Renter's Guide to El Cajon
Located in Southern California, and just 15 miles north of the Mexican border, the city El Cajon, otherwise known as “The Big Box”, is fenced by rolling mountains and lush, green valley landscapes. As such, its residents enjoy a pleasant valley lifestyle that is still within close proximity to the beaches.
El Cajon is the fifth largest city in San Diego County, approximately 16 miles northeast from Chula Vista, CA (home of the US Olympic Training Center), 44 miles southeast of Oceanside, CA (and its premium fishing spots), and 21 miles northeast of San Diego’s world-famous beaches.
At the same time, El Cajon is about 25 times smaller than San Diego (with a fraction of the population), 3 times smaller than Chula Vista (which has more than double the population of El Cajon), and about 1/3rd the size of Oceanside (which has about twice as many people).
Unlike most of California, El Cajon’s climate is extremely mild, which results in pleasant weather year-round. Summers are sunny and somewhat humid, averaging 76°F. Autumns average 69°F and has an extended period of summery weather before taking a slight dip. Winters average 56°F and never get snow. Springs are warm and agreeable, averaging 64°F.
El Cajon, CA Demographics
- Total Population170,407
Female 85,909Male 84,498
- Median Age34.5
Cost of Living in El Cajon, CA
The Metropolitan Transit System maintains over 30 bus routes throughout El Cajon, many of which intersect with the El Cajon Transit Center. The average cost of a bus ticket in El Cajon is $2.25, with daily and monthly passes available at $5 and $72, respectively. Seniors, the disabled, and Medicare members are eligible for a reduced fare, while up to two children of 5 and under can ride free of charge with a paying adult. The average commute time in El Cajon is 23 minutes, a full two minutes under the national average.
Overall, the cost of living is slightly lower than the rest of California in terms of houses for rent in El Cajon, grocery prices, and the general cost of goods and services. However, the cost of living in El Cajon is still considerably higher than the US average in all of these respects.
Average Rent in El Cajon, CA
- El Cajon, CA Average Rental Price, March, 2018$1,434/mo
- 1 Bedroom$1,277
- 2 Bedrooms$1,500
El Cajon, CA Apartment Rent Ranges
- > $2,0003%
El Cajon, CA Rent Trends
|All rentals||Studio||1 Bed||2 Beds||3 Beds|
|Mar / 2018||$1,434||$1,024||$1,277||$1,500|
|May / 2017||$1,417||$1,001||$1,259||$1,479|
|Jan / 2017||$1,378||$1,020||$1,224||$1,443|
|Sept / 2016||$1,367||$944||$1,213||$1,430|
|May / 2016||$1,314||$892||$1,149||$1,390|
|Jan / 2016||$1,275||$878||$1,119||$1,342|
|Sept / 2015||$1,271||$853||$1,118||$1,335|
|May / 2015||$1,240||$852||$1,088||$1,304|
|Jan / 2015||$1,188||$848||$1,032||$1,254|
Average rent is projected to grow by 4% in 2017 compared to 2016.
Please note that projected rent growth is calculated at city level.
Average rent values on this page are aggregated from data from the following zip codes: 920199202092021
Living in El Cajon, CA
If you want to know what’s it like living in El Cajon, then imagine a pleasant climate year-round, a tidy suburban atmosphere, and an abundance of recreational entertainment for an accurate depiction. They’re also three pros of moving to El Cajon. However, overcrowding from a rapid population growth is one main cons of living in El Cajon for some.
The dense population brings with it a plethora of diversity, as evidenced by the multitude of art galleries and cultural events in the downtown area, and the clean parks in El Cajon. In 2013, El Cajon won the Achievement Award from the California Park and Recreation Society for its diverse range of parks and recreational programs. Most importantly, however, El Cajon was ranked as one of the “Best Suburbs to Raise a Family in San Diego” for 2016 based on a recent study using exemplary data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other federal agencies.
Things to do in El Cajon
The city’s treasured recreational parks are the most beautiful places in El Cajon. If you’re looking for things to do with kids, then give them some skateboards (and safety pads) and hit the ramps at Kennedy Park, or bring your beloved dog to the off-leash area of Wells Park.
For shopping, be sure to visit the boutiques in downtown El Cajon, as well as the Parkway Plaza, which has a host of department stores (such as Sears) and dining establishments–though you may be able to find cheaper goods at the local Walmart, Target, and Home Depot.
When you get hungry, El Cajon has plenty of basic chains such as Little Caesars and Pizza Hut, but for the best restaurants in El Cajon, check out the authentic Mexican flavors at Por Favor, the Mediterranean tastes at Greek Chicken, and Wings and Things–El Cajon’s very own local chicken franchise.
Couples’ attractions & points of interest in El Cajon include the plush seats and extra wide screens at the Regal Cinema, and the scrumptious frozen treats at the Yogurt Mill (check out the leaning tower replica while you’re there). Or, starting on the last day of September, you can join in on the sudsy fun and live music at the annual El Cajon Oktoberfest!
If you’re looking for free things to do, the local El Cajon animal shelter is always accepting volunteers (and you can pick up supplies at Petsmart), or freely browse the quiet and comfortable El Cajon public library. As for things with the family, start with the all-in-one bowling alley, billiards, and laser tag facilities at Parkway Bowl.
Employment and Economy
While El Cajon is a short commute away from the manufacturing hub of San Diego, it is somewhat of a manufacturing city itself. Taylor Guitars, Whirl Wind Propellers, and Norman Motorsports all based in El Cajon. Aside from that, El Cajon enjoys a small but thriving publishing industry with Sunbelt Publications, an important economic staple since 1984.
El Cajon, CA Households
- Total Number of Households56,256
Family 40,891Non-family 15,366
Children 20,694No Children 35,562
- Average People Per Household2.96
- Median Household Income$50,166
- Median Housing Costs Per Month$1,203
Education in El Cajon
El Cajon’s population benefits from a fair share of accredited academic institutions. The Grossmont College recently won a Chet DeVore award for its comprehensive athletics program, and the El Cajon Valley High School is experiencing its highest Academic Performance Index ever. The Cuyamaca College was recently named in a $2 million grant (among other local community colleges).
El Cajon, CA Education Statistics
- No High School7%
- Some High School37%
- Some College28%
- Associate Degree7%
- Bachelor Degree14%
- Graduate Degree6%
Tips for Renting in El Cajon
If you are moving to El Cajon from San Diego to get away from the crowds, then head to Fletcher Hills. This is one of El Cajon’s quieter areas with a tightknit community. You’ll also be within close proximity to the area’s bountiful beaches and enchanting nature trails.
Under San Diego County law, tenants are legally responsible for their guests’ behavior, and may be fined if emergency services are required on behalf of a guest. Also, if you plan to have a waterbed, know that you are legally required to have a renter’s insurance plan that covers at least $100,000 in damages.
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