Fans of Coastal San Diego

This site is for the many fans of coastal San Diego, those who have lived here for years, as well as those new to the area. Here you can learn more about the different communities, the many things to do and places to visit in and around San Diego, share your experiences, and ask for advice and recommendations for restaurants, shopping, visitor activities, places to live, and more! Buyers thinking about moving here will find lots of information to help, too!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tract Housing in San Diego

California certainly has a reputation for having lots of tract housing (although you can find such developments all over the country, typically in the suburbs, e.g., Las Vegas, Phoenix, Florida), and we have our share here in San Diego.

I have my own home-grown idea of what tract housing is, but Wikipedia defines it as "a style of housing development in which multiple identical, or nearly-identical, homes are built to create a community. Tract housing may encompass dozens of square miles of areas." Tract housing, in general, has a bad reputation, perhaps stemming from the poorer quality, cookie-cutter homes that were constructed seemingly overnight in many areas after the war, primarily for veterans and their families. To be sure, many homes ARE identical, or very close, and the quality from some builders is suspect (so do you due diligence and check out the builders first).

A trademark of this type of housing today is that there typically are only a few different models in a subdivision (of the ones I've seen, as few as 3 floor plans and as many as 12). One objection people have raised in the past is that they all look alike, and builders have responded to this by creating many different options for roofing, windows, exterior paints and materials (stone, brick, etc), landscaping, etc. While the general look is similar, each home has a unique look and feel. And early buyers can generally customize their homes, inside and out, with upgrade options offered by the developer.

People often have the impression that tract housing is cheap - a remnant from the past. While this was true of tract housing (and perhaps in some parts of the country is still the case), here in our area there are homes that can run into the high 6 figures and beyond. Quality of construction has vastly improved as well, with new technology and mass production, and the competition.

Is this style of home right for you? Well, it depends. But there are many reasons in this market to consider it - buyer incentives (e.g., upgrades), the fact that the housing is brand new, opportunity to customize, among others. If you are shopping for a home, I would at least consider some of the many new developments in the area.


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