La Jolla is a beautiful coastal community perched above the Pacific Ocean that has plenty to do, whether you're interested in outdoor activities, fine dining, or shopping.  With the average list price at about $1.6 million, La Jolla homes are in high demand because of their proximity to the beach and excellent public schools. 

Much of La Jolla is also highly walkable, whether you want to get to the shops or to the water. But La Jolla also encompasses the homes on top of Mount Soledad, most of which afford impressive, expansive views of both city lights and the vast Pacific; and Bird Rock, an area slightly south of central La Jolla. Plus, this neighborhood in San Diego is one of the most popular for its Christmas lights.

There are different beaches people refer to as neighborhood markers when talking about real estate. Windansea is a rocky surfer's beach. Black's Beach is right under the Salk Institute and near UC San Diego. La Jolla Shores is the most popular beach, with wide sandy areas, a park, and many homes located nearby. La Jolla Cove has some single-family homes near it and also some condos.

Despite the high average price, there's actually a really wide variety of homes to choose from. You can also find homes from the mid-400s if you don't mind condo living and about 500 square feet of space. Condos go up into the millions here, so you can find something in your price range. La Jolla has plenty of multi-family buildings spread throughout the community. Many people opt for these or for townhomes. Single-family homes range from under a thousand square feet into large mansions and start around $1 million.

Home Styles and History

La Jolla has a wide array of home styles reflecting its history. When you think of La Jolla, you tend to think of Spanish styles, with stucco walls and tiled roofs. But there are also plenty of Cape Cod and modern homes, as well as small ranch styles and bungalows that were built way back before the millionaires arrived. In fact, you can do a self-guided tour of La Jolla that pretty much takes you through the 20th-century history of architecture. 

Architect Irving Gill of the early 20th century Arts and Crafts movement was especially active in the area, designing six buildings in La Jolla and more than 30 in San Diego. When La Jolla was new, there were only dirt roads and people building modest beach bungalows made of wood that are still lived in or used today. In the 1920s, residential development, spurred by widespread automobile use and commuter rail, blossomed. The small beach bungalows morphed into more Spanish and Mediterranean styles. 

Then, starting in the 1930s, architects like Irving Gill and Rudolph Schindler helped usher in the modern movement. Railroads were built into the area from Los Angeles and an influx of movie stars made La Jolla their playground. The 1940s and 50s saw Mid-Century Modern arrive, with many young artists choosing to relocate to La Jolla and make it into a sort of thriving arts colony.  John Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, made his home in Del Mar and designed many private homes and businesses along the coast. For example, he designed UC San Diego's Muir College and some iconic private residences.

Of course, developers and other architects would follow suit, imitating either the Mediterranean or Modernist styles. For example, former Governor Mitt Romney knocked down his mansion and rebuilt it as a Mediterranean style home. Now there's a new generation of architects taking these influences and making them their own, such as Stosh Thomas Architects and Island Architects, who designed the Romneys' home.

The bottom line is, whether your personal style tends toward the classic and modest beach bungalow or a starkly beautiful concrete and glass Modernist home, you can find it in La Jolla. Likewise, whether you need a small studio or a mansion, you can find either. There are many reasons to make San Diego your home, and this wide variety of real estate is just one of them.

Posted by Dennis DeSouza on
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