Series: City Guides

Price Guide: Average Rent in San Diego

Posted on Nov 24, 2020

Dubbed "America's Finest City," San Diego is known for its fantastic food, culture, beaches, public schools, and career opportunities. It's a great place to visit, build a life, and raise children.

If you're planning to relocate to San Diego, it's important to do your research first. This means checking our different neighborhoods in San Diego, scoping out job prospects, and evaluating the cost of living. Figuring out rent prices can give you an idea of how much square footage you can afford in California's southernmost city.

So, how much is rent in San Diego? Zeus Living put together a price guide for living in the coastal city. Read on for a detailed breakdown of the average rent in San Diego, including different apartment sizes and rentals in various neighborhoods.

Average Apartment Rent in San Diego

The average rent in San Diego is about $2,250 for a two-bedroom apartment, $1,800 for a one-bedroom, and $1,500 for a studio apartment. The median rent is closer to $1,900 a month. These rates have increased slightly year over year. Since 2019, two-bedroom apartments have gone up by 4%, and the price of one-bedroom apartments rose by 1%. Studios are about the same as last year.

Rent prices in San Diego are based on a variety of factors, including amenities, the quality of fixtures and finishes, and square footage. The average apartment size is just under 900 square feet. Still, this number can vary drastically depending on the type of rental property, when the building was built, and its location.

San Diego Rent Prices by Neighborhood

San Diego rent prices vary by neighborhood. Some of the most affordable areas to rent are Valencia Park, Skyline, Emerald Hills, Encanto, Jamacha-Lomita, Alta Vista, and Broadway Heights. Apartments in these communities go for an average of about $1,000 a month, well below the average rent in San Diego. Southcrest, Shelltown, and Mountain View can also be cost-effective, with home rentals closer to $1,200 a month.

Mid-range neighborhoods include Rancho Bernardo, Pacific Highlands Ranch, University City, Mira Mesa, Columbia, Cortez, East Village, Downtown San Diego, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla, which are typically priced between $2,100 to $2,600 a month. However, apartment rents in La Jolla appear to be increasing somewhat rapidly. 2020 saw a 5% uptick on the average price from last year.

The city's most expensive neighborhoods include Torrey Hills, North City, and Carmel Valley. Renting an apartment in these highly sought-after communities costs around $2,850 on average. That said, the most popular rental district in the San Diego area is University City, as it sits next to UCSD (University of California, San Diego). After that, it's Mira Mesa, followed by Ocean View Hills and Point Loma Heights, the latter two of where tenants pay about $2,000 a month. The location of these neighborhoods is convenient, as they are close to some of the best companies to work for in San Diego.

The San Diego Rental Market

Roughly 40% of households in San Diego are occupied by renters, which comes out to about 200,000 apartments. The remaining 60% (or around 300,000 households) are occupied by homeowners. In most neighborhoods, the rental and real estate markets are competitive.

On average, there are about 5,000 homes available for rent in the city on any given day, including apartments, condos, and houses. The most common listing is one-bedroom spaces, with a little over 2,000 on the market. Four-bedroom apartments are the least common listing type, with under 200 available on average.

Around 60% of rental listings in San Diego go for upwards of $2,000 a month, and apartments between $1,501 and $2,000 a month take up 32% of the market share. Roughly 6% lease for $1,001 to $1,500 a month, and just 2% go for $1,000 or less.

Cost of Living in San Diego

Aside from rent or a mortgage payment, the cost of living in San Diego is dependent on a number of factors and varies from person to person. However, the following values can help you crunch the numbers to determine how much it would cost for you to live there.

The average household income in the metro area is $104,000 a year, and the median income is about $75,000. Not including rent, the monthly costs for a family of four in San Diego come out to an estimated $3,500. For a single person, it's closer to $1,000. For most households, monthly utility costs are around $150, not including cable, internet, and phone.

Gym memberships are $45 a month on average, but they can be much higher at boutique fitness studios. Childcare is about $1,150 a month. A metro pass runs from $70 to $100, though most people in San Diego County drive cars. Gasoline is close to $4 a gallon, but it fluctuates throughout the year. Parking costs can add up, too, depending on where you live and work.

Some of the best places to eat in San Diego can be expensive, depending on your taste. A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant will cost you an average of $75. Pints of beer are about $7, and lattes are around $4. Though the tap water is clean and safe to drink, many San Diego residents prefer filtered or bottled water, which is about $1.75 for a small bottle. A gallon of milk costs $4 on average, a carton of eggs is around $3.50, and a loaf of bread is about $3. The price of groceries and dining out might not be enough to sway your decision to move. And yet it's good to have an idea of the cost of food because it can add up quickly.

With a cost of living index of 76.82, San Diego is ranked 98th out of 562 cities throughout the world. While it's more expensive than many other metropolitan areas, the cost of living in San Diego is nearly 25% lower than in New York City. Rent is about 36% lower than New York's average. San Diego is also more affordable than Los Angeles, San Jose, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Short-Term Rentals in San Diego from Zeus Living

Whether it's across the country or within the same state, the decision to relocate shouldn't be taken lightly. Even when you've done your research on average monthly rent prices and the cost of living, it can be hard to know when to move and which neighborhood is best—especially if you've never been to a city or haven't spent much time there.

Some people opt to make several trips before committing to a move. But this can be costly and might not be the most practical with a family. Have you considered temporary housing? A short-term rental can give you a real sense of what it's like to live in an unfamiliar city. And unlike hotels, you'll have peace of mind knowing you've got a home there. As soon as you walk through the door, you can start living like a local, exploring all the fun things to do in San Diego , and envisioning your future there.

Finding an affordable house or apartment in a new city can be an overwhelming process, but spending some time there can help you figure out your best options. If you're unsure about relocating to America's Finest City, we encourage you to check out our fully furnished rentals in San Diego, which are ideal for extended stays.

With the thoughtfully furnished housing from Zeus Living, you can make yourself at home for weeks or even months. From contemporary lofts and studios to stunning one- and two-bedroom apartments, we have comfortable San Diego rental in all sizes and styles. And our listings are more affordable than extended hotel stays.

Plus, with easy check-in, extendable reservations, and no hidden fees, you can book your stay with confidence. We're proud to say our cleaning standards follow CDC guidelines.

We want to help you make the best decision for yourself, your family, and your future. Please reach out to us with any questions about our San Diego listings. We're just a phone call or email away!

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