Exterior shot of Otay Ranch residential builds. | Courtesy Baldwin & Sons

An Affordable Community in San Diego

Carrie Rossenfeld Residential & Mixed Use

Otay Ranch, a master-planned community in eastern Chula Vista, California, a city in the southern part of San Diego County, was recently ranked number 5 in the state of California and number 14 in the nation, according to a study by real estate consultant John Burns. Otay Ranch moved up on the ranking to the 14 spot, indicating a 254 percent surge and increase in sales to 563 year over year from 2016 to 2017, a sales growth that represents the highest growth rate among the top 25 communities on the list.

According to the John Burns’ study, “Increased supply propels San Diego into the top 25. Multiple new communities opened in 2017 in the Otay Ranch master plan, offering a range of relatively affordable product in a supply-starved market.”

The study goes on to say that some mature North County masterplans continue to sell well, but South County’s affordability remains a big draw. “We rate San Diego as a strong market given the brisk sales rates and impressive price appreciation in 2017.”

SoCal Real Estate spoke with Melissa Hazlett, VP of sales and marketing for Otay Ranch developer Baldwin & Sons, about what makes Otay Ranch unique in the San Diego market and why it makes sense to develop workforce housing in South County.

SoCal Real Estate: What makes Otay Ranch stand out in the San Diego market?
Otay Ranch by Baldwin & Sons is a traditional, pedestrian-friendly community designed specifically for families of all types and sizes. The community combines the best of old-style neighborhoods with the latest in community design. Our community is consistently ranked one of the top-selling communities in San Diego County. We attribute buyer interest to a few key factors. One is that we simply offer more new home options, styles, and floorplans here than you can find anywhere else in the county. No matter what style of home you are looking for, you are bound to find it here. Another is that where key portions of north and coastal San Diego County are extremely cost prohibitive, families can still find quality homes at Otay Ranch that fit within their budgets.

Why does it make sense to develop housing that’s affordable in this area of the market?
Much like other key Southern California regions, especially those that are coastal, San Diego is an expensive place to purchase a home. The lifestyle, weather, world-class beaches, and amenities found in the county offer an unparalleled lifestyle. Thus, interest in being here is high, and many families can’t afford to live in most parts of the county. However, eastern Chula Vista is both an in-demand part of the county and one in which we are able to provide quality housing at prices that align with what the region’s buyers can afford. In this part of the county, we have found there to be a strong military, government, and healthcare-industry presence, and these demographics comprise approximately 76 percent of our buyer pool. As a developer, we pride ourselves on bringing a high-quality community to the region and these buyers, which provides wonderful family living, at prices that make sense.

What types of businesses are attracted to this area?
Otay Ranch by Baldwin & Sons is primarily a residential community, offering numerous, distinct for-sale, single-family detached and townhome-attached homes. However, in bringing much needed housing to the region, we are also looking to fill additional demand that this housing brings. For example, we recently completed and opened our first hotel, a Marriott Residence Inn. It’s experiencing incredible success because there hasn’t been a new hotel built for 20 years in this region, despite demand for room stays growing among both business and recreational travelers. We have also built quality, apartments for residents that aren’t quite ready to purchase homes or that want the flexibility of a lease. Also, the community sits adjacent to the Otay Ranch Town Center, a vibrant destination for residents abounding with culinary, shopping, and entertainment amenities. These elements comprise the commercial aspect of the community.

How is this development affecting infrastructure in the area?
As part our role as developer, we have created a series of streets, as well as parks, dedicated swim facilities and even a school within our master plan. In fact, we recently celebrated the completion and opening of a major thoroughfare, Heritage Road, as well as the grand opening of Montecito Park, a wonderful outdoor space which encourages play, exercise and social activities within the community. These were two key infrastructure milestones attended by city and county officials, our founder and CEO Al Baldwin, as well as our valued builder partners, which include Pacific Coast Communities and Heritage Building & Development.