San Diego County experienced some of its fastest home price increases ever in the two years since the pandemic hit the United States.
It seems like a lifetime ago, a month before lockdowns, in February 2020 when the median home price was $586,500, according to CoreLogic. Two years later, the median — including townhouses, condos, newly built and single-family — was up 32.1 percent to $775,000.
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The largest part of San Diego County’s market remains resale single family homes, typically taking up more than 60 percent of sales in a given month. As of February, the resale single-family median— the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less — was $875,000, an increase of 35.2 percent in two years.
The desire to live in a traditional home, as opposed to a condo or townhouse, was especially strong at the start of the pandemic as many buyers sought out more spacious places to live.
Chris Anderson, board president of the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors, said she has seen ups and downs in the market over her 32 years as an agent. However, she said this time is much different than the last runup in which risky loans allowed for a housing boom and eventual crash.
“People are actually qualifying,” she said. “It’s not like the liar loans that got everybody in. People now are qualified with good jobs and good income.”
In summer 2004, San Diego County home prices were up more than 33 percent in a year — exceeding the region’s recent two-year rise. However, by summer 2008, prices had dropped more than 25 percent.
A hangover from the housing crash is residential building still not reaching levels seen since the start of the century. San Diego County continues to build a low number of single-family homes, making the resale market especially hot. There were 3,526 single-family homes added last year, a far cry from 2004 when 9,555 new homes were added. Most city and county planning in recent years has focused on apartment building as a way to get as much housing built as soon as possible.
In general, over the two years, areas that were already expensive got even more expensive. Examples include Cardiff, Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar seeing extreme price acceleration. However, areas that started at a very low price sometimes saw significant gains, like San Ysidro.
Here are the ZIP codes in February where prices for single-family homes have gone up the most over two years:
Median home price: $3.89 million
Two year percentage increase: 116.4 percent
Del Mar has become a hot spot for the most affluent buyers, taking up the top spots in San Diego County’s most expensive home sales over the last two years. The most notable purchase in recent years was the $43 million purchase of 2808 Ocean Front by Bill Gates.
Median home price: $2.2 million
Two year percentage increase: 91.7 percent
Pacific Beach might be known for being a popular hangout for young folks, but its coastal location also makes it one of the most desired spots to own property. There’s also lots to do there besides go to the beach, with plenty of stores and new restaurants.
Median home price: $1.4 million
Two year percentage increase: 83 percent
North Park might not be near the beach but it has become one of the most sought-after areas to live for families and renters. There have been growing pains as parking spaces have been removed and the city continues to approve high-density apartment projects.
Median home price: $685,000
Two year percentage increase: 82.7 percent
San Diego’s busy border neighborhood doesn’t have a large housing supply, and homes rarely go up for sale, but what little supply there is goes for a premium. Most of the attention for the region centers around the border crossing, but there have been improvements to living there, such as the new San Ysidro Library that opened in 2019.
Median home price: $2.1 million
Two year percentage increase: 82.6 percent
One of San Diego’s oldest masterplan communities, Rancho Bernardo has seen major price increases in recent years as its prominence as a technology hub grows. This ZIP code is home to several large employers: Sony, General Atomics and Amazon Game Studios. It also has a popular location of Phil’s BBQ.
Median home price: $2.37 million
Two year percentage increase: 81.5 percent
Corner lots in Cardiff-by-the-Sea went for $45 when the community opening in 1911. Things have sure changed a lot since then. The Encinitas neighborhood is a prime location for wealthy buyers and home to popular eateries, such as the Cardiff Seaside Market and its famed “Cardiff Crack” tri-tip.
Median home price: $5.23 million
Two year percentage increase: 74.2 percent
Rancho Santa Fe has long been a sought after location for affluent buyers, but took on new prominence during the pandemic. Real estate agents said buyers wanted more space to social distance and buyers from all over the nation, such as New York City, sought out space in the in the community established in the 1920s.
Median home price: $1.26 million
Two year percentage increase: 72.8 percent
One of San Diego’s original “streetcar suburbs,” Normal Heights is part of the drive of buyers seeking out North Park and other single-family neighborhoods far from the beach. Normal Heights is known for several restaurants and coffee shops, including Blind Lady Ale House, Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, and Lestat’s Coffee House.
Median home price: $1.29 million
Two year percentage increase: 69.5 percent
Like Rancho Bernardo’s other ZIP code on this list, the 92128 ZIP code has also seen significant growth. This side of Rancho Bernardo is home to the Oaks North Golf Course, Bernardo Winery the Rancho Bernardo Swim and Tennis Club.
Median home price: $1.4 million
Two year percentage increase: 68.9 percent
This Carlsbad ZIP is in the eastern part of the city that includes Hidden Canyon Community Park and the Rancho Carlsbad Golf Course. It is close to plenty of shopping — The Carlsbad Premium Outlets, The Shoppes at Carlsbad — and Legoland California Resort.
Search our ZIP code database to find how much your home has appreciated.
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