historic homes for sale San Diego

San Diego Historical Homes

Research real estate market trends and find San Diego historical homes for sale.  Search for new historic home listings, open houses, recently sold homes, and recent price reductions. To change how the search is displayed, click the gray button next to "Sort" to display historical houses by price, number of bedrooms, or days on the market.

If you would like more details on any of these San Diego historic listings, just click the "Ask A Question" button when viewing the details of the property. We can provide you with disclosures, past sales history, dates and prices of homes recently sold nearby, and more.  If you'd like to take a tour, click "Schedule A Showing."  

You can also create and save a custom home search by clicking the starred "Save" button to register for a free account so that you can receive email alerts whenever new San Diego historic houses come on the market.

San Diego Historic Homes October 23, 2020
24
Listed
45
Avg. DOM
$690.74
Avg. $ / Sq.Ft.
$1,224,500
Med. List Price
24 Properties
Page 1 of 2
3
Beds
2
Baths
1,219
Sq.Ft.
1925
Year Built
2
Days on Site
302950576
MLS
Craftsman bungalow in trendy downtown La Mesa. Known locally as the "Asa Skinner House", part of the Historic Resources Inventory due to its architectural significance. Beautiful light-filled entry...
2
Beds
1
Baths
784
Sq.Ft.
1949
Year Built
3
Days on Site
302949922
MLS
Located in the Old Escondido Historic District, this quaint 2 bedroom, 1 bath home sits on a flag lot that is very secluded and fully fenced. It has a charming front porch and a large backyard with...
$199,000
Subdivision: Whispering Pines
2
Beds
1
Baths
606
Sq.Ft.
1937
Year Built
4
Days on Site
200049229
MLS
This 1937 fixer sits on a mostly level .27 acre lot in the quaint neighborhood of Whispering Pines just a few miles from the historic town of Julian. Nice views of Volcan mtn and banner canyon.
$369,000
Subdivision: Cortez Hill Downtown
1
Beds
1
Baths
805
Sq.Ft.
1929
Year Built
6
Days on Site
200049049
MLS
Relive yester-year splendor! Gorgeous, spacious completely remodeled end-unit in beautiful historic El Cortez. Walk in footsteps of the Beatles, Reagan, Elvis, Bobby Kennedy & others. Marvel at...
$1,299,000
Subdivision: Loma Portal
3
Beds
2
Baths
1,664
Sq.Ft.
1925
Year Built
8
Days on Site
200048778
MLS
One of a kind 1925 historic Spanish Eclectic style home in Loma Portal. Exceptionally maintained with the essence of the original 1920's home & yet it has been remodeled for the convenience of...
$375,000
Subdivision: Hillcrest
1
Beds
1
Baths
576
Sq.Ft.
1960
Year Built
8
Days on Site
200048821
MLS
Own a piece of San Diego history! This mid-century modern style complex was designed by innovative Master Architects Lloyd Ruocco and Homer Delawie. Recently designated historic, and Mills Act...
3
Beds
3
Baths
2,440
Sq.Ft.
1960
Year Built
8
Days on Site
302944731
MLS
Beautiful well cared for family home located on a large lot in a quiet cul-de-sac in the Old Escondido Historic District. This home features three bedrooms (1 was the boy's dorm 33'x12') 3 full baths...
$1,090,000
Subdivision: Ocean Beach
3
Beds
3
Baths
1,437
Sq.Ft.
1929
Year Built
8
Days on Site
200048954
MLS
Character abounds in this historic & adorable beach cottage! Gorgeous original hardwood floors ground this charmer with its 2BR/2BA downstairs, vintage hall bathroom & huge master bathroom with...
$1,150,000
Subdivision: North Mission Hills
2
Beds
1F11/2
Baths
1,320
Sq.Ft.
1921
Year Built
12
Days on Site
200047933
MLS
This quintessential English cottage (think The Holiday) tucked amongst the most stately homes in San Diego's historic and highly desirable North Mission Hills. 2 story, 2 bedroom, 1-1/2 bath home...
2
Beds
2
Baths
1,417
Sq.Ft.
1912
Year Built
17
Days on Site
302913803
MLS
Stunning 1910 Craftsman in prime La Mesa Village neighborhood. Rare opportunity to own on the Historic Date Street within a 5 min flat walk to the village and eligible for the Mills Act Tax property...
$3,200,000
Subdivision: Village
6
Beds
3F11/2
Baths
3,536
Sq.Ft.
1914
Year Built
19
Days on Site
200047612
MLS
This home was built in 1914 for James MacMullen, editor and manager of the San Diego Union and Evening Tribune from 1899 to 1933. It had ten rooms and was built for a cost of $10,000. The architect...
$2,995,000
Subdivision: Composer District
4
Beds
2
Baths
1,711
Sq.Ft.
1928
Year Built
21
Days on Site
200047036
MLS
Modern Comfort with Historical Charm~Located in the quaint beach side of Cardiff by the Sea, this Spanish Colonial style home has been extensively renovated inside and out; adding modern comforts to...

Historically Designated Properties

Historic properties are found throughout San Diego in the communities of La Jolla, Del Mar, Coronado, Point Loma, Mission Hills, Rancho Santa Fe, North Park, South Park, Burlingame, La Mesa, Golden Hill, Bankers Hill, Park West, Downtown San Diego, and beyond.

Take a look below to learn about the different styles of architecture that this city has to offer and how those who are interested in buying one of these unique properties can benefit from preserving history.

historic homes in San Diego

Historic Properties Have Various Architectural Styles

San Diego is a haven for devotees of historical homes because our communities have a variety of design styles to choose from. Among those are:

Spanish Colonial

Dating back to the Spanish conquistadors, Spanish Colonial homes are often single story and characterized by thick stucco-clad walls, wood support beams, flat roofs, inner courtyards, and terracotta tiles.  In San Diego, these can predominantly be found in La Jolla, Rancho Santa Fe, Point Loma, National City, Mission Hills, La Mesa, and Kensington.

Tudor Revival

Tudor Revival homes are easily identified by their pitched roofs, focal chimneys, overhangs, timber decorated exteriors, and multi-paned windows.  Tudor homes experienced a surge in popularity during the first half of the 1900’s. Look for this style in Kensington, Bankers Hill, and Coronado

Prairie Style

Primarily built by Frank Lloyd Wright and originating from the midwest, Prairie Style homes are known for open flowing spaces, low-pitched roofs, wide eaves, horizontal lines, and horizontal bands of windows. Buyers looking for one of these properties should focus on Mission Hills where this style home was built between 1910 and 1920. 

Victorian

Victorian homes are narrow and tall with an asymmetrical design and large windows, towers, turrets, decorative trim, stained glass, and spindles.  Beaux Arts, Colonial Revival, and Medieval Gothic influences are prevalent in Victorian era design. Victorian architecture includes Italianate, Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, Folk Victorian, Shingle, Stick Style, Second Empire or Mansard, Richardsonian Romanesque, Eastlake, and Octagon.

Craftsman Bungalow

Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene , brothers in Pasadena California were inspired by the English Arts and Crafts movement and Japanese architecture seen at the World’s Columbian Exhibition when they began designing Craftsman homes.   Craftsman Bungalow homes are famous for their low-pitched gabled roofs, built-in cabinetry, single dormers, tapered columns, partially paned front doors, multi-paned windows, beams under deep roof eaves, and front porches.  These homes can be found predominantly in the city’s Golden Hill, Point Loma, Kensington, Park West, and North Park neighborhoods.

Art Deco

Originating from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs held in Paris in 1925, Art Deco designs are also referred to as style moderne.  Built in the 1920’s-1940’s, Art Deco architecture evolved into Art Moderne and Streamline Modern in the 1930's.  These homes features a block-like construction with a sleek linear appearance that’s accented with geometrical design elements. Look for this style in Point Loma, Ocean Beach, La Mesa, and National City.

Mid-Century Modern

Southern California is perhaps best known for mid-century modern architecture with its floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed beams, flat planes, and open floor plans.  Midcentury modern is an architectural style behind the beliefs of social change and a better society with the majority in the post-World War II era, however it began in the 1930s up until the late 1970s.  These homes can be found in many neighborhoods, but pay close attention to coastal San Diego, Old Del Mar, and La Jolla.

San Diego Has The Largest Collection Of Victorian Homes In the Country

In particular, National City, the second largest city in San Diego Country, has had a lasting impact on the area’s historic real estate market. The city as we know it today was founded in 1868 by Frank, Warren, and Levi Kimball. The brothers were builders, who made a point of  creating roads, railroads, and even a sea port in the territory that they had purchased from Mexico.

As they continued to build opportunity for industry, the city boomed. So did its real estate. Thankfully, over 250 of the original, Victorian-era homes are still standing today. While some of these properties - like the Kimball’s own home, which was famous for having indoor plumbing at the time of their inhabitation - have been turned into museums, many are still functioning residences.

San Diego Historic Home Tour

Based in Old Town San Diego, SOHO (Save Our Heritage Organisation) was a group of concerned citizens that formed in 1969 to save the 1887 Sherman Gilbert House.  They are now the third largest group in California of it's kind and works to protect and preserve the historic architectural and cultural resources of our region.   Various historical associations hold an annual home tour in San Diego such as the Mission Hills HeritageCoronado Historical AssociationOld Escondido Historic DistrictOld House Fair in South Park, and the La Jolla Historical Society (The Secret Garden Tour of La Jolla.)

The Mills Act is Dedicated to Preserving History

Since San Diego has such an active historic market, there are provisions to help ensure that its legacy continues.  One of these is the Mills Act, which offers significant property tax breaks (usually 65%-85%)  to homeowners who have had their home registered as a historic landmark and listed on the city’s historical registry.  Your property could be listed on the National Register and or California Register, but if the city of San Diego has not designated it historical, your property is not eligible for the Mills Act.

What Constitutes a Historic Home?

The City of San Diego’s Development Services Division defines historic properties as exhibiting one or more of the the following characteristics:

  1. Exemplifies or reflects special elements of the City's, a community's or a neighborhood's historical, archaeological, cultural, social, economic, political, aesthetic, engineering, landscaping or architectural development.

  2. Is identified with persons or events significant in local, state or national history.

  3. Embodies distinctive characteristics of a style, type, period or method of construction or is a valuable example of the use of indigenous materials or craftsmanship.

  4. Is representative of the notable work of a master builder, designer, architect, engineer, landscape architect, interior designer, artist or craftsman

  5. Is listed or has been determined eligible by the National Park Service

How Does The Mills Act Property Tax Reduction Work?

To make use of the Mills Act, homeowners must first apply to have a historical survey done by the Development Services Division in order to ensure that the property fulfills the proper requirements to be considered a historic landmark. Once the application process is complete and the home has been added to the city’s historical registry, the homeowner is then entitled to a tax break, based on their property’s value, for a period of ten years.

In exchange for the tax break, the homeowner must agree to rehabilitate, and maintain the property to a standard that preserves its historical significance. Any work done to the property must be agreed upon by the Development Services Division and they reserve the right to perform inspections, as needed, to ensure that the property is being sufficiently maintained.     

Buying A Historic Home 

Interestingly enough some buyers looking at older homes have no intention on preserving history.  They may have a desire to do a studs up remodel or make other drastic changes and could run into trouble when pulling a permit if the city all of a sudden wants to designate the site as historically significant.  Or they wouldn't mind obtaining historical designation so they could then apply for Mills Act tax savings.  In either case a buyer would want to meet with a consultant who has experience preparing a Historical Resource Research Report in San Diego.  A current list of San Diego Historical Consultants can be found HERE.  Another helpful resource is San Diego Development Services to view actual historical districts throughout San Diego.

Bill Gasset out of New England has a helpful list compiled of 11 Potential Problems to look for when purchasing an older home.  An older home comes with more ongoing maintenance and diligent care than a newer residence.

Need More Information as a buyer in San Diego?

If you’re having thoughts of buying or selling in San Diego, please do not hesitate to contact Aumann Bender & Associates with any questions or to begin your househunting process. We look forward to hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to help you find the home that best suits the needs of you and your family.