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Making it in San Diego: Getting bang for the buck in homebuying

Posted: 2:06 PM, Feb 17, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-17 22:27:38-05
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SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The region's high housing prices can be daunting, but there is a way to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to homebuying.

San Diego realtor Mark Powell says the way to do that is by viewing properties by price per square foot. That way, even if the overall price is high, your dollars buy more house if the price per square foot is low.

"First decide what location you want, and then go for the biggest bang for the buck there," Powell said.

Powell said the price per square foot in San Diego ranges from $299 to more than $1,000.

RELATED: HUD Secretary Ben Carson visits San Diego to discuss affordable housing barriers

He says these are the best places when it comes find the best bang for the buck on single-family homes:

Rolando (92115)

El Cajon (92019; 92020; 92021; 92020)

Chula Vista (Zip Codes 91910; 91911; 91913; 91914; 91915)

These are the areas where Powell says are the best for finding condos:

Mission Valley (92108)

University City (92122)

Oceanside (92054; 92056; 92057;92058)

On a recent Friday, 10News joined Powell on a ride-along to look at some homes he identified that offer value.

A three-bedroom single-family home in Rolando was on the market for $649,000, or $299 per square foot. It was missing part of a backyard fence and lacked central air-conditioning, but had been remodeled.

RELATED: San Diego County home sales fall in January, prices remain steady

A three-bedroom townhouse in El Cajon was on the market for a minimum offer of $590,000, or $341 per square foot. It did have air conditioning, but its bathroom and kitchen fixtures had aged. Powell says those upgrade costs are minimal.

"You have to make sure the bones are good," Powell said, noting nothing is perfect and homebuyers will always identify something they consider lacking in a home.

Finally, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo in Mission Valley was on the market for $385,000, or $396 per square foot. Powell said while its price per square foot was higher than the other two, he noted its overall price tag was within reach for some single earners.

"The downside is there is limited parking," he said. "However, the parking that you do have is secure."

In December, San Diego County's median home price was $575,000, according to CoreLogic.