Vacation Rental Market Analysis: San Diego, CA

The Evolve Team
The Evolve Team
March 16, 2023

With white sand coastline, cliffside trails, and a welcoming downtown atmosphere, San Diego attracts outdoor enthusiasts, culture lovers, and sightseeing families alike.

More than 35 million travelers come to enjoy this California vacation spot every year — which can make investing in San Diego real estate as attractive as a Pacific Ocean sunset. 

To help you understand the earning potential this West Coast market presents, we created a free, downloadable vacation rental market analysis

Inside you’ll find:

  • Rental income potential by property size
  • Average occupancy by property size
  • Average daily rate by property size
  • Average days booked in advance
  • Average length of stay
  • Vacation rental inventory by property size
  • Occupancy rate by month

The findings in this analysis are based on Evolve’s San Diego market averages in the last year and provide a general baseline for performance potential. They’re designed to help inform smart buying decisions when investing in San Diego real estate.

Download Our Complete San Diego Vacation Rental Investment Analysis

Green icon of a beach house with waves, an umbrella, and stars

Why San Diego Is a Great Place to Own Vacation Rental Property

San Diego draws all kinds of travelers with its array of activities and attractions. There are 31 beaches that make it easy to embrace the sand and surf, while hiking trails and golf courses offer greener adventures. Downtown, visitors can explore boutiques and galleries in the Gaslamp Quarter, plus famous family must-sees like Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo. The city also has many spaces approved for four-legged friends, making it a prime destination for pet-friendly vacation seekers. 

Average temperatures in the area are gloriously moderate year-round. So, while most travelers tend to visit in the spring and summer, San Diego vacation rental occupancy doesn’t see drastic changes. That means owners have an opportunity to book guests in any season and earn consistent income.

The median home price in San Diego currently sits around $962,000, though, and a high upfront cost can be common when investing in coastal areas (especially in California). That said, our real estate experts say offsetting an investment of this size comes down to choosing the right property — and managing it well.

If you’re thinking of buying an investment property in San Diego, make your search easier by starting with vetted homes for sale

Green icon of a crystal ball with the words "profit prediction" in the middle with stars

How Much Money Can You Earn with a San Diego Vacation Rental?

With year-round demand from travelers, San Diego presents solid potential for passive income through vacation rental. To better understand what you can make with a San Diego real estate investment, consider these important factors.

Property Size

Because of the variety of travelers visiting San Diego, homes of all sizes have the potential for strong occupancy. According to our data, five-bedroom homes tend to earn the most annual revenue. However, they also make up the smallest portion of available inventory and may be harder to find.

On the other end of the spectrum, one-bedroom homes pull in the most nights booked on average and make up the largest percentage of inventory. This gives investors an opportunity to potentially break into the market at lower upfront costs while still earning consistent bookings.

Property Location

There are two options for a desirable vacation rental location in San Diego: close to the beach, or in the heart of downtown. The San Diego Bay separates the cityscape from the shoreline, so it’s not really possible to have both. But our in-house experts say there are location must-haves in either scenario.

If you want a beach house investment, look for properties either directly on the sand or just a quick walk away. Proximity to attractions like the Mission Beach Boardwalk or Ocean Beach Pier are also great perks for eager beach travelers. If you prefer the city route, scoop up property near Balboa Park or Seaport Village, and consider your distance from big schools like UCSD and SDSU for the family weekend crowd, too.

Interested in making a beach house investment in other markets? Consider these best places to buy one across the U.S.

Property Amenities

With great weather to enjoy, the most sought-after amenity for San Diego investment properties is outdoor space. A rooftop deck or private balcony adds value to city apartments, while a landscaped backyard with profit-driving perks like a fire pit or hot tub can wow guests booking standalone homes. 

Look for options with scenic water views, too, since many visitors are coming for the beach. And whether you’re right on the water or not, popular beach amenities like towels, umbrellas, and beach chairs can help make guests’ stays more convenient — and earn you five-star reviews.

Download Our Full San Diego, CA Vacation Rental Market Analysis

Consistent popularity, minimal seasonality, and a wide range of potential property sizes make San Diego real estate investing a worthwhile consideration. 

To get a better sense of your income potential, download our free Vacation Rental Market Analysis today. It has tons of useful insights, like:

  • Average daily rate by property size 
  • Expected seasonality in vacation rental demand
  • Average length of stay in high and low seasons
  • Inventory breakdown based on property size

Evaluating your investment opportunities should feel as stress-free as a paddle along the coves of La Jolla. Make use of our exclusive performance intel to guide your next steps toward buying an investment property in San Diego.

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