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148 Apartments for rent in San Marcos, CA

Read Guide >
Last updated February 20 at 2:41pm UTC
663 Hatfield Dr
San Elijo Hills
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 20 at 9:32am UTC
3 Bedrooms
1093 Vega Way
San Elijo Hills
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 20 at 9:10am UTC
4 Bedrooms
525 Whitesage
San Elijo Hills
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 18 at 11:05am UTC
2 Bedrooms
488 Camino Verde
San Marcos
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 18 at 11:01am UTC
4 Bedrooms
1165 Via Teresa
San Marcos
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 18 at 2:11am UTC
4 Bedrooms
468 Camino Verde
San Marcos
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 17 at 1:39am UTC
4 Bedrooms
1303 Chert Drive
San Elijo Hills
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 16 at 11:23am UTC
4 Bedrooms
539 Calle Capistrano
San Marcos
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 16 at 11:21am UTC
4 Bedrooms
267 Glendale Ave
San Marcos
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 16 at 11:15am UTC
5 Bedrooms
782 Via Barquero
San Marcos
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 16 at 10:43am UTC
4 Bedrooms
807 Via Bahia
San Marcos
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 15 at 3:53pm UTC
4 Bedrooms
2346 Sentinel Ln
University Commons
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 15 at 3:52pm UTC
3 Bedrooms
533 Peach Way - 533
San Marcos
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 15 at 11:57am UTC
3 Bedrooms
816 Luminara Way
San Elijo Hills
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 15 at 11:55am UTC
5 Bedrooms
1267 Elfin Forest Road East
San Marcos
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 20 at 11:41am UTC
2 Bedrooms
2109 Cosmo Way
University Commons
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 20 at 11:41am UTC
3 Bedrooms
1175 Highbluff Avenue
San Marcos
San Marcos, CA
Updated February 15 at 11:56am UTC
2 Bedrooms
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City Guide
San Marcos
A Feast of Plenty

Only one in three residents in San Marcos rents rather than owns, but that doesn’t mean apartments are difficult to come by. The city’s population has spiked nearly 50 percent in the past decade and plenty of new apartments, lofts, and condos have been erected to keep pace. You’ll find that your options are plentiful. Waiting lists are rare and move-in specials do pop up, so scour the market thoroughly to make sure you get the best bang for your buck and pow for your dinero.

Get Out!

If you’re the hermitic type who doesn’t like to venture outside the comfort of your humble abode unless absolutely necessary, we hate to tell you that you’ll be missing out on the best of San Marcos. The city is dotted with parks, hiking and biking trails, and golf courses that can be enjoyed year-round; a 15-minute drive can put you on the majestic Pacific shoreline, while San Diego’s numerous outdoors attractions are only a 30-minute trek away. The city also features monthly concerts in Woodland Park from May through September, several annual festivals and celebrations, and tons of wildlife-viewing hotspots.

Night owls, meanwhile, aren’t likely to be disappointed by the various live music venues, vino bars, and sports pubs that keep things hopping after the sun’s gone down. But whether you prefer to get your kicks under the sun or moon, be sure to bring a hearty appetite along, as the city’s well-known Old California Restaurant Row features quality cuisines from all over the globe that are sure to keep your taste buds watering.

Getting Around

The best way to bum around San Marcos is obviously via your own set of wheels, but foot soldiers will be glad to know the city is served by an above average bus system with an above average name (there are certainly worse things in the world than riding the “Breeze” to work each morning). The Sprinter light rail, which runs from Oceanside to Escondido, stops in San Marcos as well and is a viable option for commuters living in one of the apartment complexes situated nearby.

Tips for Apartment Scavengers

A few quick things to keep in mind before signing your John Hancock on the dotted line of an apartment lease:

Most leases in San Marcos are good for a full year, although a limited number of properties offer short-term and month-to-month leases as well (usually at a slightly steeper price). Nearly all landlords charge an initial security/good faith deposit (which is often refundable if you keep your digs in tip-top shape) and some charge additional (dare we say “mystery?”) move-in fees.

It’s typical for landlords to run a credit and background check on tenants before extending a leasing offer to make sure they don’t have a history of being deadbeat renters. Obviously, if you’re credit/renter’s history is questionable or nonexistent you’ll likely need a co-signer to score your dream dwellings in San Marcos.

Some larger complexes use showrooms/prototype apartments when showing off their property, but if at all possible, ask to see the actual unit you’ll be renting. Sometimes this isn’t an option (especially if the previous tenants haven’t moved out or the apartment hasn’t been properly cleaned or fixed up yet), but it’s worth a shot. Either way, when it’s time to fill out your move-in checklist, mark down even the most seemingly insignificant and minor blemishes and give your new place a thorough inspection to make sure everything is up to par as promised.

And now for the fun part: scouring paradise for the lodgings of your lives! Welcome to North County, bienvenido a San Marcos, and happy hunting!

Rent Report
San Marcos

February 2018 San Marcos Rent Report

Welcome to the February 2018 San Marcos Rent Report. San Marcos rents remained steady over the past month. In this report, we'll evaluate trends in the San Marcos rental market, including comparisons to cities throughout the metro, state, and nation.

San Marcos rents held steady over the past month

San Marcos rents have remained flat over the past month, however, they are up moderately by 3.1% year-over-year. Currently, median rents in San Marcos stand at $1,510 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,960 for a two-bedroom. San Marcos' year-over-year rent growth lags the state average of 4.1%, but exceeds the national average of 2.6%.

Rents rising across the San Diego Metro

Throughout the past year, rent increases have been occurring not just in the city of San Marcos, but across the entire metro. Of the largest 10 cities that we have data for in the San Diego metro, all of them have seen prices rise. Here's a look at how rents compare across some of the largest cities in the metro.

  • Encinitas has the most expensive rents in the San Diego metro, with a two-bedroom median of $2,490; the city has also seen rent growth of 7.4% over the past year, the fastest in the metro.
  • Over the past month, Escondido has seen the biggest rent drop in the metro, with a decline of 0.3%. Median two-bedrooms there cost $1,870, while one-bedrooms go for $1,440.
  • National City has the least expensive rents in the San Diego metro, with a two-bedroom median of $1,510; rents increased 6.7% over the past year but remained flat month-over-month.

Many large cities nationwide show more affordable rents compared to San Marcos

As rents have increased moderately in San Marcos, a few large cities nationwide have also seen rents grow modestly. Compared to most large cities across the country, San Marcos is less affordable for renters.

  • Rents increased significantly in other cities across the state, with California as a whole logging rent growth of 4.1% over the past year. For example, rents have grown by 2.6% in San Jose, 2.0% in Los Angeles, and 0.3% in San Francisco.
  • San Marcos' median two-bedroom rent of $1,960 is above the national average of $1,160. Nationwide, rents have grown by 2.6% over the past year compared to the 3.1% rise in San Marcos.
  • While San Marcos' rents rose moderately over the past year, many cities nationwide also saw increases, including Phoenix (+3.6%), Seattle (+2.4%), and Dallas (+2.2%).
  • Renters will generally find more expensive prices in San Marcos than most large cities. For example, Phoenix has a median 2BR rent of $1,020, where San Marcos is nearly twice that price.

For more information check out our national report. You can also access our full data for cities and counties across the U.S. at this link.
City Median 1BR price Median 2BR price M/M price change Y/Y price change
San Diego $1,530 $1,990 -0.1% 3.0%
Chula Vista $1,600 $2,080 0.6% 5.7%
Oceanside $1,750 $2,270 0.3% 6.9%
Escondido $1,440 $1,870 -0.3% 7.0%
Carlsbad $1,870 $2,420 0.0% 2.7%
El Cajon $1,250 $1,620 0.5% 6.6%
Vista $1,410 $1,820 0.6% 6.4%
San Marcos $1,510 $1,960 0.4% 3.1%
Encinitas $1,920 $2,490 2.3% 7.4%
National City $1,160 $1,510 0.4% 6.7%
See more

Methodology - Recent Updates:

Data from private listing sites, including our own, tends to skew toward luxury apartments, which introduces sample bias when estimates are calculated directly from these listings. To address these limitations, we’ve recently made major updates to our methodology, which we believe have greatly improved the accuracy and reliability of our estimates.

Read more about our new methodology below, or see a more detailed post here.


Apartment List is committed to making our rent estimates the best and most accurate available. To do this, we start with reliable median rent statistics from the Census Bureau, then extrapolate them forward to the current month using a growth rate calculated from our listing data. In doing so, we use a same-unit analysis similar to Case-Shiller’s approach, comparing only units that are available across both time periods to provide an accurate picture of rent growth in cities across the country.

Our approach corrects for the sample bias inherent in other private sources, producing results that are much closer to statistics published by the Census Bureau and HUD. Our methodology also allows us to construct a picture of rent growth over an extended period of time, with estimates that are updated each month.

Read more about our methodology here.

About Rent Reports:

Apartment List publishes monthly reports on rental trends for hundreds of cities across the U.S. We intend these reports to be a source of reliable information that help renters and policymakers make sound decisions, and we invest significant time and effort in gathering and analyzing rent data. Our work is covered regularly by journalists across the country.

We are continuously working to improve our methodology and data, with the goal of providing renters with the information that they need to make the best decisions.