El Cajon: The Valley of Opportunity
Sitting just 17 miles east of Downtown San Diego is El Cajon, California. Spanish for “the box”, this city was named after the box-like shape of the valley that surrounds the area. The city motto, “The Valley of Opportunity,” shows that El Cajon has a lot to offer. The town has grown immensely since the 1960s, and now has a population of over 106,000 residents in a total area of 14.5 square miles. It also developed this motto by being a place of refuge for immigrants from the Middle East during the Iran-Iraq war in the late 1970s.
The State of the Market
Now El Cajon is a thriving city. The average household income is around $75,500, so most residents are middle-class, and the area is largely populated with families. About 46% of residents are married, and almost 75% of households are occupied by families. The top employers in the city are the Cajon Valley Union School District and GKN Aerospace Chem-tronics. The median monthly rent in El Cajon is $1,937, and the average apartment size is around 800 square feet. Approximately 60% of rentals fall between $1,500 and $2,000, while just over 30% go for over $2,000 a month. However, data shows that 71% of households in El Cajon are owner-occupied, and only 28% are renter-occupied. Investing to sell might bring you more opportunities in this city than a rental property.
As for real estate, the median sale price of a home in El Cajon is $787,500, an almost 20% increase from 2021. While homes are still dramatically increasing in value, prices remain low here compared to nearby San Diego areas, making El Cajon an affordable investment location that still benefits from being situated near all the action. While the town may not be as close to the coast as more western areas, the reasonable prices will attract a large audience and the community itself offers high quality education, diversity healthcare, and transportation.
Attractions in El Cajon
Residents and tourists alike are drawn to El Cajon for a number of reasons. Of course, San Diego County has a number of impressive museums to offer. The Olaf Wieghorst Museum & Western Heritage Center offers an impressive display of the history of the American West featuring works of local artists. Popular visitor attractions in El Cajon include the Sycuan Casino, Summers Past Farms, and the Water Conservation Garden and Butterfly Garden at Cuyamaca College. The Taylor Guitars factory, one of the biggest employers in the town and largest guitar manufacturers in the nation, can also be toured at certain times.
El Cajon is also home to some of the best outdoor gems in the San Diego area. Mount Helix Park offers beautiful vistas and trails for nature lovers of all kinds. Additionally, the Mission Trails Regional Park has hundreds of trails in over 7,000 acres of natural space, making it the largest municipal park in California.
As for good eats, the diversity in El Cajon means diverse food options. Residents can explore new flavors with local Middle Eastern dining and desserts at spots like Sahara, Mal Al Sham, and Royal Sweets. These eateries are well known for their falafel, kufta kebabs, and baklava. Of course, you can always find more homey options like the Grand Ole BBQ Flinn Springs serving brisket, short ribs, and pulled pork every day.
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