Rancho Santa Fe (downtown, shown left), in San Diego's North County, is a bucolic and affluent residential community on rolling hills filled with Eucalyptus trees and orchards. Years ago thousands of Eucalyptus trees were planted to be used for the railroad, but the wood turned out to not be appropriate.
Located about 5 miles inland from the ocean (adjacent to and east of Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas) and perhaps 20 miles from San Diego, the Rancho Santa Fe community offers the best of suburban living but at a hefty price.
The town is unincorporated and covers an area of approximately 6.9 square miles. If you are seeking a luxury home, estate, or horse proeprty in the San Diego area that is over-the-top, you will likely find it here.
Rancho Santa Fe real estate offers many large luxury homes and private estates, a host of exclusive gated communities, and a style of sophisticated living found in other expensive communities such as Bel-Air, Beverly Hills, and Malibu....but a more rural, less pretentious, and more private one.
A recent Forbes poll named the Rancho Santa Fe real estate market as the second most expensive zip code in the US, and a drive through the area will readily show you why this is so.
Rancho Santa Fe homes are very large (most are more than 5,000 SF), lots are often measured in acres, and the privacy (which is highly coveted here) and exclusivity due to the many gated communities and properties contribute to the desirability and priciness of this Southern California gem. Many residents live here less than full-time, having one or more homes elsewhere in the country or the world; it is estimated that 30 - 40% of the homeowners only live here on a part-time basis.
Rancho Santa Fe homes are among the most expensive in Southern California.
Housing styles tend to be Tuscan, Spanish or Mediterranean, but you will find a host of contemporary and traditional properties as well as some architectural styles that are difficult to classify.
There is new construction, all of it custom or semi-custom, as well as more established properties. The town has strict guidelines regarding building, landscaping and exterior alterations which helps preserve the look and feel of this affluent community.
Many private homes are gated, and gated communities (many with guards) are common - Del Rayo Estates, Fairbanks Ranch, The Bridges, The Rivers Estates, Del Mar Country Club, Cielo, The Farms, and The Crosby Estates are among these exclusive neighborhoods. (photo above is of the popular Rancho Santa Fe Inn)
Average housing prices in Ranch Santa Fe are well into the millions, and you will be hard pressed to find a detached home for less than $1.5 million, even a tear down.
Attached Rancho Santa Fe are far more afforable, in general, but are rare, with limited inventory.
Many Rancho Santa Fe homes offer idyllic views of the surrounding countryside and hills, and in some cases the ocean, several miles away.
If you are seeking a truly special luxury home or estate and money is no object, you will find it here. Got $10 million, $20 million or more to spend? Not a problem. At any given time you wil likely find a number of homes on the market in excess of $10 million. If you are interested in a large equestrian property you will likely find several of these to choose from.
Don't expect to drive around and look at actual Rancho Santa Fe properties for sale - signs are not permitted, open houses are rare, many neighborhoods are gated, and most sellers require that buyers and their agents be accompanied by the listing agent; for many higher end homes you will need to prove you are financially qualified to buy before you can even preview the property.
The Covenant is the original planned community in Rancho Santa Fe and includes the downtown commercial area.
Much of the area was planned by Lillian Rice, a well known architect who has influenced the look and style of many of the Rancho Santa Fe homes and buildings in the area.
All residents have P.O. boxes rather than home mail delivery, and there are no street lights or sidewalks outside of the town area. Lots are at least 1 acre and prices tend to be higher in the Covenant than in other area of RSF. Most of the roads have Spanish names.
The other large area of Rancho Santa Fe is Fairbanks Ranch, an unincorporated area (census-designated place or CDP) consisting of 2 gated communities.
Rancho Santa Fe is primarily a residential community but there are a couple of areas, including the town center, that offer a host of upscale shopping, fine dining, galleries and town offices. Mille Fleurs is an upscale dining establishment, located in the heart of RSF's downtown, and generally considered the best dining.
The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe also provides one with a great dining experience, indoors and out, in a quaint hotel (designed by well-known architect Lillian Rice) that also offers a range of lodging options (companies often host corporate events here).
Rancho Santa Fe also offers a wonderful art fair once a year in the center of town, with artists from around the region (see photo at left).
The Del Mar Race Track is located just a few miles away, offering horse racing, concerts, the annual San Diego County fair, and a host of trade shows and other events (home expo, antiques fair, etc.).
Children may attend the elementary and middle public schools, up to grade 8 or a number of private schools (The Horizon School, Nativity School, and the Diegueno Country School, among others. Students in the higher grades attend the Encinitas School District located just a few miles away.
Rancho Santa Fe is a very special and unique residential community in Southern Californi. Enjoy YOUR tour below, then give me a call to help find your perfect Rancho Santa Fe home.