A Sleepy lil' Military Town No Longer.
It's Alive & Booming
Wow! What an epiphany! Having spent the past 2-3 years searching for Coastal Properties that met our buying criteria, but more specifically our wallet, I started doing some MLS searches along with driving, riding my bike and walking the streets and beaches of this rapidly gentrifying and charming surfing community.
Having lived in the North San Diego Coastal area for the past 4 decades and having spent the last 10 years enjoying our vacation home in Leucadia which is only an 11 mile drive south of Oceanside I couldn't believe what my eyes were seeing.
As a young surfer in the '60's my buddies and I would drive down "BLOOD ALLEY" the suicidal 2 lane 'Ole Coast Highway 101 (there was no I-5 in those days) to Oceanside
from Newport Beach to enjoy the uncrowded beaches and some of the best surf breaks on the SoCal Coast.
One of the highlights for we young and curious gents was the plethora of X rated movie theaters, sleazy pick up bars rife with hookers and drugs, tattoo parlors and an abundant selection of liquor stores that didn't seem to mind selling alcohol to minors.
When Janis and I moved our family to North San Diego in 1980, Oceanside hadn't really changed much and was still the predominant military town it had been since Camp Pendleton landed on the beach between Orange and San Diego County decades previously.
About the only thing that hadn't changed was the price of beach front property. Even in 1980 you couldn't find a beach front home for under a million dollars. If you could it wouldn't last more than a few days.
About the only thing that's changed today is another "0" has been added at the end of the price.
So realizing that the days of owning a home where you could merely step out of your door and land right on the sand were over for me I acquiesced and changed my buying my criteria to a more humble platitude.
Much to my amazement when I actually started on my mission in search of affordable coastal properties I was excited to see how many single family detached homes were still available within a few 10ths of a mile from the water's edge.
The condo complexes in these photos are on the famous beach front "Oceanside Strand" just steps from the beach.
But even these beautiful well designed and appointed 2-3 thousand sf condos with safe and secure underground parking are in the low to high 7 figure range and you still have to cross the strand to get to the beach.
Realizing that, I began searching a little more inland and after a couple of years of searching everywhere West of I-5 but East of Coast Highway 101, I noticed that the price points fluctuated between a low of the high 500k's to the mid to high $650-850k's.
Only problem was that even though many of these homes themselves had been beautifully remodeled and upgraded they were still in older neighborhood tracts that looked like they would not change for several years if not decades. It was just too much of a mixed bag and I didn't feel like the overall appreciation and ROI would be there for quite sometime. But it will come and for young families wanting to be closer to the coast there are still some very dood deals.
So I began to question the logic of investing that much money in an older neighborhood vs how long it would take to realize an appreciable increase in value let alone ROI.
Additionally, I was considering the value added opportunity of a long term lease/rental, VRBO, B&B or even a house trading opportunity which we have done with our other beach investments over the years.
Well, as you can see in the photos above, albeit nice homes for the average family to raise their families in, these homes don't necessarily lend themselves to that potential for a variety of reasons.
When folks travel to a beach community they want to be at or near the beach or at least feel as though they are buying into a part of the beach culture. They want to be able to walk or ride their bikes or skateboards to the beach, shops, boutiques, eating establishments, theaters, etc in a few moments.
Bottom line? If you want to be and feel a more intimate and local part of the beach lifestyle and surfing culture you may have to raise your sites and invest a little closer to the beach and be willing to step up and accept the price points you'll pay for doing so.
If that's the case then I'm here to tell you there are still opportunities West of Coast Highway 101 in Oceanside, California for under 1 million dollars. But they won't last long. In fact as the months slip by and the summer season moves upon us the hoards of Zonies and Snowbirds coupled with the influx of investors from all over the World are quickly making their moves and staking their claims for that very limited inventory for under 1 million dollars.
The 4/3 single family detached 2750sf 3 story row house with a modest ocean view from the balcony in the photo above became one of those statistics just this past month.
After looking for several months at all the options west of I-5 and realizing that none met our buying criteria Janis and I partnered with one of our daughters and purchased this home for $919,000 and felt as though we were getting a real good bargain given the very limited inventory options and the fact that we were getting that much home, that close to the beach for under 1 million dollars.
Since my daughter and her family own and run myriad surfing enterprises and participate in the international surfing arena by traveling throughout the World extensively during the summer months, which is the best time of year to rent coastal properties in San Diego, it was a no brainer given the rents for these row houses are close to $3000/week almost all year around.
Or if you want a steady year around tenant you can get upwards of $5,000/mth on a year around rent/lease arrangement. Couple that with the annual increase in appreciation and you're looking at a pretty handsome ROI.
But these opportunities won't last long. So if you have any desire to buy into the North County Coastal community don't stand on the water's edge and let that California surf pull the sand out from under your feet.
There's still some very good buys in Oceanside and the mid to South side just north of Carlsbad is the next bastion of gentrification and it's going to be just as bustling and beautiful as the North side in the very near future.