National City: The San Diego suburb that proudly served as the movie location for Return of the Killer Tomatoes! Read Guide >
Only about 31% of National City residents can afford to own a home here, so if you plan to rent, you'll be joining the majority, since 61% of the homes here are rentals. The vacancy rate is about 8%, which means you should give yourself a head start of at least two months if you want to be sure to find a place before you have to move.
What will a rental run you in this city?
The cost of living is a little higher here than the national average, but that's par for the course in Southern California, especially when you're this close to the Pacific Ocean. In fact, once you get a look at the cost of living in more affluent cities nearby, you'll rush back to National City, eager to pay the comparatively lower rent!
How should you prepare to find a rental?
Just make sure your credit score and rental history are both decent enough for any sane landlord to want to take a chance on you, especially if you want a nice place. The better you look on paper, the faster you'll find a spacious two-bedroom apartment or house rental that has been well taken care of. Of course, having the means to put down a deposit right away can also help during your search for an apartment or rental house.
You won't exactly find beachfront neighborhoods here like you might in other San Diego suburbs, but you'll still enjoy that casual Southern California vibe anywhere you go in this city. So if you're a fan of the laid-back, fun-loving feel of this region, you'll be happy in any of National City's neighborhoods. Plus, you'll be saving money by choosing this area over the beach cities! Here's an overview of some of the most well-known parts of this town.
City Center: As you might guess, this is an urban area toward the center of the city. As such, it is easily walkable and features lots of rental properties, including high-rise apartments and single-family homes. The population here is diverse and includes people of all ages, and it's conveniently located next to the all-important freeway in SoCal Interstate 5. $$
Lincoln Acres: Another urban area is Lincoln Acres, which is near where State Route 54 intersects with Interstate 805. This community features mostly small apartment complexes, single-family homes, and some mobile homes. It's within a short distance of National City Golf Course and Las Palmas Park. Plus, there's National City Municipal Pool nearby, and it's perfect for those days that you have your swimsuit and towel all ready to go but don't want to drive the extra few minutes to get to the beach! $
Stockman and Sweetwater: Just south of Lincoln Acres is a rather expensive area that's technically the farthest southeast you can go without leaving National City. This area is urban, like most of the city, but the homes here are larger and mostly owner-occupied. It encompasses Sweetwater Heights Park and is right next to Chula Vista Municipal Golf Course in the neighboring city of you guessed it Chula Vista. $$$$
Plaza and Euclid: This is another affluent neighborhood in National City. Located at the northeastern edge, it is near Paradise Valley Hospital, which also happens to be this city's largest employer. This area is also close to Paradise Valley Park and Recreation Center, several shopping centers, and naval housing. $$$$
National City Blvd and Civic Center:You cant miss this part of town because it's closest to the bay, and set up along some of the busiest roads in this city, giving it an urban feel. If you want to live rather close to the coast in National City, this is where you need to look for properties, most of which are rentals that are on the small side. This is another area that's near I-5, and it's also fairly close to Naval Base San Diego. Plus, it encompasses Pepper Park and is conveniently nearby lots of shopping plazas. $$
The average commute time here is 26 minutes, which is a little less than the state's average. That's pretty good for a Southern California area, so maybe those traffic horror stories you hear don't apply to National City! Then again, it helps that more residents than average carpool in this city.
Plus, the percentages of people who walk to work, work from home, and use public transportation are higher than both the state and national average here. Your public transportation options include the San Diego Trolley, which can take you all around San Diego and its many suburbs. In particular, the Blue Line of the trolley serves this area. National City is also served by about 10 city bus routes and two Amtrak stations that are within a few miles of this area.
As for things to do in this city, shopping is a big one. Westfield Plaza Bonita is a mall with several department stores, eateries, and a movie theater. And have you ever heard of the Mile of Cars? No, that's not a nickname for rush hour in Southern California! It's the mile of new car dealerships lining National Blvd. -- with more than 20 dealerships to choose from, you should be able to find your dream car here, and you're going to need it as a resident of the sprawling San Diego area!
If you've been looking for affordable housing in the San Diego area and are about to give up on what seems like a pipe dream, make sure you take a look at National City before you leave. Remember that if it was good enough for the sequel to _Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, _it's probably good enough for most people.
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