around $912,745. The median rent price in downtown San Diego is around $2,450 a month. The median income in downtown San Diego is around $108,864 with a poverty rate of 13.82%..
Now, what does downtown San Diego have to offer? Well, it has both the San Diego Symphony and the San Diego Opera. It also has Petco Field, home of the San Diego Padres. In addition, it offers a wide variety of restaurants and bars.
Downtown provides fairly easy access to the rest of the city. It’s particularly close to Silver Strand State Beach, an exceedingly popular beach destination. The Zoo is right down the street as well.
The schools in the downtown area are fairly good but not quite on the level of those in other neighborhoods on this list. That said, certain areas of downtown have better schools than others.
In summation, downtown is best for young professionals and those who live alone. While there are apartments big enough for families, they’re exceedingly expensive, and still on the small side.
6. Chula Vista
Chula Vista technically isn’t in San Diego the city. However, it is in San Diego County and it directly borders San Diego the city on its southern edge. As such, you might as well consider it to be part of San Diego.
Plus, Chula Vista is generally cheaper than San Diego the city. Its homes sell for a median price of around $780,821. Its rentals, on the other hand, go for around $2,448 a month. The median household income in the city is approximately $99,192 with a poverty rate of 11.84%..
You might be wondering, though: what does Chula Vista have to offer? Well, a water park, for one, that water park being Aquatica San Diego. In addition, it’s located on the ocean and is home to the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
It’s around 10 miles from downtown San Diego. By car, the downtown area can be reached in around 20 minutes. As far as its closest beach goes, it’s the Silver Strand State Beach. This is around 10 miles from Chula Vista and can be accessed by car in roughly 20 minutes.
Chula Vista has terrific schools as well as a number of nice parks for its residents to spend time in. It’s great for families, in particular, though there are plenty of young professionals living there as well.
So, if you’re okay being close to San Diego but not actually in San Diego proper, this would be a solid choice. It’s close to the action but far enough away so as to be relatively calm and quiet.
7. Lemon Grove
The most diverse neighborhood in San Diego, Lemon Grove is a steal as far as houses and rentals go. Not only is it cheaper than most of the other areas in the city, but it also has some of the best weather in the city, as it’s fairly separated from the ocean and all of the potentially bad weather that it has to offer.
The median sale price for homes in Lemon Grove is around $684,392. The median rental price in Lemon Grove is around $2,048 a month. Median incomes in Lemon Grove are around $72,896 with a poverty rate of 14.11%.
Where Lemon Grove differs from a lot of the other neighborhoods on this list is in the size of its yards. You can find a decent quarter acre in this neighborhood, and it’s not even all that far from the best things that the city has to offer.
You can reach downtown from Lemon Grove in about 15 minutes. It’s around 10 miles away. You can reach the closest beach from Lemon Grove in around 30 minutes. It’s about 20 miles away.
As far as things that you can find in Lemon Grove itself, there’s a nightclub, a brewery, a few restaurants, and a park. So, while it’s not as loaded with amenities as some of the other areas on this list, it still has everything you need.
The schools in Lemon Grove are just about as good as they are in any other part of San Diego. In other words, they’re great.
This neighborhood is really ideal for families, as it offers up decent-sized homes at reasonable prices. That said, it’s a decent spot for anyone, and will be relatively cheap regardless of the type of unit you’re looking for.
There are plenty of affordable neighborhoods in San Diego
No, San Diego is not a cheap city to live in. However, there are still plenty of affordable neighborhoods in San Diego. These neighborhoods offer a variety of amenities and are close to everything that the city has to offer; as such, they’re well worth your money.
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