La Mesa is a small town just east of college area and San Diego State. It’s a good spot for those who prefer things a little quieter than the beach towns and city life areas. It also tends to have much cheaper rent prices than the majority of San Diego.

La Mesa has a popular farmer’s market every Friday from 3PM-7PM. Stop by to pick up some fresh produce, grab a bite to eat, or check out some arts and crafts made by local vendors. If you like to play games while grabbing a beer, Coin Haus is the spot for you. They have tons of arcade games and over 50 beers that you pour yourself! Bolt Brewery is another popular place for beers and bites.

There are a number of outdoor activities near La Mesa. If you enjoy hiking, you’ll love Cowles Mountain. Just a short drive away from central La Mesa, this 3-mile hike is a  great way to get some exercise and have fun with friends and family. You can also visit Mt. Helix, which is accessible by car, to see a beautiful view of San Diego.

La Mesa Home Prices 

There are two main areas of La Mesa. These are the average home price stats as of June 2022. For more local area statistics, visit the San Diego Association of Realtors website. 

La Mesa Grossmont 91942: $860,000 SFH, $525,000 Condo (year to date) 
La Mesa Mount Helix 91941: $1,000,000 SFH, $490,000 Condo (year to date)  

Rental Rates in La Mesa 

There is a good mix of apartments and single family homes in the La Mesa area. The average single family home in La Mesa rents for about $2,800. Condos typically rent for around $2,000. One bedroom apartments rent for $1,664 and higher. 55% of homes in La Mesa are rented, compared to 34% owned. 

Pros of investing in la mesa 

La Mesa is a popular area for first-time home buyers, as it is cheaper than other popular areas in the county (North Park, La Jolla, etc.). It's a hot spot for both investors and owner occupants. This means that good deals get swept up quickly. La Mesa has a lot to offer between the short drive to the beach, closeness to SDSU, and cute downtown area. Renters are just as keen on La Mesa and if you are priced appropriately you can expect qualified tenants to move in quickly.

Cons of Investing in La Mesa 

Because of it's affordability and popularity, be prepared to offer the asking price or higher for these properties. Additionally, many of the properties in La Mesa are older, mid-century properties that may need quite a bit of work to get rent-ready (possible foundation issues, new roof, etc.) 

Neighborhoods by price La Mesa map

Neighborhoods by price

The map above shows the average home prices for different areas of La Mesa. The darker areas are more expensive and prices decrease in the lighter zones. The priciest areas are close to Lemon Ave and Mount Helix. Cheaper options can be found by Cowles Mountain and Alvarado Road. 

Neighborhoods ranked in safety La Mesa map

Neighborhoods Ranked in Safety

The above map showcases the amount of crime per neighborhood in La Mesa. Darker areas see higher instances of crime whereas the lighter ones tend to be safer. The most crime is concentrated around the city center; outlying areas near Grandview Road and Spring Street have the lowest rates. 

sample deals in la mesa 

4800 Williamsburg Lane #208 - Full Deal Report

  • $329,000 purchase price
  • -$375 cash flow per month
  • 3.2% cap rate 
  • -5.9% COC

Lovely turnkey 2B/2BA condo not far from downtown La Mesa. Only $75,000 needed to acquire the property and even with nearly $400 in HOA fees factored in, the unit is only a few hundred dollars a month cash flow negative. $2,000/month may be a stretch for this unit as well. It's imperative that 2 bedroom rental condos have at least two reserved parking spaces, otherwise it can be brutal to rent out. Condos in La Mesa are less desirable than detached houses for renters since the homes tend to have nice large yards, given that there is more space than the City of San Diego in general.


3612 Birdie Drive - Full Deal Report

Front property image of 3612 Birdie Drive
  • $589,000 purchase price
  • -$992 cash flow per month
  • 2.6% cap rate
  • -8.8% COC

This is an older home that would need a neutral coat of paint to market better. Great yard would be a huge plus for renters, but would likely need to be maintained by the landlord to stay healthy. Keep in mind that in La Mesa trash isn't provided by the City so you will need to factor in increased utility costs during vacancies for water, trash, and power. At nearly 2,000 square feet, this property is large, so a healthy reserve would need to be kept for make ready expenses when tenants move out. The numbers don't pencil great due to the price-to-rent ratio, however.

Things to Avoid in La Mesa 

When choosing where to buy your investment property, you should be on the lookout for a few things. These things can be a red flag for the kind of area you want to avoid. 

  • Trash in the front or backyard 
  • Vandalism nearby (graffiti, damaged property, etc.) 
  • Multiple vacant homes close by 
  • Poor street light; street feels unsafe
  • Backs up or is close to a major highway or freeway 
  • Foundation issues 

La mEsa Property Management

Good Life Property Management has become experts in La Mesa property management over the last 7 years. As a result, we know how to effectively market and manage your La Mesa home. We find that days on market are average when compared to other areas and vacancy is about average as well. La Mesa property management can be challenging, but doesn’t have to be with Good Life.

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