Irvine Newcomers Guide

Spectrum IrvineIrvine real estate is among the most sought-after in southern California. If you’re new to the area and looking for Irvine homes for sale, this Newcomers Guide is a good place to start. Irvine is a diverse city with 14 zip codes, a lot of ground to cover and an incredible selection of housing options. Read on and you’ll get an overview of the area, its history and all it has to offer. There truly is something for everyone within Irvine’s city limits!

Relocating to Irvine

Loma Ridge IrvineThinking about moving to Irvine? You aren’t alone. Since 2000, this Orange County city has seen a population increase of more than 60%, rising to 230,000 people in 2012. It is a relatively young and affluent population, with a median age of 33.9 year and median household income of nearly $87,500, compared to the respective California medians of 45.6 years and $57,287. Like the rest of southern California, the climate is the envy of most of the rest of the country: consistently sunny and mild year-round. It’s a safe city, too, with crime rates indexing significantly below national averages.1

The City of Irvine consists of 43 square miles, bordered by Costa Mesa on the west, Newport Beach to the southwest, Lake Forest to the east, Laguna Hills to the southeast, Tustin to the north and Santa Ana to the northwest. It occupies a broad valley filled with hills, plateaus and canyons between the San Joaquin Hills and the Loma Ridge. Within this vast area, you’ll find a dazzling array of world-class museums and entertainment venues, celebrated institutions of higher learning and exceptional public schools, enticing shopping centers, the trendiest restaurants, unparalleled natural beauty and many of America’s finest communities, including those within world-renowned Irvine Ranch®.

A Quick History

Archaeological digs have found evidence of human settlements from 10,000 years ago, and about 2,000 years ago, native tribes established dozens of villages in what is now Irvine and Orange County. Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola arrived her in 1769, along with Father Junipero Serra, the Franciscan friar who would build the California mission system, and livestock. Within 30 years, California had been divided into large parcels of land centered around each mission and herds of cattle roamed the range. Eventually, these would be carved up into land grants, first from the Spanish king, and later the Mexican government. In 1848, California became part of the U.S., achieving statehood two years later. In the 1860s, San Francisco merchant James Irvine and three partners purchased, for 50 cents an acre, the giant parcel of land that would become The Irvine Ranch®, and later The Irvine Company®. From the earliest days, a commitment was made that the land would be treasured resource whose assets should not be sold or squandered for short-term gain. This philosophy ultimately led to the creation of one of the world’s first and most successful master-planned communities when in 1960, the company hired acclaimed architect and urban planner William Pereira to create a new city centered around 1,000 acres donated to the University of California for UC Irvine. It would offer a balanced mix of homes, businesses, shopping, school, parks and – most important – preserved open space. The result is modern Irvine and its crown jewel, more than 50,000 acres of preserved lands and open space donated for public ownership. Larger than many national parks, it is both a California and National Natural Landmark that stretches from the coastal mountains to the Pacific Ocean, encompassing pristine wilderness, oak woodlands, canyons and hillsides.2

Irvine Real Estate Snapshot

OC Parks IrvineProximity to the area’s major employment centers, excellent public schools, recreational and cultural opportunities, shops, services and medical facilities, plus easy access to the rest of southern California combine to make Irvine real estate among the nation’s most desirable.

In general, real estate prices in Irvine have risen dramatically year-over-year. In early spring 2014, Trulia reported a median sales price of $697,500 between December 2013 and March 2014 (up 16.2%, year-over-year), with the marketing trending upward for average listing prices on all properties.3

Taylor Morrison currently offers a number of new homes in three of the most in-demand Irvine communities.

Saviero and Capella are new enclaves at the Groves in Orchard Hills, the most exclusive of the Villages of Irvine. Resort-inspired amenities, beautiful parks and scenic trails encourage a lifestyle of leisure and recreation.

Capella presents a limited 72 elegant, single-family homes in this exclusive gated community. Four-bedroom homes ranging from 2,906 to 3,223 square feet start in the low one millions.

Saviero features an intimate collection of sumptuous single-family homes, with prices ranging from the mid-one millions. Designs range from approximately 3,795 to 4,050 square feet of two-story living space, with 4 to 5 bedrooms and 4.5 to 5.5 bathrooms.

Now selling is Welton at Beacon Park, set in the master planned Pavillion Park – the newest phase of Great Park neighborhoods and conveniently close to amenities, schools, and employment centers. Welton consists of a limited number of three- and four-bedroom luxury single family homes ranging from 2,188 to 2,739 square feet.

If you are looking for Irvine new homes, Taylor Morrison recommends that you join the VIP Interest Lists for these communities by using the links above to receive email updates about sales events and other information.

Irvine Economy

According to a UC-Irvine report released in 2012 Orange County has fueled southern California’s economy for the past two decades, providing the greatest job growth, highest median home values and lowest unemployment rates. The report claims that, “In 2009, the Irvine area had more than 10 times the regional average for white-collar jobs, eight times the average number of blue-collar jobs and five times as many retail jobs.”4 It also pointed out that, at around 23 minutes, the Irvine area had one of the lowest average commute times.

Irvine Schools

UC IrvineThe area is part of the acclaimed Irvine Unified School District, with public schools that among the nation’s highest ranked. IUSD elementary, middle and high schools routinely make regional and national “best” lists. For example, Newsweek recently listed University High School as the 8th best in the nation and the only California high school in the top 30 of the 500 ranked, with average SAT scores of 1920 and a 98% graduation rate. In addition, the Orange County Register’s annual evaluation of the best elementary, middle and high school ranked all five of IUSD’s middle schools in its top seven.5 There are also several excellent private schools within the community.

Irvine is also home to the world-famous University of California, Irvine campus. A number of other colleges are within 15 miles, including Pepperdine, Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Saddleback College in Mission Viejo and Golden West College in Huntington Beach.

Irvine Living

OC Zoo IrvineIrvine continually shows up on annual “Best” and “Most” lists. In 2011, the city ranked sixth on Money magazine’s Top 10 Best Places to Live. It is one of the nation’s safest big cities and one of the cleanest. And, thanks to smart planning, it continues to live like a much smaller city. Irvine offers natural and manmade recreation, destination shopping experiences, exciting entertainment venues and proximity to excellent beaches, mountain resorts and major league sporting events.

Make Yourself at Home in Irvine

For more information about available homes for sale in Irvine and Orange County, visit or send an email request to Taylor Morrison’s southern California Internet Home Consultant.

1 “Irvine, California,”

2 “Southern California: Coastal Mountains to the Sea: History of the Irvine Ranch,”

3 “Irvine Real Estate Overview,”

4 “UC Irvine: Orange County drives Southern California economy,”

5 “From preschool to post-graduate education, Irvine gets top marks,”

Orchard Hills® is a registered trademark of The Irvine Company LLC, used for marketing villages of new homes in Irvine, California USA. ©2014 The Irvine Company LLC. All Rights Reserved. All projects are in planned communities developed by Irvine Community Development Company LLC, an affiliate of The Irvine Company LLC.

Photo credit:
Loma Ridge: OCParks_CA / flickr cc
OC Zoo: OCParks_CA / flickr cc
Irvine family walking: OCParks_CA / flickr cc
UCI: Randy Robertson / flickr cc
Irvine Spectrum: demxx / flickr cc