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North San Diego County, California

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An Overview of Cost of Living in North County compared to other retirement places.


Age 62+ Seniors may be able to use their retirement home investment dollars to purchase a seemingly unaffordable home that has no monthly payments as long as they live there.

About California and San Diego County sales, income and real estate taxes. Information on Props. 60 & 90 that, if you are age 55 or over and presently own a home in any county in California, allow you to transfer your existing home's tax base (base-year value) to a home of equal or less value in San Diego County.


Food, Gasoline, Entertainment, Sports



This web page provides information to help you compare the cost of living in North San Diego County to that in other retirement places in the U.S.

Your actual cost of living will however, mainly depend upon your personal retirement lifestyle. 

Items that we believe may be approximately the same price or less costly than in most other areas of the U.S.:

Groceries, dining out, clothing, car repair, chiropractic care, golf and many types of entertainment may cost the same or less in North San Diego County because of extreme competition between our large numbers of similar businesses.

Heating and cooling costs are fairly low in most areas of North San Diego County (even though natural gas and electricity costs are quite high), because of our mild year-round temperatures and low summertime relative humidity.

Items that may be costlier than in many other areas of the U.S.:

The cost of gasoline, electricity, natural gas and water are usually higher than in many other areas of the U.S. Heating and cooling costs may be lower however because of our mild climates.

Housing costs are higher than in many other areas of the U.S. That's because North San Diego County's great climate, natural beauty and many things to do make it one of the nation's most popular places to live.
Please read on....



To Check Out North County's Home Choices & Price Ranges of Homes for Active Retirees
Click on-

Active Retirement Home Selections and Prices Or

Our Seniors Real Estate Specialist's Will be happy to provide you with information on North San Diego County homes that meet your personal requirements and if you wish, arrange a personal tour of homes that you select.
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- July 2016, Real Estate Prices Were Higher Compared to July 2015-
- Inventories of Homes for Sale in Senior Communities Are Still Low -  
- Interest Rates Are Also Still Low -

For July 2016:

 The median price for Single Family, Detached Houses in all of San Diego County increased by 2.9% from July, 2015's median price, to $565,000 and Condominiums increased by 12.2% to $381,000. Please see SDAR Current Stats. The Core Logic Website also provides median home price information for each county/city/area in California.

For Active Retirement Senior Communities, homes tend to be somewhat lower in price; detached home prices start in the low $300K's, attached homes in the low $200K's, manufactured homes where you own the lot, start in the high $100K's  and homes in Mobile Home Parks where you rent the lot, start at around in the $65K.

The inventory of homes for sale in Senior Communities has recently been low. Interest Rates however, continue to be at near historical record lows.

A North County Home as A Lifestyle Investment

- A north county home can be an investment in a lifestyle
that you will enjoy throughout the "Retirement Chapter" of your life -

North San Diego County offers:

   ∙ Near-perfect year-round Climates (Those who live in North San Diego County spend very
   few days sitting indoors, waiting for the weather to change- How much is that worth?).

Beautiful Coastal and hilly Inland terrain.

Hundreds of enjoyable Retirement Activities.

An huge selection of (more than 1500) fine Restaurants.

Some great Active Retirement Senior Communities.

Low Crime Rates that make it a comparatively safe place to live.

Excellent Medical Facilities .

A North County Home as a Financial Investment-


Until the market plunge that began in 2006, San Diego County real estate, like that in other parts of the country, appeared to be a good long-term financial investment (please click on Median House Prices to see a 27-year graph of San Diego Metropolitan Median Home Prices). At current home prices, that are above 2004 levels, San Diego County real estate may still be a good place to invest some of the dollars you hope to pass on to your heirs. The major benefit however, is that you will enjoy living in your investment every day. Another factor to consider is that It is reasonable to assume that demand for the limited number of homes in our Senior Communities will continue to increase as more Baby Boomers, who began reaching age 65 in 2011, retire. Also, as the economy improves, more Baby Boomers are deciding to downscale to retrieve retirement income from the equity in their present home. For more information, please see Aging in the United States- Past Present and Future ).

About the Government's Insured
Purchase Reverse Mortgage program

Age 62+ Seniors may be able to use their retirement home investment dollars to purchase a seemingly unaffordable home (that has no monthly payments as long as they live there)using a Government Insured Purchase Reverse Mortgage. The basic requirements are:

The youngest homeowner is 62 or older.

The purchased home must be a primary residence occupied within 60 days of loan closing.

Property must be a single family home or an FHA approved condo.

The difference between the purchase price of the new home and the HECM loan proceeds must be paid in cash from qualifying sources such as the sale of prior residence, home buyer’s other assets or savings.

Borrower must complete a HUD approved counseling session.

The HUD (U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development) government agency provides information for a Required Investment. For Example, a 71-year old wishing to purchase a $300,000 home would need approximately $150,575 (which includes the down payment plus an earnest deposit and closing costs). The $149,425 that is supplied under the Purchase Reverse Mortgage contract would accrue interest over time but payment would never be needed from the borrower as long as he or he/she remains in the home. The home can be a single family, up to 4-plex, manufactured home or a condo.

Purchase Reverse Mortgages have positives and negatives; you should thoroughly understand the negatives before deciding if that is for you.

You may contact Charlie Ivans (760) 291-1059 at American Financial Network, Inc.'s Escondido office, for answers to your questions regarding Home Equity Conversion Mortgages and if you desire, Charlie will help you obtain a zero payment (HECM) loan to purchase your North County retirement home.

Here are some links to Non-Mortgage Company websites that provide additional information:

New Retirement

Wikipedia (Section 1.2 HECM for Purchase)

Please read our Disclaimer.


State Income Marginal Tax Rate (2016 for couples): 1% to 12.3%.
California also charges a 1% mental health surcharge (in addition to the regular tax rate) for residents with incomes over $1 million. Social Security benefits however are not taxed in California (See States That Exempt Social Security).

Sales Tax Rate (2016): 7.5 - 10%

About California's State Real Estate Tax Laws-

An Overview of California's Real Estate Taxes-

∙ Even though home prices may seem high, California's Real Estate Tax Rate is relatively low; ranking 17th in the nation. See Real-Estate Tax Rankings.

Under Proposition 13-

The California property tax rate is 1% of the purchase price plus any bonds or special fees. If there is no new construction or change of ownership, the property cannot be reassessed and the property tax cannot be increased by more than 2% annually.

A good discussion of the details and history of Prop 13 is presented by Wikipedia .

About Propositions 60 and 90-

Proposition 60 allows transfers of base year values within the same county (intracounty). Proposition 90 allows transfers from one county to another county in California (intercounty) and it is the discretion of each county to authorize such transfers. Presently, only twelve counties have ordinances authorizing intercounty transfers. San Diego County is one of those twelve counties.

In General: If you are age 55 or over and presently own a home in any county in California, you may be able to transfer your existing home's tax base (base year value) to a home of equal or less value in San Diego County.

These propositions apply to those aged 55 or older who are selling their home and buying another of equal or lesser value.

If both the home you are selling and the home you are buying are your principal places of residence, this program allows the taxable value of the home you are selling to be transferred to the home you are buying, thereby preventing an increase in property taxes.

Therefore, if you are 55 or older, you can move to San Diego County from any other county in California and keep your present base-year value if it is less than it would be for the home you are purchasing.

You may refer to the California State Board of Equalization web pages for more details. For specific questions, please contact Ernest J. Dronenburg Jr, County Assessor (619) 531-5481.

If both the home you are selling and the home you are buying are your principal places of residence, this program allows the taxable value of the home you are selling to be transferred to the home you are buying, thereby preventing an increase in property taxes.

If you are 55 or older, you can move to San Diego County from any other county in California and keep your base-year value.

Capital Gains Tax Exclusions and Tax Rate-

The Prop. 60-90 property tax exclusions, when combined with the current Capital Gains Exclusions ($500,000 for married couples, $250,000 for singles) provide a powerful reason to sell a property and purchase another when you retire. For exact details go to IRS Publication #523 "Selling Your Home."


Winter Heating- Our winters are mild and therefore your heating utility bills may be lower than those in colder climates.

Summer cooling- Our summers are mild (especially in the Coastal and Near-Coast regions) and the relative humidity is usually low and therefore your summer cooling bills may be lower than those in warmer climates

Utilities Prices-  Below are prices some of us North San Diego County residents paid in Jan, 2016. We do not know whether or not they are typical.

Electricity (January, 2016 Rates for 549 KW-hr Baseline)- Approx. $0.096/KW-hr., August rates are $0.13/KW-hr.
Natural Gas (winter heating)- Most homes in North San Diego county are heated by natural gas. Our home is an exception however; it is heated by electricity. We were unsuccessful in finding information on the internet regarding local natural gas prices. Our winters however are very mild (please see: Climate Comparisons) and therefore your heating bill should be lower than in most other areas of the US.
Water- $4.27/CuFtX100. This is the price in one water district. Other water districts may have different prices.
Sewer and Trash- Highly dependent upon where you live in No. S.D. County.
Satellite and Cable TV- Prices start at around $35/month. A $115/month bill is probably more typical. if you want more information, please contact the suppliers for your area:

Direct TV    Dish Network    Cox Digital Cable   Timer-Warner

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We have many competitive Super Markets and many neighborhood natural foods specialty grocery stores like Trader Joes, Sprouts Farmers Market and Frazier Farms. Nearly every city also has a Certified Farmers' Market (typically, where streets are closed off and used for open air markets for one day of each week) and some cities also have Farm/Fruit Stands.
To get an better idea of local Super Market grocery prices, you may check the home delivery prices at Vons Supermarkets (a division of Safeway Stores that does not necessarily have the lowest prices):

Click-on > VONS

Pick- Browse as Guest
Browse Store (ZIP 92078 is for San Marcos, CA)
"Shop by Aisle" and keep selecting until you find the price of the item you are interested in.

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With more than 1500 restaurants to choose from you, will find that the cost of dining out is very competitive and comparable to, or less than, prices in most other US cities. if you want to compare prices yourself however, you can use the links below to compare prices in our local Applebee's and Olive Garden restaurants to those for similar items in other locations. Note: While most folks like these two restaurants, they are not necessarily the least expensive and may not offer the best food or the best value for your $.

Applebee's in San Marcos, CA (click on "Menu").
Olive Garden  (#3) in Carlsbad, CA. (click on "View Menu"

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The price of gasoline is typically higher in Southern California than in other states. You may check out the current Gasoline Prices in San Marcos, CA.

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If you are presently on Medicare, one way to estimate the cost of medical care in North San Diego County is to get a no-obligation Medicare Supplement Insurance quote and compare its cost to that in other retirement places. To do so use 92078 ZIP code and provide your name, phone #, gender and email address. Check Kaiser Permanente too! If you are not on Medicare, you may wish to contact Covered California.


Prices examples for 18 holes, range from approximately $16.00 (for Resident Seniors) at the Oceanside Golf Course to $235+ at the elegant Park Hyatt Resort Aviara golf course in Carlsbad.
Check out the prices of playing at our other Local Golf Courses.


To Request Information, Please  Contact Us Or If You Prefer-

Phone (760) 473-4647 or Email Ralph Anderson and Associates

Our Seniors Real Estate Specialists will be happy to provide you with detailed information on Available Retirement Real Estate. Ralph Anderson can help answer your questions about Active Retirement Living in North San Diego County.

- We Promise Not to Pester You with Unwanted Phone Calls or Emails! -

Disclaimer: Although we believe the information presented on this website and its links to be reliable, it is impossible to verify the accuracy of everything presented and therefore, we assume no responsibility for its use. Specifically- External links are provided as a convenience for our visitors, and are not the responsibility of, or under the control of Ralph Anderson and Associates. If you use these links, we take no responsibility and give no guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise, for the content or accuracy of these third-party sites and therefore, the application of or use of these data shall be at the sole risk and responsibility of the user and Ralph Anderson and Associates shall not be held responsible for any resulting loss or damage caused by use of such information.

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