10 Cheapest Neighborhoods in San Diego

By PropertyClub Team
May 24th 2024
Like in many other California cities, the cost of living in San Diego can quickly soar to extraordinary heights. This list of the ten cheapest neighborhoods in San Diego will help you find the most affordable places to live in the city.

hash-mark10 Cheapest Neighborhoods in San Diego

  1. Mission Valley
  2. National City
  3. Mountain View 
  4. Lemon Grove
  5. Normal Heights
  6. City Heights
  7. Santee
  8. Chula Vista
  9. Linda Vista
  10. Serra Mesa

hash-mark1. Mission Valley 

The cheapest neighborhood in San Diego is Mission Valley. Situated in the bustling heart of the city, Mission Valley is bordered by the San Diego River to the north, I-8 to the south, I-805 to the west, and Mission Gorge Road to the east. It is home to about 7,000 residents, all of whom prefer the area for its assortment of high-end shopping, fine dining, and lively urban entertainment. The most popular attraction in this area is the San Diego River Trail, which offers residents ample opportunities for walking and biking along the San Diego River. Home values in Mission Valley average $634k, making it the most affordable place to live in San Diego. Mission Valley is also at the center of everything San Diego has to offer. 

hash-mark2. National City 

The second cheapest place to live in San Diego is National City. This neighborhood is situated just south of the San Diego city limits and is bordered by both San Diego Bay and Chula Vista. It is particularly known for its rich history, well-preserved Victorian-style architecture, and abundant local parks – all of which make it a popular area among San Diego families. And, with only a 10-minute drive to downtown San Diego, it is also a great option for commuters and business professionals. Home values in National City average at $650k, making it the second-most affordable area in the city. 

hash-mark3. Mountain View 

Mountain View is also among the cheapest neighborhoods in San Diego. Located in the southeastern section of San Diego, Mountain View is a diverse community that's home to about 50,000 residents. It's known for its laid-back atmosphere, community spirit, and gorgeous views of the San Miguel Mountains. It's also very affordable compared to the rest of San Diego. The median home price in Mountain View is $665,000, which is 37% lower than the citywide median. 

hash-mark4. Lemon Grove 

Located about 9 miles east of downtown San Diego is Lemon Grove, another one of the city’s most affordable places to live. Named after its abundance of lemon groves, this area is home to over 27,000 people and is a popular choice among San Diego families. In particular, this area is beloved for its rich history, safe streets, and diverse local community, which help keep its atmosphere both friendly and welcoming. This area also hosts the annual Lemon Grove Community Festival, featuring the best local live music, food, and vendors. Home values in Lemon Grove average $714k, making it an affordable and inviting area for San Diego families. 

hash-mark5. Normal Heights

Normal Heights is another one of the most affordable neighborhoods in San Diego. Located only 7 miles from downtown, this neighborhood is ideal for those who want to live close to everything the city center has to offer. It is home to a diverse community of roughly 31,000 people, who are drawn to the area for its variety of architectural styles, trend-setting cuisine, and vibrant arts scene. Favorite hotspots within this neighborhood include Adams Avenue, a street packed with restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops, and Ward Canyon Neighborhood Park, which provides abundant family-friendly outdoor recreation. Home values in Normal Heights average at $726k, keeping it an affordable part of the San Diego cityscape.

hash-mark6. City Heights

City Heights is another one of the most affordable neighborhoods in San Diego. The sprawling neighborhood is located in the northeastern part of the city, south of Mission Valley and north of Balboa Park. Its home to over 65,000 people and contains 14 smaller sub-neighborhoods, such as Azalea Park, Colina Del Sol and Islenair. The area is famous for its diversity, authentic restaurants and melting pot culture.  It's a major creative and commercial hub for San Diego that's known for its unique boutiques and beautiful street art. It's also very affordable and features a median home price of $740,000. 

hash-mark7. Santee 

Santee is one of the cheapest areas in San Diego for those who prefer to live a little further away from the bustle of city life. Located in the eastern part of San Diego County, this area is known for its family-oriented atmosphere, outdoor recreation, and abundant natural scenery. It provides its roughly 60,000 residents with the best of suburban living, which includes amenities such as the Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve, the Santee Trolley Square shopping center, and year-round festivals and events. With local home values averaging $757k, Santee is a truly well-rounded San Diego suburb. 

hash-mark8. Chula Vista 

Chula Vista is one of the cheapest San Diego suburbs. In addition to being one of the most affordable places to live in the San Diego metropolitan area, Chula Vista is also one of the largest. Located roughly 9.7 miles from the city center, this area is home to about 277,000 people, making it the second-largest city in the San Diego metropolitan area. Despite its size, this diverse community maintains a safe, family-friendly atmosphere, with a crime rate roughly 42% below the state average. Other draws to the area include its world-class shopping and dining scene, live music venues, and abundance of outdoor recreational spaces. Home values in Chula Vista average close to $802k, making it ideal for San Diego homebuyers. 

hash-mark9. Linda Vista

Linda Vista is one of the cheapest neighborhoods in San Diego for those interested in a truly urban environment. Situated about 6 miles from downtown, this thriving area is convenient to the city’s best amenities, including high-end retailers, diverse cuisine, and bustling local entertainment. Additionally, the neighborhood is home to the University of San Diego and the Linda Vista Skate Park, both of which give the resident base a youthful spirit. With home prices in this area averaging $807k, Linda Vista is an affordable option among San Diego individuals. 

hash-mark10. Serra Mesa 

Just east of Linda Vista is Serra Mesa, another one of the cheapest places to live in San Diego. Known for its hilly terrain, this neighborhood offers its nearly 33,000 residents stunning views of the surrounding area. This, combined with the area’s abundance of local parks, preserves, and other greenspaces, makes Serra Mesa a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Other attractive features of this neighborhood include its peaceful atmosphere and relatively affordable home values, which average close to $899k. Overall, Serra Mesa is the most cost-effective area for scenic views of San Diego’s surrounding area.