The Best San Diego Suburbs to Live in for 2019

San Diego is amazing. Between the sun, the surf and the plethora of things to do, life on the coast is pretty close to paradise. But not everyone wants to live in the heart of downtown, and many families and professionals need somewhere to escape to at the end of the day. Plus, with San Diego’s sky-high cost of living, settling a bit outside the city can make living in the area more affordable, while still allowing you easy access to San Diego’s job opportunities and entertainment options.

Enter the best suburbs of San Diego. These neighborhoods give you all the perks of living in San Diego, along with bigger houses, less traffic, and a lower average cost of living. Ready to find out which San Diego suburb is right for you? Then keep reading!

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Poway is one of the most popular cities around San Diego. It’s commonly called the “City in the Country” due to its rural vibes and location further inland. This affluent suburb is characterized by its upper-class citizens and high-end neighborhoods, complete with stunning homes. And at just 30 minutes outside of the city, this suburb offers a reasonable commute to many of the San Diego’s top employers.

Poway is also one of the best places to live in San Diego for families. Students living in the neighborhood attend schools in the Poway Unified School District, which is ranked in the top ten school districts in the state. The area is also known for its low crime rates, making it a safer alternative than living in Downtown San Diego.

If you want to know more about what it’s like to live in Poway, check out our complete guide to moving to Poway.

La Mesa


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Wondering if moving to La Mesa is right for you? This gorgeous neighborhood is one of the largest among San Diego’s surrounding cities, home to more than 60,000 people and growing every year. Despite being one of the top San Diego suburbs, this city has maintained a reasonable cost of living, lower than San Diego itself, and the state of California.

One thing people love about La Mesa is the neighborhood’s sheer beauty. This city benefits from quiet suburban streets, complete with gorgeous houses across bungalow, craftsman and modern styles. At the same time, La Mesa’s downtown center has all the amenities you need without having to travel into San Diego, including grocery stores, coffee shops and plenty of delicious restaurants.

La Mesa is one of the best places to live near San Diego if you want to get a small town community feels without a long commute. You can get to most parts of San Diego in under 15 minutes, and professionals living here also have to access the work opportunities in nearby Lemon Grove and El Cajon.

For more information on the “Jewel of the Hills,” check out our guide on moving to and living in La Mesa.


If you’re looking at small towns near San Diego that are right along the coast, Carlsbad should be at the top of your list. Located about 40 minutes north of San Diego, Carlsbad is primarily known for its great beaches, tight-knit communities, and family-friendly atmosphere.

With its desirable housing within walking distance of the beach, it’s no wonder that moving to Carlsbad is fairly expensive, compared with other San Diego suburbs. Larger homes in this community can cost well over $1 million, making this one of the most affluent cities on the West Coast, with a higher cost of living than even Los Angeles.

For professionals in the tech industry, there are even more reasons to move to Carlsbad. In 2018, Google named the city the “Digital Capital of California.” Top employers here include the communications company ViaStat, Inc., and biotech corporations like Thermo Fisher Scientific and OptumRx. Even companies in the community who aren’t in the tech space are using the internet to find customers and make connections, making the area highly appealing to techies and marketing professionals.

Want more details on life in Carlsbad? Our complete city guide to living in Carlsbad has you covered.

San Marcos


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San Marcos may be little further from the center of San Diego County, but that hasn’t stopped this city from becoming one of the most popular destinations in the area. In all, the city is home to more than 96,000 people and is one of the fastest growing cities around San Diego.

One fantastic aspect of moving to San Marcos is the city’s academic reputation. In addition to being the home of CSU San Marcos and Palomar College, San Marcos high school is highly ranked, showing that this community offers top-tier education at every level. The area’s economy is also growing quickly, and the top industries here are healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.

This district also benefits from a huge diversity of subdivisions and neighborhood communities. Many of the master-planned communities in San Marcos include award-winning real estate, along with large plots of land and incredible views. As the city continues to grow, more and more families are choosing to relocate here, making it the perfect place to raise your kids near the coast!

For more details, be sure to read our post on moving to and living in San Marcos.



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Another one of the best cities in the San Diego area, Encinitas has plenty to offer both professionals and families. This community is known for its passionate, ambitions and active residents, especially the cyclists you’ll often have to share the road with!

While still a sizeable city, Encinitas has a smaller population than other suburbs of San Diego, with about 62,000 residents. Locals here are highly educated, and the community continues to be committed to education, with 63 schools available to families in the area. Despite being considered a San Diego suburb, Encinitas also has its own thriving downtown area, with plenty of jobs, boutique shops, and amazing restaurants.

Of course, one of the main reasons for settling in Encinitas is the seaside locale. One of the most popular neighborhoods in the city is Cardiff-by-the-Sea, where you can live just steps from perfect sandy beaches, and watch the sunset over the ocean every night. If you’re looking for stunning views, gorgeous homes and a welcoming community, it doesn’t get better than Encinitas.

Interested in learning more about Encinitas? Click to read our guide on relocating to and living in Encinitas.

Choosing the Right San Diego Suburb for You

For families and professionals who want to be close to San Diego, but enjoy a more tranquil lifestyle on the coast, moving to a San Diego suburb can be an ideal option. Plus, with so many amazing cities around San Diego, you have plenty of incredible suburbs to choose from! No matter where you end up moving, you’ll get to enjoy the coast’s beautiful natural surroundings, warm, mild climate, and some of the most beautiful homes in the state.

Need help moving to any of these San Diego suburbs? Move Central is the San Diego moving company you can trust for a stress-free transition. Give us a call today at (858) 230-8281 to get started with a free quote.

The Complete Guide to San Diego Property Taxes (2019)

Figuring out San Diego property tax may seem confusing at first, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. In recent years, San Diego County has added introduced a handful of resources including a new website to make calculating property taxes as simple as possible. With a little legwork, you can figure out how much you will be paying for your current or future property.

According to California property tax law, real estate is assessed whenever new construction is finished or when a change of ownership takes place. Beyond these two assessments, the property’s rates can’t increase by more than 2% each year. As long as you own the same home, your taxes should never go up by more than this amount.

How Much is Property Tax in San Diego?

Whether you are thinking about moving to the area or you are awaiting your first bill, you’ve probably been wondering about San Diego property tax rates. As a general rule, you can expect to pay 1% of your property’s value every year. You may also have to pay special assessments and bonds, depending on the location.

San Diego property tax is calculated according to ad valorem, a Latin phrase which means “according to value”. In practice, this means the amount you pay is based entirely on the value of your home.

Property Tax house on stacked coins

Simply put, higher value homes have higher property tax bills, while low-priced homes have lower bills. But no matter where your home falls in the range, your bill is 1% of your net value plus fixed charge assessments and voter-approved bonds.

There are some San Diego property tax exemptions available which can be used to lower your tax bill including options for disabled veterans and homeowners who have their primary residence in the county.

Ultimately, the rules about property taxes in San Diego are set by Proposition 13, which was passed in 1978. The amendment lowered tax rates by about 57% overall and states your base tax rate can never be over 1% of the assessed value of your home. This is also the proposition that says unless you recently built or bought the property, your property’s assessed value can only increase by 2% per year.

For property owners, this law is improved upon the alternative of basing your home’s taxes off its market value. On the open market, homes have the potential to both drastically increase and rapidly decrease in value by much more than 2% at a time. But thanks to Proposition 13, property owners pay less and can easily anticipate how much their tax bill will be each year.

San Diego also allows you to see how your tax dollars are being spent year after year. In the most recent tax allocation report, 45.6% of property taxes went toward schools adding about $2.2 billion into the local education system. Along with schools, about 13.2% went toward the county, while about 12.7% was allocated between each of the cities in San Diego County.

Every year, the treasurer and tax collector in the county brings in more than $6 billion in tax revenue, which comes from nearly one million properties.

What if you can’t or don’t pay your property taxes in San Diego?. Well, if someone can’t manage to pay their tax bill, the named taxpayer goes into default and the property accrues penalties and interest because of the late payment. In some cases, the county will permit the individual to do an installment plan to get caught up.

All of the tax files are meticulously maintained, so property owners always get an accurate bill. If someone doesn’t pay their bill for five or more years, the property is sold through an online tax sale auction.

How to Calculate Property Tax

Figuring out how to calculate property tax is quite simple and takes some fairly basic math. As long as you have had your property assessed, you can use this number as the basis of your calculations. If you are about to buy the property, then you’ll need to determine the value with a tax assessor.

Tax worker doing numbers on calculator

If you’d like to take the easy way to figure out your property taxes in San Diego, you can use a simple property tax calculator. This tool helps you figure out the approximate property tax based on your state, county, and the appraised property value. You can then calculate a general property tax estimate with the click of your mouse.

It is technically possible to get lower taxes by appealing your assessed value with the San Diego County Assessment Appeals Board, though it does take some time and doesn’t always pay off. This technique will only work if your property is now worth a lower amount and the new value simply remains for the current fiscal year. Most likely, the tax assessment will end up increasing again for the next year.

Within San Diego County, property taxes are paid in two equal installments throughout the year. The county requires your first payment on November 1. And if you don’t pay it by December 10, the payment is considered late. The next payment is due on February 20 and is charged a late payment penalty if not paid by April 10.

Whether you just purchased a new home or plan on building one, you’ll want to make note of these due dates as it will be the same for both.

After the property is purchased, it can take up to a year for the property’s value to be reassessed. In addition, the tax bill will be prorated if you are buying it in the middle of the tax year and will still need to be paid as a supplement tax.

Tax Deductions for Your San Diego and California Property Tax

When you live in one of the states with the highest property tax like California, finding tax deductions will be key to saving some money each tax season. Your two main options are the homeowner’s exemption and the disabled veterans’ property tax exemption. Each of these help lower your overall cost of living and will leave you a few extra dollars in your pocket.

Tax deduction paperwork

The Homeowners’ Property Tax Exemption is fairly straightforward. Do you live in your home and use it as your primary residence? Odds are you’re eligible to start saving money with this tax exempt option.

If your property is also your home, you can reduce your assessed value by $7,000. When you first move in, you’ll need to apply for the exemption by February 15. Afterward, the exemption is automatically included in your tax bill each year.

Disabled veterans can also save money with their property taxes in San Diego, with exemptions for military veterans or their unmarried, surviving spouses. But like the previous option, this one is only available if your property also happens to be your principal residence.

There are a few other rules as well. To get this deduction, the veteran must be classified as 100% disabled, blind in both eyes, or has lost two or more limbs. If someone has a disability compensation or a fully rated disability, then they will qualify.

The basic exemption for veterans only requires a single application. But if you’re also filing for the low-income exemption, you’ll be required to apply annually to verify your income and determine your present status. Any veterans who have forgotten to file in the past can file retroactively for up to eight years back and still get 85% of the amount back as a tax refund.

Get Your Taxes Figured Out

Though the initial process and calculations may take some time to figure out, once you have lived in your home for more than a year, determining your San Diego property tax is easy. The basic precept is that homes are reassessed after they are purchased and the value can only increase by 2% a year following the sale. After your initial assessment, you always know what to estimate your taxes off of and can double-check using simple online calculators as well.

If you’re planning on joining San Diego County and becoming a new resident in the near future, we’d love to help! Move Central is the top-rated moving company in the area with more than 10 years of experience. Fill out the Request a Quote form at the top of this page for a free moving estimate!

Best High Schools in San Diego | The 2019 Ultimate Guide

The city of San Diego is frequently recognized for its strong network of schools ranging from universities like UCSD and the University of San Diego to local community colleges. But before young local students can make their way to college, they need a good high school program to attend first.

In this detailed list of the best high schools in San Diego, we discuss everything from rankings and accolades to history and athletic programs. Take a few moments to learn about the best options in the area for you to send your young students, including both public schools in local districts to private, independent programs.

1. Preuss School – UCSD

Although Preuss is on the outskirts of San Diego in the city of La Jolla, it has the education standards and reputation worthy of a spot at the top of this list. It is a specialty school for students from low-income households that can be found on the University of California – San Diego campus. Since it opened in 1999, Preuss has become one of the best high schools in San Diego with over 1,600 young students have graduated and gone on to earn four-year college degrees.

U.S. News has ranked Preuss as the top school in San Diego, while Newsweek has called it the top transformative high school in the entire country. It also stands as the 58th best high school in America. There are no tuition costs and students continually succeed year after year in their top-rated programs. So, if you have wondered “what is the best high school in San Diego?” This is the one!

Grades: 6-12

California Ranking: #7

Student-Teacher Ratio: 19:1


  • Boys – Soccer, basketball, and lacrosse
  • Girls – Soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and volleyball

2. Canyon Crest Academy

Home of the Ravens, Canyon Crest is part of the San Dieguito Union High School District. They are widely recognized around town for their accelerated programs, with more than 80% of the students taking AP classes each year. Established in 2004, the school has won numerous awards for everything from academics and math competitions to performing arts honors.


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Canyon Crest’s acting club has won both the Grammy Signature School Enterprise Award and the National Youth Theater Award for plays and performances done at the school. Many of their athletic teams have also competed in state championships.

Grades: 9-12

California Ranking: #22

Student-Teacher Ratio: 26:1


  • Boys – Basketball, soccer, wrestling, water polo, golf, lacrosse, tennis, volleyball, baseball, swimming, track, and field
  • Girls – Golf, tennis, volleyball, cross country, field hockey, basketball, soccer, water polo, wrestling, lacrosse, swimming, softball, track, and field

3. Del Norte High

Del Norte was built in 2009 and joined as the fifth high school in the highly rated Poway Unified School District. With the Nighthawk as their mascot, the campus spans over an impressive 62-acres offering room to grow as the school attracts more students to their strong system. Similar to Canyon Crest, their AP programs have nearly 80% of the students taking part.

The school’s monthly Character Recognition Program is set in place to honor students who have excelled in positivity, community, as well as assistance to both teachers and other students.

Grades: 9-12

California Ranking: #31

Student-Teacher Ratio: 27:1


  • Boys – Water polo, football, cross country, basketball, roller hockey, soccer, wrestling, golf, lacrosse, tennis, volleyball, swimming, baseball, track, and field
  • Girls – Field hockey, golf, tennis, volleyball, cross country, basketball, soccer, water polo, wrestling, swimming, softball, track, and field

4. Mt. Everest Academy

While the peak of Mount Everest is split between the borders of China and Nepal, the high school known as Mt. Everest Academy can be found in the San Diego Unified School District. This K-12 school focuses on both independent studies as well as a small class atmosphere. Similar to homeschooling programs, students are given educational workshops and activities to do at home, which they then turn in to their teacher for review once per month.

Mt. Everest offers numerous study group options for kids of all ages to provide chances for socialization and shared learning experiences. It is one of the best schools in San Diego for any parents interested in an independent study model.

Grades: K-12

California Ranking: #42

Student-Teacher Ratio: 21:1

5. Westview High

Joining Del Norte in the Poway School District, the Westview High Wolverines were originally established in 2002 as a school for only freshmen and sophomore students. But it didn’t take long for this local San Diego high school to gain traction and grow to over 2,300 students per year, now housing grades 9-12. Each student is taught to live by the school’s four core values: Respect Your Learning, Respect Yourself, Respect Each Other, Respect This Place.

Student working on a school assignment in class

Westview follows a unique 4×4 block schedule, which leads them through four classes at a time over four annual quarters.

Grades: 9-12

California Ranking: #79

Student-Teacher Ratio: 27:1


  • Boys – Basketball, baseball, golf, cross country, field hockey, football, water polo, tennis, volleyball, soccer, wrestling, swimming, lacrosse, track, and field
  • Girls – Softball, cross country, golf, tennis, volleyball, basketball, soccer, wrestling, softball, lacrosse, swimming, track, and field

6. San Diego International Studies

Located on the same campus as San Diego High School is its separate International Studies program. The school is mainly recognized for its International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. Their system has doubled in size from 500 students when it started in 2004 to more than 1,000 yearly students today.

San Diego International Studies has received multiple awards over the years including a presentation of the National Blue Ribbon School in Washington D.C. Nearly ¾ of the school’s student enrollment are minorities.

Grades: 9-12

California Ranking: #82

Student-Teacher Ratio: 24:1

7. University City High

Among the 22 high schools in the San Diego Unified School District is University High. Overcoming a unique origin story, the school took nearly 20 years to build as it ran into political, construction, and community problems along the way. But since its completion in 1981, the home of the Centurions has done nothing but move forward and provide exceptional education standards for each of its students.


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The school has produced a number of talented athletes, including two-time Olympic gold medalist track and field star, Félix Sánchez.

Grades: 9-12

California Ranking: #109

Student-Teacher Ratio: 26:1


  • Boys – Baseball, golf, football, lacrosse, badminton, swimming, fencing, tennis, volleyball, field hockey, water polo, cross country, basketball, soccer, wrestling, track, and field
  • Girls – Softball, golf, lacrosse, badminton, swimming, fencing, tennis, volleyball, field hockey, water polo, cross country, basketball, soccer, wrestling, track, and field

8. Scripps Ranch High

Closing out the list is Scripps Ranch High, home of the Falcons. And though it eclipses the top 100 in the state (112th), Scripps Ranch is easily still one of the highest ranked high schools in San Diego. The school seems to constantly be winning awards in both academics and extracurriculars including accolades as a California Distinguished School, a National Blue Ribbon School, and a Gold Ribbon School.

A handful of celebrities have graduated from here including actor, Adam Brody, and 2017 PGA Tour Championship winner, Xander Schauffele.

Grades: 9-12

California Ranking: #112

Student-Teacher Ratio: 28:1


  • Boys – Cross country, field hockey, football, water polo, roller hockey, basketball, soccer, wrestling, badminton, baseball, golf, tennis, swimming, lacrosse, volleyball, track, and field
  • Girls – Cross country, field hockey, football, water polo, roller hockey, basketball, soccer, wrestling, badminton, softball, golf, tennis, swimming, lacrosse, volleyball, track, and field

Choose From the Best High School in San Diego for Your Kids

While these are the top 8 high schools in the area, you’ll find that San Diego is a central hub for strong education programs and great local school districts. There aren’t many bad choices around the city, but this list should at least give you a headstart on your search.

Are you looking up high schools in San Diego because you’re moving there soon? Well, once you’ve decided where you want to live and the school your kids will attend, we want to help with your relocation! Give us a call today at (858) 230-8281 to learn all about our top-rated moving services or to get a free estimate.

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