Design Finance LifeStyles Real Estate


By Christina Warmerdam

Over the past 5 months, our world has seen epic shifts which have created ripple effects in every aspect of our life. In San Diego specifically, these shifts are forming a surging pattern regarding our local real estate.


Many large companies like Google, Twitter, Amazon and Zillow have offered extended or permanent full-time remote work. Now buyers who have always wanted to live in San Diego, can. Luxury buyers from crowded and expensive metro areas such as Los Angeles and San Francisco are eyeing San Diego real estate as a more affordable alternative with better standard of living.  We asked top local realtors to share their observations on the current market and buyer behavior with us.

Bree Bornstein, with Compass, echoes this trend, “Definitely, there has been a big shift in what buyers want in a home. I am seeing lots of buyers coming from LA, San Francisco and NYC making the move to San Diego. Locals from beach areas like La Jolla and Del Mar, want more space, privacy, and pools are a must”.

Sean Caddell with Willis Allen Real Estate notes that, “Families are looking for second homes within the San Diego marketplace since long distance travel has been out of the question for many.” Concern over future lockdowns are motivating luxury buyers who want an accessible vacation property to escape with family.

“People are really thinking about their quality of life and find Rancho Santa Fe very appealing for its small-town feel and large estates,” BREE BORNSTEIN, COMPASS DRE 01871328


Big Picture

The trend from recent years has been towards downsizing, but post Covid-19 buyers want space. Besides the obvious home office and study spaces, what else are buyers requesting?

“Over the past couple of months my experience through recent sales is that buyers are upsizing so they can have extended family members stay over, such as their children and grandchildren”, says Caddell. Larger outdoor areas for relaxing, entertaining, and exercising are also high on the list.

Important Details

The importance of exceptional WIFI cannot be undersold but features that promote cleanliness and hygiene could really see a big uptick in consumer demand. According to a recent Inman article – bidet startup Tushy reported record sales with two of its three models selling out until April. Home designers expect bidets to stick around after the pandemic since they reduce the need for toilet paper and are considered a more hygienic way to clean. Home designers expect buyers to favor homes with copper and ceramic. Both have antibacterial properties, and viruses like COVID-19 only live on these surfaces for a few hours compared to 24 hours on stainless steel. (McPherson, 2020)

Swapping out no-touch kitchen and bathroom faucets and “bump to open” garbage cabinet pull-outs are easy switches homeowners can do now before listing homes to promote sanitation.

“Families are looking for second homes within the San Diego marketplace since long distance  travel has been out of the question for many.” SEAN CADDELL, WILLIS ALLEN REAL ESTATE DRE 01192842


Last week, the National Association of Homebuilders noted that demand for new homes was rising fastest in low-density areas, including rural areas, small cities and exurbs, and that Americans were seeking larger homes…”the flight to the suburbs is real,” noted NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. (Ivanova, 2020)

This only reinforces what real estate professionals have seen in recent years, but the shift is gaining momentum. Director of Economic Research Javier Vivas states, “the shift to suburban locales isn’t new, but months spent sheltering in place is heightening buyers’ desire to leave city life.”  Suburban interest typically peaks during the summer, as families look to move before the start of the school year. According to recent data “suburban interest in May outpaced last year’s July peak…” (McPerson, 2020).

San Diego is California’s 2nd largest city geographically, but buyer focus seems specifically concentrated on larger suburban areas with space and privacy.

Our local markets mirror the national trend. “People are really thinking about their quality of life and find Rancho Santa Fe very appealing for its small-town feel and large estates,” says Bornstein. “The North County marketplace has been on fire with multiple offers and escalation clauses on properties”, echoes Caddell.

With so much stress revolving around jobs, the economy, education and government, the San Diego lifestyle is a very tempting draw.


Ivanova, I. (2020, July 21). CBS News. Retrieved from

McPerson. (2020, May). Suburban Housing Market To Experience Post Lockdown Boom . Retrieved from

McPherson. (2020, April). Lifestyle - 6 Ways homebuyers must-haves could change after the pandemic. Retrieved from

Header image, Solana Beach property from Sean Caddell, Willis Allen Real Estate 
Image 2, lake, Fairbanks Ranch property from Bree Bornstein, Compass


Related posts

TRENDING – The September Issue


The Luxury Panel: Is now the right time to put your house on the market?


KELLIWELL – Healthy Home Systems