South Bay sees flurry of million-dollar homes

CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- Thousands of San Diegans are becoming millionaires just by nature of owning a home.

A new study by Trulia says million-dollar homes now make up about 11 percent of the market, which is double from this same time in 2012. San Diego County is seeing homes reach the $1 million threshold at the eighth fastest rate in the nation.

The neighborhood seeing its home values hit $1 million the fastest is Chula Vista, thanks to a planned development called Bella Lago. Misty Connelly's family bought a five bedroom home there about two and a half years ago. She said it's value has risen $300,000. It's now valued at just over $1 million. 

"We did look up north, and the quality of home you can get out there versus here, you can't do it for this price," Connelly said. 

Connelly, who made a short sale during the recession, is again a bit fearful of a housing bubble. But she's still not in the market to sell. She believes new construction just outside Bella Lago could lift the prices even more, with the custom homes starting at $1 million.

"We're hoping," she said.

Not all San Diegans can afford a million-dollar home, but any homeowner can boost their home's value for free. Mark Goldman, real estate lecturer at San Diego State University, said homeowners can do landscaping, repair holes in walls, and make sure cabinet doors, window coverings and light fixtures are working. 

He also said never to let anyone smoke inside because the smell can linger and send buyers running. 

Trulia reports that homes are also reaching the $1 million fast in the Rancho Encantado neighborhood in the hills above Miramar. 

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