Up Coming San Diego Neighborhoods

I spend a lot of time evaluating market trends in San Diego County and trying to figure out what the best place is for my client’s investment dollars.  The goal being to uncover North Park or South Park prior to the gentrification process that transformed those communities and added tremendous value to the local real estate.  Imagine buying downtown San Diego real estate prior to the year 2000 when there wasn’t much there.  Or how about purchasing property along the 56 corridor prior to the freeway’s construction?

It is my belief that those of you looking for the next big thing should turn to Normal Heights and Talmadge.  Everything tells me that gentrification is heading into those areas and in a big way.  Interesting to note that neither neighborhood is especially inexpensive now as it is, but I believe that there is still plenty of money to be made there as both are relatively unknown and are benefiting from very interesting fundamentals and geographical advantages.

Normal Heights

A quick glance at a map and a drive through the community will illustrate a major reason why I am making this prediction.  Geographically, Normal Heights has University Heights and Hillcrest to the west, North Park to the south, Kensington to the east, and a huge cliff followed by Interstate 8 freeway to the north.  In other words, it is surrounded by more expensive and more gentrified neighborhoods in every direction.  University Heights, Hillcrest and Kensington in Particular are significantly higher priced neighborhoods and we all know all about North Park’s renaissance over the last number of years.

As real estate values continue to climb in these surrounding neighborhoods, there is very little doubt that tomorrow’s restaurants, coffee shops, and condo projects will start popping up more frequently in  Normal Heights.  In fact, home flippers who fix up distressed properties and put them back on the market for a profit have already been reaping big profits in Normal Heights for years and the community already has seen a number of new businesses call Normal Heights home. Still, there is plenty of room to grow compared to the surrounding neighborhoods that have already made significantly more progress.


Talmadge is similar in some respects but also has its own unique advantages which make me feel it stands a chance of being the “it” community of tomorrow.  First off, and perhaps most si-highlight--primaryly, Talmadge is located north of El Cajon Blvd and just east of Kensington in San Diego.   Both are key for different reasons. 

Its proximity to Kensington is si-highlight--primary because Kensington is one of the most expensive areas in the city of San Diego, right up there with Mission Hills.  Kensington values naturally spill over to some degree onto its neighbor.  Being north of El Cajon Blvd. is also very si-highlight--primary because the area to the south is significantly more depressed.  El Cajon Blvd. is a fairly significant dividing line.  And of course, like Kensington, there is nothing to the north other than a big cliff high above Interstate 8.  Not to mention that SDSU is nor far away, making Talmadge a reasonable place for students to live and for business owners to invest in that demographic.

San Marcos

This is an interesting pick because it is already considered to be a nice community by those that know it well but I still think that it fits the criteria for this article because I believe that San Marcos is going to see greater growth than some of the surrounding communities.

In my opinion it will be the schools in San Marcos that drive this growth as the community attracts more and more young families that are looking for a combination of affordability and education for their children.  As far as North County goes, San Marcos offers affordable real estate relative to some of its more coastal neighbors, along with a nice family oriented setting.  You can almost say that San Marcos is the Chula Vista of the north.  In fact, to expand on that idea, I recently helped a military family relocate to San Diego from the East Coast and they were looking for a great community that offers affordable housing and good education.  San Marcos and Chula Vista both quickly made our list, despite the fact that they are on opposite ends of the county.

If you look at what is going on with new home builders, San Marcos is one of the primary locations in San Diego County where builders are investing.  Look for San Marcos to keep improving on the strength of both San Marcos High School and Mission Hills High School (yes it is located in San Marcos), the lower schools that feed into it, families that are looking for a better yet affordable lifestyle, and new home construction.


#1 By Christine Wong at 10/7/2015 4:32 AM

Thanks for your words of wisdom. I've felt the exact same way about Normal Heights and very interested to hear you feel the same about Talmedge. Let me ask you... How do you feel about Clairement? There are larger lots and wide open neighborhood streets. The homes have a cool mid century look where with some loving care and renovation could be awesome...I have been feeling like this is an area that might enjoy a resurgance..just a gut feeling. Any thoughts?

I am in the early stages of looking for a home. Probably looking at next summer...Is that a good time of year to look? Is there a time of year when there are lots of houses on the market?



#2 By Daniel Beer at 10/7/2015 4:32 AM


I agree completely that Clairemont is a great market to be invested in. In fact, just yesterday I was speaking with my colleagues and about the market and one of them brought up some research they had just done on Clairemont. It turns out that the market there has appreciated 14% up from the bottom. That is amazing. We have clients currently purchasing homes there and it often takes 5 plus offers before getting one accepted. Call me if you would like to know more and I will connect you with our agent, Rod Stadelmann, who is an expert in that market. His number is 858-231-3911 and mine is 858-759-4519. We are here for anything you need.

In terms of the best time to look, I would say that the inventory is relatively steady through the year aside from a slump near the end of year holidays and through the New Year. Really the best time to look is when you are ready. Most people think Summer is the best time but this year inventory actually plummeted. The market is funny and that is why working with somebody like Rod will go a long way for you.

#3 By Christine Wong at 10/7/2015 4:32 AM

Great, I will call, but really can't focus on this until March. I will save/ hold onto the information until then. Thanks!

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