2012 San Diego Luxury Condo Market Report

The luxury condo market in downtown San Diego was quite strong throughout 2012 with limited supply of luxury condos specially in the $400k to $900k range. By Spring time 2012 there was a strong sense of urgency by many buyers previously waiting on the sidelines “to see what happens”.  It seems that March 2012 was the turning point when prices actually started rising and when people started realizing the lack of available inventory.

In 2012 the economy in general seemed to gain  momentum but the downtown San Diego Real Estate market specially was positively affected by multiple factors like:

  • Cash investors buying in bulk thanks to terrific yields offered on investment properties bought for rental purposes.
  • Banks now making it way easier for home owners to modify their loan or short sale their home. This results in less foreclosures putting upward pressure on prices.
  • Loser (although still quite strict) lending guidelines for home mortgages.
  • Equity sellers starting to take a bigger share of the market vs. REO’s (bank owned Real Estate)
  • Limited new supply in condos with no new construction happening

For 2013 we anticipate luxury condo inventory to remain limited as no new luxury high rise buildings are expected to be completed any time soon. BOSA has plans for a few buildings in the Marina District and the Columbia District but construction has not even began yet.

Conventional equity sellers are coming back slowly but not in great numbers as many of them are holding on to their property and not delinquent on their mortgage but are still underwater (owing more than what the condo is worth). Short sales and REO’s are not flooding the market anymore either. All these factors together will help keep inventory quite limited throughout 2013. Paired with a steady demand for San Diego luxury condos we expect prices to keep rising slowly but consistently specially for properties below the $1 million price tag.

Number of Luxury Condo Sales

Average Selling Price per Square Foot
$521 (up from $484 in 2011)

Average Selling Price
$772,229 (up from $739,239 in 2011)

Lowest Sale per Foot
Electra at $184 / Sq Ft

The lowest priced sale per square foot in 2012 was for an Electra condo with 2 bedrooms 2.5 baths and 2,450 sq ft. This is a town home style residence on Electra’s ground level with direct street access. I recall this was a bank owned unit with multiple price reductions because of a not so desirable location in the building, shortage of windows and natural light. However the $184 per foot price tag is an incredible buy. The purchase price was $450,000.

Highest Sale per Foot
The Pinnacle at $1,080 / Sq Ft

This sale was for a penthouse level condo at The Pinnacle with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and 2,640 square foot. Located on the 32nd floor with panoramic views it sold for $2,850,000.

Overall Lowest Sale Price
Sapphire Tower $292,000

This Sapphire Tower studio featuring 1 bath and 505 sq ft sold for $292,000. Unit has a balcony but no views. This was the lowest priced sale in a luxury high rise for 2012.

Overall Highest Sale Price
The Pinnacle $2,850,000

The same sale that set the highest sale per foot registered as the highest overall sale at $2,850,000. It was a penthouse level condo at The Pinnacle with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and 2,640 square foot. Located on the 32nd floor with panoramic views.

Lowest Average Selling Price by Neighborhood
East Village $579,521

Highest Average Selling Price by Neighborhood
Marina $815,496


Lowest Average Price per foot by Neighborhood
Marina $514 per foot

Highest Average Price per foot by Neighborhood
Columbia $529 per foot


Building with The Least Sales
The Metropolitan = 1 Condo Sale

Building with the Most Sales
Electra = 28 Condo Sales


Lowest Average Selling Price
Cityfront Terrace at $497,039

Highest Average Selling Price
Meridian at $1,321,574


Lowest Average Selling Price per Foot
Cityfront Terrace $419 per foot

Highest Average Selling Price per Foot
The Metropolitan $758 per foot



graph of luxury condos average selling price by building

graph of average selling price by neighborhood

graph of average price by neighborhood

Downtown San Diego Luxury Condo Sales Data for 2012

*Source: San Diego MLS – Data deemed reliable but not guaranteed

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