Deciphering America's Finest City: An In-Depth Exploration of the Pros and Cons of Relocating to San Diego, California

Deciphering America's Finest City: An In-Depth Exploration of the Pros and Cons of Relocating to San Diego, California

  • Kelly Macdonald
  • 01/4/24

Let's embark on a comprehensive journey to unravel the intricacies of calling San Diego home.

San Diego, the second-largest city in California, stands as one of the nation's most enticing urban destinations. Nestled within a diverse geographical tapestry that encompasses beaches, hills, canyons, and inland wonders, it captivates nature lovers and urban enthusiasts alike. As a bustling metropolitan hub, San Diego attracts young professionals seeking the perfect blend of social vibrancy and natural beauty.

However, like any city, the appeal of San Diego may not resonate with everyone. For those contemplating a move to this Californian gem, a comprehensive understanding of the city's pros and cons can significantly influence the decision-making process.

 Let's dive into the pros and cons of making the move to this coastal paradise.

Living in San Diego, CA: The Positives

Advantage: The Weather is Fantastic, Of Course.

  • San Diego boasts a Mediterranean-style climate, offering warm summers and moderate winters.
  • With temperatures rarely exceeding 85 degrees, the city provides a year-round haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Testimonials highlight the positive impact of San Diego's climate on mental health and overall well-being.

Advantage: There's a Plethora of Activities

  • San Diego offers a diverse range of entertainment options, from live theatre and music to museums and nightclubs. Foodies enjoy a huge variety of top restaurants (and especially amazing Mexican-inspired food).
  • Notable attractions include the world-renowned San Diego Zoo, the Gaslamp District, Balboa Park, and world-class beaches and golf courses.
  • Beach lovers flock to San Diego for its surfing, boating, paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling, sunbathing and vibrant coastal atmosphere.

Advantage: Strong Education & Job Market

  • San Diego's job market is robust, with favorable conditions across various industries. The unemployment rate is just 4.1% and average salary is around $80,000.
  • Key sectors such as healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, transportation, and military/defense offer ample opportunities for employment.
  • With three major universities (UCSD, SDSU, USD), education is a large sector in San Diego. University of California San Diego (UCSD) was ranked  No. 3 public university in the United States, No. 17 in the world.

Advantage: Variety of Vibes

  • With over 100 distinct neighborhoods, residents can experience different cultures and immerse themselves in a community that suits their lifestyle. Check out our Neighborhood Guides here.
  • Known for its laid-back & inclusive atmosphere, San Diego caters to a diverse demographic, from young professionals to retirees.

Advantage: A Great Place to Invest in Real Estate

  • San Diego's real estate market has demonstrated historical stability and appreciation. Averaging 6-13% year-over-year growth, San Diegans can reap significant rewards thru homeownership & equity growth.




Living in San Diego, CA: The Challenges

Challenge: The Cost of Living is High

  • San Diego was recently named the most expensive place to live in the United States.
  • Average rent exceeds $2,900 per month, and the average home price soared above $950,000 in 2023.
  • Gas prices in San Diego are considerably higher than the national average, with an average of $4.70 per gallon.

Challenge: California Taxes (aka the Sunshine Tax)

  • California residents face the highest income tax rates in the country, with a staggering average of 8-10% income tax.
  • Property taxes: On average, San Diego property taxes equal 1.25% of the purchase price.

Challenge: Traffic & Congestion Woes

  • Despite being a city of walkable neighborhoods, San Diego's vast expanse (over 4,000 square miles) often requires residents to own cars. However, San Diego was Ranked No. 1 for lowest average commute times among peer cities
  • Finding parking, especially in apartment complexes or downtown neighborhoods, can be time-consuming and costly & San Diego's Public Transit System covers only about 570 of the city's more than 4,000 square miles.
  • With more than 1.37 million people, San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and the second-largest in California.


The decision to move to San Diego involves navigating a complex interplay of factors. With a detailed understanding of the statistics, individuals can weigh the considerable advantages against the potential challenges, ensuring a well-informed choice based on personal priorities and preferences. For further questions about relocating to San Diego, feel free to email us any time. 


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Our vast understanding of San Diego and its array of diverse cities gives our clients a genuine advantage when deciding where to live. At the beach? In the city? On a ranch? The choices are endless. We’re available for you 7 days a week, please contact us so we can get started!