Rancho Santa Fe Newcomers Guide

Rancho Santa Fe Lake HodgesThe best of the best — that’s Rancho Santa Fe. This small city in north San Diego County is endowed with a warm Mediterranean-type climate, incomparable natural beauty, a strong sense of community, one of the country’s lowest crime rates, an abundance of first-rate services, shopping, dining and medical facilities and a resort lifestyle. Perfecting this picture is an ideal location close to high-tech job centers, excellent public and private schools, the Pacific Ocean and just 26 miles from downtown San Diego. It’s a “pinch me, am I in paradise” kind of place that has attracted the rich and famous and people who want the best that southern California has to offer. If you’re looking for new homes in San Diego County, our newcomers guide will help you discover the advantages of new homes in Rancho Santa Fe.

A Rich History

Rancho Santa Fe EquestrianOriginally land held by local Kumeyaay Indian bands, Rancho Santa Fe has been under the flag of three countries in the past two centuries: Spain, Mexico and the U.S. Originally named Rancho San Dieguito, it was a nearly 9,000-acre Mexican land grant made in 1841 by Alta California Governor Pico to Juan Maria Osuna, San Diego’s first alcalde (mayor). The current town takes its name from the Santa Fe Railway, which bought most of the land grant in 1906, and planted 3.5 million eucalyptus trees intended for railway ties. When eucalyptus proved inappropriate for that purpose, developer Colonel Ed Fletcher saw the area’s agricultural potential. Soon it was home to gentleman farmers growing citrus and avocados, thanks to development of what would later be called the Lake Hodges Dam on the San Dieguito River. In 1921, the area was subdivided into land parcels radiating from a central core of small lots to larger ones, later adding commercial buildings and in 1922 officially changed its name to Rancho Santa Fe.1 A commitment to orderly development that would retain the area’s character called the Rancho Santa Fe Covenant was put in place in 1928. It has been registered as a California Historical Landmark in recognition of its status as a historic planned community. Over the years, Rancho Santa Fe’s famous residents have included Bing Crosby, Douglas Fairbanks, Howard Hughes and Joan Kroc among many other luminaries.2

Relocating to Rancho Santa Fe

Rancho Santa Fe GolfIf you’re moving to San Diego or just looking for a great new hometown, relocating to Rancho Santa Fe is a smart move. With a population of around 3,000 permanent residents, this is a young and upscale community. The median age is around 483, a median income of $107,227 and median home value of $1 million.4 Noting its high income per capita, low crime rate and stable housing market, AreaVibes.com ranks it as Exceptionally Livable.

Rancho Santa Fe is very much a white-collar town, where over 91% of the workforce has white collar jobs in management, professions and sales. More people here work in computers and math than 95% of the rest of the country. But it’s also home to people who work in the arts, media and design. By Southern California standards, commutes are reasonable, largely because many of the area’s high-tech companies are located in San Diego’s north county.5

Rancho Santa Fe Real Estate

Rancho Santa Fe EstanciaAs you might expect, this is a community comprised largely of single-family homes on large, estate-style sites. Older homes come on the market, but new construction of Rancho Santa Fe real estate is rare. That makes Estancia a Cielo by award-winning homebuilder Taylor Morrison an excellent opportunity. New homes in this gated community with 24-hour guard start in the 1.3 million and offer the finest appointments and lavish amenities along with commanding views of foothills, canyons and wooded meadows. Homebuyers will have their choice of a selection of two-story grand open-concept homes ranging from 3,828 to 5,335 square feet. Features include courtyards and loggias, gourmet kitchens, formal living and dining rooms, secluded owners’ suites with luxurious master baths, junior master suites, home offices, wine rooms and large super bonus rooms. Optional guest casitas are also available along with a wide selection of personalizing options from the Taylor Morrison Design Center. Residents enjoy access to private community recreational amenities that include two pools, two tennis courts, fitness center, basketball and volleyball courts, climbing wall and athletic field. See homes for sale here, including several that are move-in ready, and view all available floor plans here. To schedule a personal tour or to learn about this and other San Diego homes for sale by Taylor Morrison, call Internet Home Consultant Vanessa Moczulski at 949-341-1206 or send an email request for information.

Rancho Santa Fe Economy

Rancho Santa Fe is one of North San Diego County’s most centrally located communities. Easy access to I-5 and I-15, two major transportation corridors, makes for a comfortable commute to major employment centers in nearby Sorrento Valley, Rancho Bernardo, Poway and Del Mar.

The city itself has a thriving local economy with a 3.4% unemployment rate and a healthy tax base for city maintenance and improvements. Local employment is centered around medical services, hospitality, retail and groceries and temporary services. It’s an entrepreneurial environment with many small home-based businesses.6

Rancho Santa Fe Schools

Rancho Santa Fe Geisel LibraryRancho Santa Fe is a family-friendly community with outstanding public and private schools. These include: R. Roger Rowe Elementary (K-5) with a Great Schools Rating of 10 out of 10 and an API Score of 957; Solana Santa Fe Elementary (K-6) with a Great Schools Rating of 10 out of 10 and an API Score of 952; R. Roger Rowe Middle (6-8) with a Great Schools Rating of 10 out of 10 and an API Score of 957. The area is also served by the San Dieguito Union High School district which includes Torrey Pines High, a three-time National Blue Ribbon School, Canyon Crest Academy, frequently ranked among the nation’s best public high schools, and La Costa Canyon High, noted for both its academic and athletic programs. Residents also have their choice of private schools including Horizon Prep for grades PK -10.

For higher education, residents have a range of choices including University of California San Diego, Cal State University San Marcos, Palomar College and San Diego Miramar, all within 10 miles.

Rancho Santa Fe Living

Rancho Santa Fe BikingWith its near perfect climate and upscale population base Rancho Santa Fe is a recreational paradise with world-class shopping, dining and healthcare facilities. Some of the highlights of life in Rancho Santa Fe include:

  • Rancho Santa Fe is home to some of the world’s most prestigious public and private courses and country clubs including the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club, Morgan Run Resort and Club, Fairbanks Ranch Country Club, The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe and The Farms Golf Club.
  • From boutiques to major malls, Rancho Santa Fe and nearby communities offer a range of retail venues. Highlights include Rancho Santa Fe Farmers Market, Country Friends Shop and Del Rayo Village Shopping Center. In nearby communities you’ll find Rancho Santa Fe Plaza, West Village Shopping Center, Cedros Design District and Carlsbad Premium Outlets.
  • Fine and casual dining choices abound and include Mille Fleurs, Veladora, Thyme in the Ranch, Morado, Dolce Pan E Vino, The Pony Room, Rancho Santa Fe Bistro, Caffe Positano, 067 Bistro, Ranch Deli and Café Azul.
  • You are never far from fun when you live in Rancho Santa Fe. Top area attractions include Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society, Quail Botanical Garden, Legoland, Torrey Pines States Natural Reserve, Birch Aquarium at Scripps, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, San Diego Zoo and Zoo Safari Park, Balboa Park, SeaWorld, Del Mar Beaches, Carlsbad Flower Fields, Balboa Park and Petco Park.
  • There are several top-rated medical facilities nearby including Scripps Memorial in Encinitas and La Jolla, and Pomerado Hospital in Poway.
  • The Rancho Santa Fe Community Center sponsors a number of programs for local youth. Highlights include Summer Camp, Surf Camp, Art Bio Zoo, Boys and Girls Junior Dunkers Basketball and Moms and Tots.

Photo credit:
Equestrian: Virginia Hill flickr cc
Geisel Library at UCSD: Brian Fries flickr cc
Lake Hodges: Oleg. flickr cc
Biking: Oleg. flickr cc
Golf Course Aerial: Ian Gratton flickr cc