I want to introduce you to the community of Stone Ridge in Mission Viejo, CA. It sits on a high crest with views for miles around. To the west it looks over the valley, with some distance ocean views. To the east, you see the Saddleback Mountains with a lush valley and preserved wilderness parks in between. These were the last homes to be built within the city limits.
It has a 24 hr guard gated entrance, walking and hiking trails that can take you 10 miles from home. Most streets within the community are single load streets and all the slopes are maintained by the association. Houses range in size from 2,400 sqft. to over 4,000 sq. ft. and are 2 to 3 levels. The third floor is a bonus area in most, though some have been made into a 6th bedroom with bath. All have at least 2 car garages and some have 3.
One of the amenities that comes with living there is the privilege of belonging to Mission Viejo Lake Association which has swimming, fishing, boating, 2 sandy beaches, picnic area under large trees, BBQs, Club house, boat parking lot, free concerts in the summer and all within walking distance of your home.
As for the pricing of this area, it has dropped just like everything else. In 2006 almost every house sold for over $1,000,000 and some as high as $1,300,000. There are 3 now selling for below that and none over $1,000,000. Most are standard sales, with1 short sales. Available right now are houses between 2,300 sq. ft. & 4,100 sq. ft. with 3 to 5 bedrooms, 3 to 4 baths.
Driving time to the Pacific Ocean is 40 minutes and to the mountains with snow for skiing is 1 hr.