<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=393844004297141&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
  • +1 (619) 8874429
  • Contact Us

A Hidden Gem: How to Find Affordable Houses in San Diego

A recent study revealed that nearly 59% of homes in San Diego cost over $1 million. In recent months, home values in the area have crept up even higher. Now, the median listing price is hovering around $910,000.

Many are left wondering where to find affordable houses in San Diego. The good news is these elusive unicorns exist; you just have to know where to find them.

This guide will help you do just that. First, we'll discuss why San Diego home prices are so lofty. Then, we'll dive into our top tips for finding affordable neighborhoods and houses.

Why Is the San Diego Cost of Living So High?

San Diego is home to some of the world's most beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, and an enviable climate. These factors make for high demand, driving up home prices.

Another culprit is the local luxury market. San Diego is home to more than 100,000 millionaire households. The area's uber-rich have long driven up home prices and the overall cost of living.

The Most Affordable San Diego Neighborhoods

Despite all the money floating around San Diego, savvy buyers can still find an affordable place to call home. The hunt begins in the city's most affordable neighborhoods.

Here are the most affordable neighborhoods in San Diego, featuring median home values under $800,000.

City Heights

City Heights is an inland neighborhood located east of Balboa Park. Properties go for a median sales price of around $750,000, making it one of the cheaper areas in San Diego.

The cost of living in the area is comparatively low, too. Residents can easily access public transportation, grocery stores, and affordable eating. Perfect for families, City Heights is steps away from parks, events, and much more.

Mission Valley

Mission Valley is a smaller residential area located along Highway 8. It's a short drive from Mission Beach, so it may surprise you that properties here sell for a median of $700,000. The majority of the area's properties are condos and townhomes.

The neighborhood is close to many of San Diego's best attractions, including the University of San Diego, SeaWorld, and the San Diego Zoo. Mission Valley is also convenient to tourist areas like Coronado and downtown San Diego.

Barrio Logan

Barrio Logan is a small neighborhood just south of downtown San Diego. It offers views of the San Diego Bay and is convenient to Coronado. You may not expect this area to have affordable homes, but the median home price is an incredible $495,000.

Home to multiple Naval facilities, Barrio Logan is the perfect place for military families. It's also a thriving arts district, with local artist studios and galleries galore. Barrio Logan also has a Chicano heritage as the home of Chicano Park.

Paradise Hills

Paradise Hills is a landlocked neighborhood in southeastern San Diego. It is just north of Chula Vista, a popular affordable suburb. The area has a median home price of around $700,000.

Families love Paradise Hills for its ample parks and outdoor spaces. The area offers beautiful views of lush, rolling hills and a friendly, community-like environment. Despite its suburban feel, this neighborhood is convenient to urban amenities and entertainment options.

Oak Park

Oak Park is a landlocked neighborhood east of central San Diego. It's convenient to the nearby San Diego State University. This neighborhood features median home values of around $650,000.

Diverse, outdoorsy, and featuring college town-like vibes, Oak Park is a popular area to call home. One of the main attractions is Chollas Lake Park, a 16-acre lake and a 2.3-mile hiking trail complex in the middle of Oak Park.


The Rolando area comprises the neighborhoods of Rolando Village and Rolando Park. The two neighborhoods are just northeast of Oak Park and part of San Diego's mid-city region. The median home price in the area is $850,000.

Quiet and mostly residential, the Rolando area is home to only one urban street: El Cajon Boulevard. The neighborhoods are also known for their quaint bungalow-style homes and rolling landscapes.

Tips for Finding Affordable Houses in San Diego

There are many strategies for finding cheap houses, from bidding on foreclosures and participating in short sales to leveraging special programs offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

However, these strategies aren't always successful in San Diego. Instead, try these tips to find your affordable dream home.

Do an Off-Market Deal

Off-market deals are homes that aren't listed on the real estate market. They could be off-market because the owner hasn't considered selling or doesn't know how to advertise their home effectively.

Finding off-market homes is the challenge. But if you're up for it, you could be in for serious savings. Check out this post on our blog to learn more about finding off-market deals in San Diego.

Consider the Burbs

Moving into the greater San Diego area can save you some serious bucks on housing. Some of the most affordable San Diego suburbs to search for are:

  • Chula Vista: A beachfront suburb close to the border of Baja California that boasts median home values of only $731,000
  • Escondido: A land-locked suburb of northern San Diego featuring median home values of $839,000
  • East County: A large suburban area consisting of Santee, El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, and Spring Valley with median home values of $895,000

This is only a sampling of the deals you can get in the San Diego burbs. So, don't be afraid to expand your search if you can't find the right property within the city limits.

Work With a San Diego Realtor

With the rise of home search platforms, many prospective buyers believe they don't need a realtor. But working with a local realtor is one of the best ways (if not the best) to find affordable homes.

Local realtors have the networks, knowledge, and skills to find your dream San Diego home. If you want to leverage these benefits and more, Team Steele can help.

Team Steele Knows Where the Affordable Houses Are

Affordable houses in San Diego are diamonds in the ruff. Start your search off right in the cheapest San Diego neighborhoods and suburbs. Working with a realtor and considering off-market deals can also help.

Looking for a local San Diego realtor you can trust? Team Steele has over ten years of experience helping people find their perfect San Diego property. Contact Team Steele to start your search.

Monthly Newsletter