The neighborhood of City Heights in San Diego has long been a pariah for a metropolitan area that prides itself on low crime rates and cleanliness. It was considered a place to steer clear of—a staging ground for newly arrived immigrants and by no means a real estate market worth looking at.

But things have changed in a big way. Driven in large part by the “housing affordability crisis” of 2006 and the second worst median multiple in the nation (ratio of median house price to median income) many San Diegans—instead of leaving the city all together—sought refuge in real estate markets away from the coast (i.e. City Heights) where home prices were more affordable. It was not long, however, before the new residents saw the issues plaguing the area and demanded changes. City Heights soon became the most policed neighborhood in San Diego and crime dropped dramatically in the months that followed. A “renaissance” was soon declared. The increase in safety not only bolstered home sales, but gave rise to new shops and restaurants along its pedestrian friendly corridors.

Home prices in City Heights—like elsewhere in the nation—did take a substantial hit after 2007. According to, the median price of a house did bottom out at $150,000 in Q1 of 2009. The good news, however, is that ever since then the home prices have been on the rise.

One could only expect these prices to continue to rise as people begin see all that City Heights has to offer. It’s arguably the most pedestrian friendly neighborhood in the city and undoubtedly it’s most ethnically diverse. Waves of immigrants have left the neighborhood replete with ethnic eateries from around the world, while newer residents have made their mark with nightlife spots like The Beauty Bar and Last Call. And though amenities within the neighborhood abound, its position near the University Avenue transit corridor make it easy to get downtown and to connect to trolley stops in Mission Valley. City Heights is coming up in a big way and demands notice for anyone looking at real estate market in San Diego.

Gentrification—and the increase in property values that accompany it—has happened elsewhere in San Diego in recent decades (think Downtown). So don’t wait—now might be the prime time to get into City Heights before it becomes the next big thing and its home values skyrocket!

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This is filed under Neighborhood Trends.

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