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Santa Cruz Real Estate

Santa Cruz City

Home of world class surf spots, a Marine Sanctuary, University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), West Cliff Dr, and much more, Santa Cruz is a vibrant and diverse City. 

With active and health-oriented locals, this unique city is well known for its outdoor activities including hiking, mountain biking, and surfing. Additionally, there are an abundance of yoga studios, masseuses, chiropractors, and other holistic health clinics throughout. With a large percentage of property a walk or short drive from the ocean or UCSC, westside Santa Cruz real estate is in high demand. 

Santa Cruz is one of the four incorporated cities within Santa Cruz County. Therefore, zoning and planning laws may differ from those of the county and you should consult the city’s planning and zoning departments directly with permit and zoning questions. 


The Westside 

Starting at Natural Bridges state beach and moving north through the UCSC, you’ll find a beautiful coastline, residential neighborhoods and redwood forested trails which are frequently visited by hikers, runners, and mountain bikers. University professors, students, and professionals largely make up the population in this area and it includes some of the higher priced real estate in the county. 

As you move along the Coast, you find a famous break at Steamer’s Lane as well as Cowell’s surf spot for beginners. West Cliff Drive serves as a long, popular promenade along a coastal cliff, frequented by walkers (and their pets), runners, bikers, and rollerbladers. Just a few blocks inland from West Cliff Drive you’ll find a mix of mini-mansions, small beach bungalows, and family homes. 

Further inland, you reach Downtown, a major social hub in the city. Downtown largely refers to the area surrounding Pacific Ave, which features boutique shops, bars, restaurants, the Museum of Art and History (the MAH). The MAH recently co-funded and launched a brand new social-venue, Abbot square, which includes modern bars, restaurants, and outdoor seating as well as weekly live music and regular free events for community members. 

The real estate in this area is a mixture of student rentals, modern condos such as 2030 N. Pacific condominiums and family homes. Though scarce, historic victorian homes in this area will grace the real estate market now and again. 

Northward, Pogonip is a scenic 640-acre expanse of open meadows, woodlands and creeks and includes a multi-use trail. 

Two of the largest employers in the city are the UCSC and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. University of California, Santa Cruz was cited by Forbes magazine as one of the “most beautiful universities”  in the world. It is also one of the 115 institutions in the United State that are classified as an R1: Research Universities (Highest research activity) in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. With a recent increase in admitted students, UC Santa Cruz has created a need for affordable student housing on the Westside. With demand increasing relative to supply, this has created a viable investment opportunity for those who are prepared to manage student rentals. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk was founded in 1907 and is California’s oldest surviving amusement park. This attraction includes various rides and games along the beach and is a tourist favorite, especially during the summer months. 


The Eastside 

Once you cross the San Lorenzo River you are on what many locals consider the “Eastside” of Santa Cruz, which extends through Live Oak. The City boundary ends just before 7th Ave, and encompasses Seabright beach and the small-boat harbor (Santa Cruz Harbor). This area is often very busy in the summer-time due to the thriving tourism industry. Further north, Ocean St, Soquel Ave, and Water Street offers a variety of restaurants, grocery stores, and other commercial amenities as well as more affordable residential housing. 

Other parts of the County that would be considered apart of the Eastside include Live Oak and Pleasure Point. We’ve included more information about these areas here [link to live oak page].

In 2016, the estimated median household income in the city of Santa Cruz was $62,471 and 51.1% of residents over 25 had a bachelor’s degree or higher. 


Santa Cruz City Schools

Homes in Santa Cruz belong to the Santa Cruz Elementary school district. The Santa Cruz City school district includes numerous school at each grade level, all of which are listed here.