The San Diego Union Tribune released an article today saying that La Jolla is the most expensive housing market in the United States, for the second year in a row. La Jolla is a wonderful place to live, and homes there are expensive, but even here in San Diego there are neighborhoods that where house prices often meet or exceed the La Jolla house values. How do Del Mar homes or Coronado homes compare in price?
The Union Trib’s report is based upon an index of home values compiled annually by Coldwell Banker. The “Coldwell Banker Home Price Comparison Index” looks at values of homes in 340 markets across the United States. Prices are linked to the recent sale prices of homes with 4 bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms and 2,200 square feet. Coldwell Banker says that this size of home is “typical for middle-management transferees.” As a real estate broker, I’m not exactly sure what that means. Are mid-level managers likely to be buying these homes or selling these homes? Well, no matter.
Another side note: The San Diego Union Tribune article stated that the Coldwell Banker rankings were based upon homes with 4 bedrooms and 3 ½ baths. That’s a nice layout for a home with around 3,000 square feet, but sounds like a whole lot of rooms and bathrooms for a house that has only 2,200 square feet. Since it was a nationwide survey, I was left thinking that I sure must be ignorant about house floor plans in other parts of the United States. Where do they put that extra bathroom? But instead, it was just a typo by the Union Tribune staff writer in charge of real estate topics, Roger Showley.
Moving on to the point of the article… Does La Jolla really have the highest-priced houses in the United States? For two years in a row, Coldwell Banker says yes. In 2009, La Jolla homes in this category averaged $2,125,000, which is an increase of 16.6% over 2008 prices. Beverly Hills ranked number 2, with an average price of $1,981,750, an increase of 11.1% over 2008 prices. Runners-up were Greenwich Connecticut $1,519,250 (down 15%), Palo Alto $1,489,726 (down 14.4%), Santa Monica $1,460,912 (down 11.6%), San Francisco $1,363,250 (down 9.9%), and Boston $1,337,578 (down 10.5%).
So how do Del Mar, Coronado, Miami Beach, Nantucket, and other high-priced markets compare? Well, they don’t. They aren’t included on the Coldwell Banker list. I’d imagine that there was a minimum population requirement in order to qualify. La Jolla has somewhere in the neighborhood of 42,000 residents, while Coronado has only about 24,100 and Del Mar has only about 4,500. Nantucket has about 10,000 residents in the winter, but as many as 50,000 during the summer.
Returning to the numbers provided, I searched the San Diego MLS to see if 4 bedroom, 2 ½ bedroom houses for sale in La Jolla are really selling for an average of $2,125,000.
La Jolla Houses
For all of 2009, the San Diego MLS shows three sales of 4 bedroom houses with between 2 and 3 bathrooms and 2,100-$2,300 square feet. The average sale price was $1,725,000, with the high price $2,450,000 and the low price $1,175,000. There are three active listings of homes for sale in La Jolla, with asking prices $1,595,000, $2,450,000, and $9,500,000. The $9.5 Million is for a La Jolla house for sale at 8330 Preswick. The average list price is $4,541,667, so if 8330 Preswick sells, La Jolla can probably expect to be back at the top of the Coldwell Banker list in 2010.
Del Mar Houses
Moving on to Del Mar, so far in 2009 there have been seven homes sold in this 4-bedroom size category. The average sale price was $1,255,429, with a high price of $2,350,000 and a low price of $635,000. Yes, there was a bank foreclosure property in Del Mar with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and 2,167 square feet which sold for just $635,000 at 13183 Portofino. No, Portofino Street isn’t the best street in Del Mar, but any 4-bedroom house in Del Mar for $635,000 is a steal, even in today’s market!
Looking at Coronado, there have been such 2 houses sold in 2009 in Coronado zip code 92118. One was $875,000 (36 Catspaw) and the other was $1 Million (52 Port of Spain), for an average $937,500. The two active listings in this house category are one of the lowest priced homes in Coronado at 92 Trinidad (priced at $1,025,000) and 356 D Avenue (priced at $1,495,000).
After all that, without knowing the average sale prices of houses in some smaller upscale communities around the United States, using the parameters described above it is true that La Jolla remains the most expensive market for homes in San Diego. And La Jolla certainly does have a lot to offer. But I would argue that, for the money, Del Mar, Coronado, and even Rancho Santa Fe deserve a close look from any prospective buyers of luxury homes in San Diego.