California’s South Coast region, roughly equivalent to the widely used regional nickname SoCal, is one of the most vibrant and booming places in the United States. Attracted by the year-round tropical weather, the glamour and the booming industry of the Los Angeles basin and the San Diego metro area, the South Coast of California has been a magnet for immigrants both internal and external since the days when it was a Mexican stronghold.
Today, the area is dominated by the economies and culture of two main population centers, Los Angeles and San Diego. The stretches of land in between these two cultural centers feature some of the most picturesque and sought-after real estate in the world. From Newport Beach to Malibu to the Hollywood hills, the region boasts some of the most expensive housing stock and legendary stomping grounds of the rich, famous and infamous of anywhere on earth.
Not surprisingly, the average real estate prices reflect the area’s high demand. While the median home price in the San Diego metro area is slightly less expensive than in L.A., at $550,000, it’s hardly within the purview of the average U.S. home buyer’s typical budget. The median home price for Los Angeles comes in at a towering $611,000. That will buy you a bona fide mansion in a lot of Midwestern enclaves. In L.A., it often won’t get you much more than the pool house.
But the Southern Coast real estate glass is, of course, a lot more than just half full. For those who can afford the steep price tag that comes with an exclusive SoCal neighborhood, the rewards are often well worth the price. A 70 degree average high temperature for January will be a strong selling point to anyone from the northern Midwest. And the public schools in some parts of the region are among the best in the United States. Watch out though, the Los Angeles Unified School District is infamous for cosmic achievement gulfs between schools within its own district. The Northern San Diego coastline, however, has public schools that score at the top of national rankings on all measures of scholastic achievement.
Crime throughout the area, like schools, varies widely. San Diego is far more crime-free than the Los Angeles area. In fact, San Diego is perhaps the least crime-prone major city in the United States. Even so, Los Angeles, despite its pop-culture reputation for violence, is relatively free of violent crimes, given its size. However, it does have high rates of property crime.
The area’s economy is vibrant. The median income in San Diego is $66,000, considerably higher than the national average. It’s unemployment rate is often moderately low. But this doesn’t capture the copious high-paying jobs and near zero unemployment among its educated workers.
All told, the Southern Coast region of California is a heck of a place to live for those who can afford it. If you’re wondering if you too could afford to live here, looking into the right mortgage may give you the answer you’re hoping for.
Which mortgages are best for those seeking to buy a home in the California’s South Coast?
In its simplest form, a mortgage is a secured loan, with the home as collateral, which has fixed, periodic payments and a definite start and end date. There are other varieties of mortgage which violate that description, but most residential home mortgages will mostly adhere to them.
The best mortgage for those seeking to buy a primary residence is usually the most straightforward kind. These are known as linearly amortizing mortgages. This simply means that the payments, typically monthly, are of a fixed amount, with the interest mostly being paid in the first payments and the principal mostly being paid down in the latter payments. This is the simplest and easiest-to-understand type of mortgage. It is highly recommended for home buyers because it eliminates the increased risk inherent in other mortgage types and makes monthly payments and budgeting for them simple.
There are, however, many other types of mortgages. These have a place, to be sure. But they are often best left for sophisticated investors with income-producing assets. For these investors, taking on added risk can make sense because of higher expected returns. This is seldom the case for homeowners, however.