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Moving to San Diego: Relocation Guide

Are you considering moving to San Diego? San Diego is one of the second largest cities in California and great for both house or business relocation. The city has mild weather and warm climates for people who enjoy the beach and sport life.


It is a true paradise and a great place for house relocation as it contains universities, schools, packs, and more. Some of the best places to live in San Diego include Coronado, Camel Valley, Upmarket, and other areas where residents can enjoy both historic and modern life with great scenes.


Although the cost of living in San Diego is high, all cities in California are higher than those in cities like Florida, Newyork, and more.

Moving to San Diego

Quick San Diego Facts:

San Diego cost of living is cheaper than both San Francisco and Los Angeles. The city has a vibrant research, manufacturing, international trade, defense, and tourism industry, so there are many available jobs. There are miles of beautiful beaches. Many popular attractions. The climate is nice and idyllic.

San Diego and the surrounding areas saw a growth in population from 500 in 1850 to 17,700 in 1900. 50 years later, the population had grown to 334,387. In 2019, it was estimated that the population was as much as 1,423,851.

Home to more than 100 different neighborhoods, a number of different parks, and an agricultural preserve, San Diego has something for everyone.

  • Population: 1,540,000 (2020 estimate)
  • English (de facto) with Spanish or Spanish Creole, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Cambodian which is spoken by at least 1.3% .
  • GDP Per Capita: $61,776 USD (2019, forecasted)
  • Currency: US Dollar (US$). As of August 2020, £1 = $1.33, €1 = $1.19, $1 CAD = $0.76, $1 AUD = $0.73

San Diego Relocation Highlights

Relocation to San Diego is always a good idea. This family-centric city offers affordable living, high income, low crime, access to water sports, an outdoor lifestyle, very good universities, diverse neighborhoods, many road trips, reasonable traffic, good food and drinks, and great year-round weather makes this a very good city to live. Make the move to the city. Living in San Diego is sure to be a pleasant experience.

  • San Diego is home to a deepwater port and shipbuilding yards. Home to the world’s largest naval fleet, around 15,000 local businesses rely on contracts with the Department of Defense.
  • San Diego is thought to be a fairly safe area with 15% lower crime figures than many other cities in the country.
  • San Diego has one of the highest median household incomes in the country, at $75,357
  • San Diego is one of the least expensive places to live in the state, with monthly rent averaging around $2,237 and the average home cost sitting at $679.600.
  • With a lot of commuting options thanks to the SR 94, and a relatively low poverty rate of less than 14%. San Diego is one of the least stressed cities in California.
  • San Diego offers those who live here a mild climate with approximately 140 days of sun every year.
  • The area is proudly home to almost 500 different species of birds and is known to be one of the countries most “Birdiest” areas.

Cost of Living

Take a look at the chart below for an idea of the cost of living in San Diego. It compared key areas like the monthly rent, utilities, groceries, and transportation. The chart compares the San Diego cost of living with other cities in the state and some major metropolitan areas in the country. This is only a general indicator as the price will always vary depending on the neighborhood.

You will see, house rent in the city is much cheaper than San Francisco, and slightly cheaper than LA. Yes, utilities cost more, but both monthly groceries and transportation are cheaper. So overall, shifting base to San Diego is a good move.

City Monthly Rent (Apartment) Utilities Monthly Groceries* Monthly Transportation* Increase/decrease (Rent & utilities)
San Diego $2,237 $200 109.8 120.20 ***
New York $3,323 $145.55 116.6 140.70 +$1058.95
Los Angeles $2,524 $110 104.1 165.30 +$236.50
Seattle $2,169 $115 108.7 137.50 -$136.70
Chicago $1,963 $191 97.2 138.50 -$277.20
San Francisco $3,629 $154 116.6 158.20 +$1,390.90
Boston $3,432 $147.15 111.4 131.80 +$1,155.45

*Where national average is 100. Please note, all of the above figures are averages.

Best Places to Live

Here are the top eight places to live in San Diego in 2020.

PlaceAffordabilityCultureSafetyJob Market Education
Carmel Valley7 out of 109.5 out of 108 out of 108 out of 1010 out of 10
Torrey Hills7 out of 109 out of 1010 out of 108 out of 1010 out of 10
Rancho Bernardo7 out of 109.5 out of 107.5 out of 108 out of 1010 out of 10
Del Mar Mesa7 out of 109.5 out of 1010 out of 108 out of 1010 out of 10
Solana Beach10 out of 109 out of 107 out of 108 out of 1010 out of 10
Torrey Pines8.5 out of 109.5 out of 108.5 out of 109 out of 1010 out of 10
Rancho Penasquitos10 out of 1010 out of 108.5 out of 108 out of 10 10 out of 10
University City6.5 out of 109.5 out of 108 out of 107.5 out of 10 9 out of 10

Finding the right place to live in San Diego may not be easy. However, making a note of what you want can help you determine which area is right for you.

  • Torrey Pines and Rancho Penasquitos are the safest areas
  • Carmel Valley, Rancho Bernardo, Del Mar Mesa, and Torrey Pines are cultural hot spots.
  • The schools are known for being very good in all of the above areas of San Diego.
  • Torrey Pines has the best job market.
  • Solana Beach and Rancho Penasquitos are the most affordable areas.
San Diego Areas

San Diego Areas

A little more about each area:

Carmel Valley – Carmel Valley is an area that is comprised of a lot of hotels, offices, and homes. The Valley’s name is derived from the Carmelite Sisters of Mercy who established a monastery and a farm here in the early 20th century. Considered to be one of the newest neighborhoods, Carmel Valley is known for its exceptional schools and colleges.
Torrey Hills - Originally known as “Sorrento Hills”, Torrey Hills was renamed in 2001 and is known for offering good access to the 56 freeway. Thought to be fully built, this neighborhood is full of a lot of coffee shops and parks making it ideal for young professionals.
Rancho Bernardo – Thought to be the ideal neighborhood for those who are retired and families, Rancho Bernardo is full of rolling hills and canyons. Home to an annual carnival and the area’s oldest winery, the areas also houses a lot of corporate headquarters.
Del Mar Mesa – Developed in the early 2000s, and containing more than 90 acres of protected habitat, Del Mar Mesa is also home to some stunning archaeological finds. With an average age of 38 years, this neighborhood is considered to be ideal for families.
Solana Beach – Solana Beach is a coastal neighborhood that is home to the Eden Gardens and many seals. Close to Interstate 5, the area has an urban feel and is ideal for young families.
Torrey Pines – Considered to be a laid back community, Torrey Pines is home to a lot of offices and even more parks and open spaces. This makes it ideal for those who love the outdoors. With highly-rated local schools, the area also has a lot of entertainment facilities.
Rancho Penasquitos – Full of equestrian trails in addition to biking and hiking trails, Rancho Penasquitos’ name derives from the name of the 1st Mexican land grant in the area. Those who live in this neighborhood will need to depend on their cars as public transportation isn’t what it could be.
University City – University City is bordered by Miramar and La Jolla. Home to railroad tracks that pass through Rose Canyon, the area is typically residential and is ideal for families. Home to many bird species, and vernal pools, this neighborhood could be the right neighborhood for you if you love the outdoors.

Living in San Diego – Housing Costs

Take a look at the cost and pricing for an estimate of the cost of living in San Diego. The table here compares how much annual salary you will need to purchase a median-priced home in one of the metro areas of the city.

A little lower in this section, you will also find many useful tips that will help you plan the move smoothly.

AreaYearly SalaryDifference
San Diego$116,119.96***
San Francisco$171,344.76+$55,224.80
Seattle$93,418.01-$22,701.95
Los Angeles$115,068.77-$1,065.19
Chicago$62,731.35-$53,388.61
New York City $99,151.22-$16,968.74
Boston$97,465.24-$18,654.72

There is a difference between median price and average price. Median price refers to the middle price point of the homes that are on sale. Which means that, half of the homes will cost more than this, and the other half will cost less.

Planning to buy a home in San Diego? Consider the following before deciding.

  • Size of your home – the number of bedrooms;
  • Home with or without yard;
  • Will you require a balcony?
  • Will you be living in San Diego with or without family?
  • Location – close to a park, school, transportation links?
  • Distance to the place of work, shopping malls, stores, cinemas;
  • Do you need to live close to a park?
  • Your neighborhood preference;
  • Home with or without a garage?

Give it a deep thought. Buying a home is the biggest investment most people will make in their lives. Consider everything before deciding.

Moving Costs

Moving costs may vary from state to state and moving company to moving company. Moving soon? Get an online moving quote from San Diego Movers. Below are shipping costs from major cities to San Diego.

  • Australia (Sydney) – $1,156+
  • Canada (Vancouver) – $565+
  • Dubai – $3,030+
  • Hong Kong – $1,195+
  • Ireland (Dublin) – $1,742+
  • Los Angeles – $155+
  • New York City – $525+
  • New Zealand (Auckland) – $1,823+
  • Singapore – $2,003+
  • UK (London) – $1,508+

The above costs should give you a rough idea of cost of moving to San Diego but perhaps the tips below will help to ensure your move is a smoother one.

How to reduce your moving costs

There are many ways in which you can reduce the cost of a relocation to San Diego. Here are some useful tips that will save you money.

  • Declutter your home – Make a list of everything you don’t need in your new home. We accumulate a lot of stuff that we don’t require anymore. So arrange a garage sale or sell them online. You can part-finance the move to San Diego with this money. Also, you save money if you have less items to move.
  • Donate everything that cannot be sold. Find thrift shops in your area where you can donate them. Get a receipt so you get income tax rebates.
  • Get free boxes – Did you know that the shopping malls and stores have a lot of boxes that they just throw away or sell at cheap prices? Get these boxes and use them for storing your stuff. You will save money.
  • Pick the right time – Early morning is a good time for moving because the conditions are cooler then. Plan a weekday move. You will get better rates.
  • Keep the receipts – The IRS allows deduction of the moving expenses, provided you are relocating for work. Provide the receipts for gas and truck rental during tax time to save money.
  • Plan and pack early – Leaving it for the last moment can be a costly blunder. Plan and start early. This will help you stay organized as well.

Keep them in mind for a smooth and affordable move.

Business Relocation in San Diego

Relocation to San Diego for Business

The city has a thriving business scene. According to a Forbes magazine report from 2014, San Diego is the best city in the United States for launching a startup company or a small business. A high-tech industry marketing consortium has dubbed the city as “Technology's Perfect Climate”.

  • The major industries are manufacturing, research, international trade, tourism, and defense;
  • The city council offers business incentives;
  • Expedited building and development permit approvals;
  • Highly educated workforce;
  • The United States Navy is the largest employer, followed by the University of California, and Sharp HealthCare.

Renting a business premises

Rent is charged per square foot and can depend upon the type of premises rented. Rental costs will also depend on the location and how modern the premises is.

Year Built Type of Property Total Square Foot Price Per Square Foot Per Year
1970 Office space 150,000 $27
1980 Retail 2,200 $2
1984 Office space 20,202 $28
1990 Office space 59,065 $28.2
2000 Office space 39,167 $43.8
2008 Industrial space 123,719 $11.04

Please note that the prices were taken from a selection of advertisements and may differ from those advertised.

Business tax rates

Employee Numbers Tax Rates from July 1st, 2020
1 - 12 employees $34
13+ employees $125 + $5 per employee

The best places to rent an office

The business infrastructure in San Diego is well developed. There are many shared office spaces where self-employed people and small business owners can work from without paying a lot of money. Client meetings can also be held here.

Some of the best places in San Diego include:

  • 350 10th Ave, Diamond View East Village, San Diego CA, 92101
  • 2535 Camino Del Rio S Mission Valley Executive Tower, San Diego CA, 92108
  • Scripps Ranch Technology Park, Scripps Ranch Boulevard, San Diego CA, 92131
  • Thirtieth Street San Diego, San Diego CA, 92194
  • Tierra Grande Office Park, San Diego CA 9126

10 Tips for a Smooth Relocation

Make moving to San Diego California easy with these useful tips.

  • Stay organized. Moving is stressful because of logistics management. There is so much to do, after all. Create a to-do list. Plan both the departure and the arrival. It will be smooth if you plan well and stay organized.
  • Seek relocation assistance from your employer. Negotiate if you have to. Get quotes for San Diego from professional moving companies (truck rental, packaging, transportation expenses, storage, etc.) and give your employer a detailed estimate. Many employers will agree to reimburse or finance the move.
  • Know the cost of living in San Diego. The living cost varies significantly for each city in the US. The salary will compensate the cost. But it is still important to have an idea about what to expect in the new city.
  • Notify your utility suppliers about your move. You will be living in San Diego. So how much will the utilities cost in your area? How much will you have to spend for groceries every month?
  • Approach local or long-distance San Diego moving companies for quotes. Budget for everything, including storage and cleaning costs.
  • Look after your important documents. Keep them safe in a bag. You should know where they are precisely. Best, carry them yourself at all times.
  • Spend time with your friends and neighbors. Organize a party so you can say your goodbyes. Ask them to help you pack.
  • Proper box labeling is very important. You will know which box contains what exactly. It will be very frustrating and time-consuming if you have to open them all to find small things.
  • Rent storage space. Unpacking and settling down can also be stressful. You don’t have to do everything in a day. Space it out. Keep some items stored in a safe storage facility. Fetch them when you are ready and settled down.
  • Always work with a professional San Diego moving company that offers insurance. You will be compensated if there is any damage.

Things to do in San Diego

Things to do Address Opening Hours Entry Fee
USS Midway Museum 910 N Harbour Drive, San Diego, CA 92101-5811 Mon-Sun 10 am – 4 pm $26
San Diego Zoo 2929 Zoo Drive, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA, 92101 Mon-Fri 9 am – 6 pm, Sat-Sun 9 am – 7 pm $58
Sunset Cliffs Natural Park 1253 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, San Diego, CA, 92107-4015 All hours Free
Balboa Park 1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101-1660 Mon-Fri 9 am – 6 pm, Sat-Sun 9 am – 7 pm Free
La Jolla Caves La Jolla, San Diego, CA Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 9am – 4:30 pm, Wed 9:30-4 pm, Sat-Sun closed Prices available upon booking

Prices correct at the time of writing.
There are many things to do in San Diego, however, the above chart shows some of the most popular destinations.

Weather in San Diego

Weather & Seasons

If you’re considering relocating to San Diego chance are you’ll want to know what the weather is like.

The summer months in San Diego are typically long. The winters tend to last a few months with the lowest temperature at around 67 degrees. Temperatures in San Diego are rarely below is very rarely below 67 degrees Fahrenheit or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

As far as the rain is concerned, the wettest season lasts from November to April. There’s likely to be more than 15% chance of rain and at least 0.04 inches of rain. As far as the rain is concerned, the wettest season lasts from November to February.

Month Weather Average Temperature
January The wettest month with 2.1 inches of rain. 67 degrees Fahrenheit
February Mild temperatures but not much change from January 67 degrees Fahrenheit
March Slightly warmer, the sun is out for approximately 8 hours 68 degrees Fahrenheit
April Spring weather with more sunny days. 70 degrees Fahrenheit
May Cloudy and dry weather with slightly lower temperatures 69 degrees Fahrenheit
June The start of summer and warmer weather 71 degrees Fahrenheit
July The most humid and sunniest month with more than 300 hours of sunshine 75 degrees Fahrenheit
August Usually the warmest month of the year 77 degrees Fahrenheit
September Continued warm days, occasionally warmer than August 78 degrees Fahrenheit
October The start of the fall, this month is usually sunny and dry. 76 degrees Fahrenheit
November Cooler temperatures expected this month with 4 rainy days 72 degrees Fahrenheit
December The coldest month of the year 67 degrees Fahrenheit

When we compare the weather in San Diego to the weather in San Francisco and the country as a whole, there are some clear differences. These differences can be found in the chart below.

Weather/Averages San Diego San Francisco United States
Snow in inches 0 0 28
Rainfall in inches 12 25 38
# of sunny days 266 259 205
Low temperature in January 49.8 46 22
High temperature in July 74.7 67 86
Comfort index* 9,2 8,5 7
UV index 10 5,4 4,3

*The higher the comfort index is the better it is.

The differences in the weather and average temperatures show that San Diego is a pleasant place to live when compared to other areas.
Using all the information found above, you can now make a much more informed choice about moving to San Diego. Will the neighborhood you choose and the state itself offer you everything you need? Will you have to compromise? San Diego is a vibrant state with so much to offer everyone. Now is a great time to move to this part of the world while house prices and rental is still fairly cheap.

Moving to San Diego