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Old 01-26-2014, 11:56 PM
 
Location: Monterey County, CA
5,480 posts, read 12,318,004 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaynetarzana View Post
Derek,

As usual, your input is insightful and invaluable. Your observations are the kind that can't be extracted from the quick visits we have made to Laguna Beach. Hearing you compare the level of family friendliness to cities I am more familiar with really helped put things into perspective. That is not what we are looking for at all. We definitely want a family friendly community where the focus is on raising happy, healthy kids. It doesn't sound like Laguna Beach is that place. Sounds like we would need to consider the suburbs surrounding Laguna Beach. Would you say your assessment of Dana Point is the same or similar to that of Laguna Beach?

Again, thanks for your input as we try to sort out just where in SoCal would be the best place to land.
Laguna Beach is definitely the most expensive, exclusive beach community in that southern OC region. Dana Point isn't much lower in cost, though not quite as high as Laguna. Along with the high cost of towns like this comes higher degrees of pretentiousness and materialism. There is an unmistakably higher 'bling' factor in these places. My aunt and her husband are retirees who did fairly well in their day and so can now afford to live in a nice area along a golf course in Dana Point. But I'm not sure how many youngish families can afford to live in Dana Point. I know we wouldn't look there. Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo and Mission Viejo are where I would recommend families with younger children take a look. Maybe other locals with children will chime in as well such as Charles.

Keep in mind what might be ideal for one demographic (e.g. wealthy, single, divorced, empty nesters, retirees) may not be for another (young families with multiple children). So while it may be a little more liberal per se, there are a lot of other factors to consider when it comes to daily living in a particular neighborhood. And those other factors can sometimes effect your typical daily lives more. For example the kids go out to play. But wait, there are no others kids to play with or very few. Then they go to school only to discover that all the kids have the most expensive, designer clothes, toys and electronic gadgets along with parents dropping them off in the most expensive, buffed out cars, SUVs, etc... And of course they love to compare/comment on what others have and do. I'm obviously exaggerating a bit to make a point. But these kinds of things are more common in these areas.

Derek

Last edited by MtnSurfer; 01-27-2014 at 12:22 AM..
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Old 01-27-2014, 06:09 AM
 
Location: Aliso Viejo, Orange County, CA
4,948 posts, read 6,336,259 times
Reputation: 4064
Derek makes a number of excellent points, but IMHO, Dana Point is not a snobbish area; and is a good place to raise kids. The local image is that Dana Point is a sleepy coastal town best liked by retirees on fixed incomes.

It's true there are a lot of retirees there who have cashed in their homes for a place in the sun. There are also families with kids there. So, while about 17% of Dana Point's population is over the age of 65, fully 22 % are aged 18 years or younger.

Besides retirees, there are also a number of other people of modest means in Dana Point who have recently witnessed the value of their homes sky rocket, while their incomes have not.

Also, although there are many upper-middle, and some upper-income folks in Dana Point, the city's median income is actually a bit lower than that of most surrounding cities; and it has a higher poverty rate.

Dana Point
$80,938 median income
8.4% poverty rate

Aliso Viejo
$98,515 median income
4.7% poverty rate

Laguna Niguel
$100,589 median income
5.6% poverty rate

Mission Viejo
$96,088 median income
5.3% poverty rate
Mission Viejo (city) QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau


I suspect that most of the rise in housing prices is due to investors. IF prices remain high, then I guess we can expect a demographic shift towards fewer retirees, but more upper-middle income families.

I also think Dana Point would have to shed ts sleepy image in order to attract a substantial number of singles. It's a very nice place, but there just isn't much to do there. The sleepiness, plus past affordability, all combined in a small coastal SoCal town, is what used to lure seniors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MtnSurfer View Post
Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo and Mission Viejo are where I would recommend families with younger children take a look. Maybe other locals with children will chime in as well such as Charles.
Derek
BTW, Charles is MIA, but from many of the pictures he proudly posted in the past, his Los Flores neighborhood looks like Kid Central.

Last edited by pacific2; 01-27-2014 at 07:10 AM..
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Dana Point
1,224 posts, read 1,437,436 times
Reputation: 677
Quote:
Originally Posted by MtnSurfer View Post
Laguna Beach is definitely the most expensive, exclusive beach community in that southern OC region. Dana Point isn't much lower in cost, though not quite as high as Laguna. Along with the high cost of towns like this comes higher degrees of pretentiousness and materialism. There is an unmistakably higher 'bling' factor in these places. My aunt and her husband are retirees who did fairly well in their day and so can now afford to live in a nice area along a golf course in Dana Point. But I'm not sure how many youngish families can afford to live in Dana Point. I know we wouldn't look there. Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo and Mission Viejo are where I would recommend families with younger children take a look. Maybe other locals with children will chime in as well such as Charles.
I'd have to agree. The area where I live near South Laguna is not exactly priced for young families though there are a few wealthy families in the neighborhood.

Honestly, I think with a $750,000 budget, I would just stay away from the coast altogether. Sure you could maybe fit into a small-ish tear down type house, or something very old, or even a 1,000 sqft condo, but why would you subject yourself to that just to live near the coast? I'm assuming $750,000 is the top of your budget too?

If I were you I'd look at more well priced communities more inland and just drive the extra 10-20 minutes if you want to see the coast.
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Dana Point
1,224 posts, read 1,437,436 times
Reputation: 677
Quote:
Originally Posted by pacific2 View Post
Derek makes a number of excellent points, but IMHO, Dana Point is not a snobbish area; and is a good place to raise kids. The local image is that Dana Point is a sleepy coastal town best liked by retirees on fixed incomes.

It's true there are a lot of retirees there who have cashed in their homes for a place in the sun. There are also families with kids there. So, while about 17% of Dana Point's population is over the age of 65, fully 22 % are aged 18 years or younger.

Besides retirees, there are also a number of other people of modest means in Dana Point who have recently witnessed the value of their homes sky rocket, while their incomes have not.

Also, although there are many upper-middle, and some upper-income folks in Dana Point, the city's median income is actually a bit lower than that of most surrounding cities; and it has a higher poverty rate.

Like I said previously, median income is a horrible way to judge an area for exclusiveness and housing prices especially for coastal cities.

Laguna Beach has a lower median income than Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, and Mission Viejo at $95,020, but it can't be denied that Laguna Beach is considered more desirable and exclusive than those cities. Dana Point is also considered more exclusive and desirable than all 3 of those cities you brought up which have "higher median incomes", and the housing prices reflect that. Heck, Santa Monica only has a median income of $72,000, and look at the housing prices there.

Laguna Beach
Median List Price $2,495k
Median List $/SqFt. $1,378

Santa Monica
Median List Price $1,572K
Median List $/SqFt. $951

Dana Point
Median List Price $945K
Median List $/SqFt. $531

Aliso Viejo
Median List Price $475K
Median List $/SqFt. $344

Median income really only applies to 9-5 W2 type working communities, like Aliso Viejo and Mission Viejo where wealth is generally diffuse, not Coastal Communities where there is a huge concentration of wealth that is not necessarily shown by a W2 statement. Simply put, young families cannot afford to buy SFHs in Coastal OC or Coastal LA, and their money would go further in places in inland communities like Aliso Viejo, or Mission Viejo.

Dana Point has a low median income because there is a large renter class who don't own homes here but rent 1-2 bedroom apartments (mostly service workers who work in the surrounding areas), around the Selva and Golden Lantern area. No one who makes $80,000 is going to be buying a SFH in Dana Point.

In terms of price per sqft, only Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach sell for a higher price than Dana Point as MtnSurfer alluded to. I don't think it's really a great city for someone who has a $750,000 budget.

Quote:
I also think Dana Point would have to shed ts sleepy image in order to attract a substantial number of singles. It's a very nice place, but there just isn't much to do there. The sleepiness, plus past affordability, all combined in a small coastal SoCal town, is what used to lure seniors.
This isn't just going to happen because the residents simply don't want it. The city council has had a lot of in-fighting about the town center revitalization project and the project has stalled, and stalled. I can tell you one thing, the people in our neighborhood do not want Dana Point to become a tourist center like Laguna Beach is to the north. Traffic jams every weekend, beaches packed to the brim like sardines in a can, no thanks. At the last revitalization meeting, the general opinion from residents is that we want to follow more of a Malibu type coastal city model. Yes, it's boring, and not a lot to do in terms of tourist attraction, but that's the way most people who own her want it.

Last edited by ExeterMedia; 01-27-2014 at 11:02 AM..
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
950 posts, read 2,222,337 times
Reputation: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by MtnSurfer View Post
Laguna Beach is definitely the most expensive, exclusive beach community in that southern OC region. Dana Point isn't much lower in cost, though not quite as high as Laguna. Along with the high cost of towns like this comes higher degrees of pretentiousness and materialism. There is an unmistakably higher 'bling' factor in these places. My aunt and her husband are retirees who did fairly well in their day and so can now afford to live in a nice area along a golf course in Dana Point. But I'm not sure how many youngish families can afford to live in Dana Point. I know we wouldn't look there. Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo and Mission Viejo are where I would recommend families with younger children take a look. Maybe other locals with children will chime in as well such as Charles.

Keep in mind what might be ideal for one demographic (e.g. wealthy, single, divorced, empty nesters, retirees) may not be for another (young families with multiple children). So while it may be a little more liberal per se, there are a lot of other factors to consider when it comes to daily living in a particular neighborhood. And those other factors can sometimes effect your typical daily lives more. For example the kids go out to play. But wait, there are no others kids to play with or very few. Then they go to school only to discover that all the kids have the most expensive, designer clothes, toys and electronic gadgets along with parents dropping them off in the most expensive, buffed out cars, SUVs, etc... And of course they love to compare/comment on what others have and do. I'm obviously exaggerating a bit to make a point. But these kinds of things are more common in these areas.

Derek
Again Derek, such good points being made and I thank you. We definitely want to be in an area with mostly families and as I said previously, politics are much less important. I really feel like I am narrowing it down with everyone's input which is why I love this forum. I started out thinking that Laguna Beach was the promised land in OC for us, but now I see that we need to be looking in the adjacent, inland suburbs. I am assuming we would want to be west of the 5 for better access to the coast and air quality, but that would rule out places like Mission Viejo, Las Flores, Ladera Ranch etc.., and perhaps we should keep those in mind. So now, my question is which of these Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Las Flores or Ladera Ranch is most politically moderate, comprised mostly of families, has excellent schools and good air quality? I should add that we are not looking for lots of land although it would be nice not to be able to hand our neighbor something through the window. We don't wish to have horses and we like being within 10 minutes of Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joes and the like. Ideally, we would find a 4/2 house with around 2000 sq ft. That would allow us room to grow. We MUCH prefer ranch style single story homes (we love mid century modern) to the two story stucco, Spanish tile roof homes.

We're getting there! Thanks again for the input everyone.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
950 posts, read 2,222,337 times
Reputation: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by pacific2 View Post
BTW, Charles is MIA, but from many of the pictures he proudly posted in the past, his Los Flores neighborhood looks like Kid Central.
Thanks for your post pacific2. I have been surprised not to hear from Charles. Perhaps it was a New Year's resolution to spend less time on city data. Does anyone know more about Las Flores? Should we be considering that as well?
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Dana Point
1,224 posts, read 1,437,436 times
Reputation: 677
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaynetarzana View Post
Again Derek, such good points being made and I thank you. We definitely want to be in an area with mostly families and as I said previously, politics are much less important. I really feel like I am narrowing it down with everyone's input which is why I love this forum. I started out thinking that Laguna Beach was the promised land in OC for us, but now I see that we need to be looking in the adjacent, inland suburbs. I am assuming we would want to be west of the 5 for better access to the coast and air quality, but that would rule out places like Mission Viejo, Las Flores, Ladera Ranch etc.., and perhaps we should keep those in mind. So now, my question is which of these Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Las Flores or Ladera Ranch is most politically moderate, comprised mostly of families, has excellent schools and good air quality? I should add that we are not looking for lots of land although it would be nice not to be able to hand our neighbor something through the window. We don't wish to have horses and we like being within 10 minutes of Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joes and the like. Ideally, we would find a 4/2 house with around 2000 sq ft. That would allow us room to grow. We MUCH prefer ranch style single story homes (we love mid century modern) to the two story stucco, Spanish tile roof homes.

We're getting there! Thanks again for the input everyone.
Out of all those, with your wants, I'd say Aliso Viejo and Laguna Niguel.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
950 posts, read 2,222,337 times
Reputation: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExeterMedia View Post
I'd have to agree. The area where I live near South Laguna is not exactly priced for young families though there are a few wealthy families in the neighborhood.

Honestly, I think with a $750,000 budget, I would just stay away from the coast altogether. Sure you could maybe fit into a small-ish tear down type house, or something very old, or even a 1,000 sqft condo, but why would you subject yourself to that just to live near the coast? I'm assuming $750,000 is the top of your budget too?

If I were you I'd look at more well priced communities more inland and just drive the extra 10-20 minutes if you want to see the coast.
Thanks for your post and the great information once again. You are right that squeezing our family into a tiny, barely livable house isn't worth the proximity to the ocean, especially if it isn't a family community.

Yes, $750K is our breaking point for sure and that could not include HOA or Mello Roos. We would be much more comfortable if we stayed under $700K. And all of this is assuming DH will be making the same as he is in the Bay area and I'm not sure how likely that is.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:13 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
950 posts, read 2,222,337 times
Reputation: 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExeterMedia View Post
In terms of price per sqft, only Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach sell for a higher price than Dana Point as MtnSurfer alluded to. I don't think it's really a great city for someone who has a $750,000 budget.

This isn't just going to happen because the residents simply don't want it. The city council has had a lot of in-fighting about the town center revitalization project and the project has stalled, and stalled. I can tell you one thing, the people in our neighborhood do not want Dana Point to become a tourist center like Laguna Beach is to the north. Traffic jams every weekend, beaches packed to the brim like sardines in a can, no thanks. At the last revitalization meeting, the general opinion from residents is that we want to follow more of a Malibu type coastal city model. Yes, it's boring, and not a lot to do in terms of tourist attraction, but that's the way most people who own her want it.
Sleepy towns aren't our thing so it sounds like we can cross Dana Point off the list as well.
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Old 01-27-2014, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Dana Point
1,224 posts, read 1,437,436 times
Reputation: 677
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaynetarzana View Post
Sleepy towns aren't our thing so it sounds like we can cross Dana Point off the list as well.
Well besides the fact that I think the OC Beaches are pretty much out of your budget, I'd say yeah, cross Dana Point off your list if you're looking for a crowded tourist area. Dana Point isn't really sleepy, that's a somewhat outdated opinion from people who don't actually live here, it's simply not "touristy". We don't get a lot of tourist traffic like LB, but that has been changing the last 5-6 years (something I'm not a fan of) especially between Salt Creek Beach, and the Harbor area. Hence, the revitalization project has become a hot topic (mostly to accommodate the higher amount of cars and people walking on PCH).

For people who actually live here, it's not very sleepy at all. It's not Santa Monica, or Laguna Beach, think more Malibu but without all the celebs walking around.

All of the surfing, kayaking, hiking, and great cafes that you find in Newport and Laguna Beach, are here in Dana Point too, but they aren't "tourist" popular yet, which is better IMO because it's not as crowded. For instance, Plums near Newport Beach, one of the better breakfast places in OC, you are looking at a 30-40 minute wait if you don't get there before 9am on the weekend. Bonjour in Dana Point? Maybe a 5 minute wait, and you get higher quality food IMO. Want to rent a Stand Up Paddle Board in Laguna Beach? $40 an hour (tourist premium). Rent one in Dana Point? $15 to $20 an hour.

Laguna Beach at the 133 and PCH intersection? You can barely put your towel down without getting it on someone else's towel, or being 2 feet from the volleyball courts. Salt Creek Beach? I can easily bring a cooler, multiple beach towels, an umbrella, and have 20 feet of clearance around me and the family, and no one complains. I'm hoping it stays that way for the next 15-20 years at least.

Last edited by ExeterMedia; 01-27-2014 at 11:27 AM..
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