Community Guide:
San Clemente
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San Clemente


Located six miles south of San Juan Capistrano at the southern tip of the county, San Clemente is known for its ocean views, climate and Spanish Colonial style architecture.


San Clemente was among the first master planned communities built from totally open land in the United States. Before erecting a single structure on the rolling coastal hills, town founder and former mayor of Seattle Ole Hanson laid out an expansive plan based on the Spanish Colonial architectural style including restaurants, a clubhouse, residences, public parks, a public pool, a fishing pier, and even equestrian trails.


In December 1925, Ole Hanson chartered luxury limousines to transport nearly 600 prospective buyers from Los Angeles and beyond to listen to his sales pitch; some were attracted by the free hot meals that accompanied his presentation. That was the birth of San Clemente, when average lots sold for $300. Prime lots went for $1,500. Within the first six months, Hanson set a record by selling 1,200 lots.


In 1969, an event occurred which accelerated the growth and reputation of San Clemente. In that year President Richard Nixon purchased a Spanish mansion in the southern part of town that Hamilton Cotton had built in 1927. This "Western White House" became the site of numerous historical meetings.


Historic homeowners must abide by city codes that protect the aesthetic spirit and style of early San Clemente. New development east of the 5 freeway now elevates Spanish Colonial Revival architecture to new interpretations, incorporating red roofs, balconies, and promenades as the demographics of San Clemente shift and new residents are drawn to the Mediterranean charm of this community. City development officials have leveraged new growth to funnel money into programs that reinvigorate and restore the historic downtown.


San Clemente is also the surfing media capital of the world as well as a surfing destination. It is home to Surfing Magazine, The Surfer's Journal, and Longboard Magazine, with Surfer Magazine just up the freeway in San Juan Capistrano.

Coast District

The Coast District homes are located among the rolling hills east of highway 5, between Calle Cuadra and Camino De Los Mares.  Home prices in the Coast District range from a lower price point for a single family home in the communities of Marbrisa, Ponderorsa and Vista Del Verde.  The more expensive homes can be found in the Coral Point, Eagles Ridge, Marlborough Seaview and Sea Coast Estates communities where the homes tend to be large in scale, higher up on the ridge and have nice panoramic ocean and canyon views. The numerous cul-de-sac streets protect homes from traffic flow and enhance the sense of privacy.

Forster Ranch

Many homeowners are drawn to Forster Ranch, located on the northeast side of San Clemente, because the homes and lot sizes tend to be larger in scale than homes on the ocean side of the freeway; there are also many community parks and great schools which appeals to families with children. 

Forster Ranch homes were originally built in the 1980's with some newer developments built more recently, however the majority of the homes have a Spanish and Mediterranean style consistant with the original San Clemente theme of being the "Spanish Village by the Sea."

Marble Head

Located on the northeast side of San Clemente, Marblehead homes sit on top of the hill overlooking the ocean with great catalina and sunset views! Irvine-based Sun Cal Companies purchased the 248-acre Marblehead Coastal Development with plans to build a community of beautiful villas and estate homes surrounded by sprawling parks, natural canyons, hiking trails and rugged open spaces along with a four-story hotel and a commercial center.

Lauded as "one of the last and certainly one of the most important ocean front developments in Orange County" Marblehead local citizens took a keen interest in this project to insure that it enhanced the unique fabric of this community while maintaining an economic balance. 

Rancho San Clemente

Rancho San Clemente's premiere location at the top of the ridge on the east side of the freeway just above the San Clemente High School give the majority of its homes ocean and Catalina Island views.  Consisting of Spanish & Mediterranean designed single family homes and ocean view condos the communitiy is built around two streets that form a circle:  Calle Del Cerro & Vista Montana.  The various communities that branch off these two streets are typically private communities on cul-de-sac streets which offer the utmost in privacy.  The homes are uniform in style and typically very well cared for with great pride of ownership.  The Rancho San Clemente area is located next to the Rancho San Clemente Park and dog park as well as the Bella Colina Golf Course in Talega. 

San Clemente Central

Central San Clemente is the most densely populated area with a variety of beach homes, condos, duplexes, hillside estates and historic homes, along with the downtown social hub of the city with shops, restaurants and the pier.  The area is more condensed than other parts of San Clemente and the majority of Vacation Rentals will be found in this area.  The rental season in San Clemente typically runs from early spring to late summer.  Because of the density of housing and lower price point than other San Clemente neighborhoods many investors choose to purchase properties in the San Clemente Central area due to it's cash flow and quicker turnover of homes.


San Clemente North

The North area of San Clemente is an eclectic mixture of historic homes built in the 1920's during the time the town founder Ole Hanson was creating his vision of the "Spanish Village by the Sea", and a range of homes from the 1950s through the 1970s  built mostly as small single level vacation homes at the time, as well as ultra exclusive enclaves with home sales reaching over 3 million dollars.

North San Clemente has remained a sought after location due to it's diverse collection of housing along with its proximity to both North Beach, the playground and convenient MetroLink Station.  North Beach is popular with sunbathers, surfers and locals frequenting the excercise path.  

A public beach parking lot makes it easy to access, though wandering further south along the perimeter of this beach you'll find the hills become steep and feature houses perched, overlooking the ocean. Sets of stairs to nearly every street above the cliffs provide additional access to the beaches that offer more isolated areas to relax.

As you enter the City of San Clemente from Dana Point, you will have passed around the bend in Pacific Coast Highway, entering a flat beach area with gently sloped hills in which the Ole Hansen Beach Club, shopping and roads to the freeway sit.  This flat beach condition is your easiest access point until you reach the San Clemente Pier.


San Clemente Southeast

The SouthEast section of San Clemente is located East of the 5 freeway, ending at the Orange County/San Diego County line and the San Onofre State Beach to the South.  This location is primarily filled with custom homesites on larger lots than those found West of the freeway.  Homeowners enjoy panoramic and unobstructed ocean views, with some overlooking the San Clemente Municipal Golf Course.

The San Clemente Municipal Golf Course in the Southeast is one of a number of community assets that founder Ole Hanson sold to the city for $1 each without bonded indebtedness in 1928 when the city incorporated.  Among other such gift assets are the Fishing Pier, the Community Center, the Ole Hanson Beach Club, St. Clement's Church, Plaza Park, San Clemente Grammar School (now Las Palmas Elementary) and the streets, original bridle paths, sidewalks, water and sewer systems.

These "free and clear" gifts helped to make San Clemente the wealthiest per capita city in the United States by 1929.

San Clemente Southwest

Home to Nixon's "Western White House" and some of the best ocean front homes in coastal Orange County, Southwest San Clemente offers luxury beach living at its finest. The majority of Southwest San Clemente homes and condos have easy beach access and a multitude of amenities. Southwest San Clemente is close to San Clemente State Beach and San Onofre State Beach along with the world famous Trestles surf break.

Southwest San Clemente is a neighborhood consisting of custom homes with some historical homes built in the 1920's called "Ole Hansons."  Some of the most popular beaches are located in the Southwest San Clemente area: T-Street beach, Riviera Beach, Lost Winds, Trestles surf beach just to name a few.  Homes in the Southwest San Clemente area will start typically 10-20% higher than homes in central and north side of San Clemente due to the large majority of single family and large custom homes.


With over 40 different developments within the Talega area of San Clemente, this community is large enough to be a city of it's own.  Located in the Northern canyons of San Clemente, Talega homes began construction in 1999 and are still continuing to be built as of today.  With it's more uniformly built homes, and private and quiet feel to the neighborhoods, Talega appeals to families and people looking for a relaxed lifestyle.

With a championship golf course, Talega Swim & Athletic Club, Saluda Swim Club, Tierra Grand Swim Club and a newly built Talega Village Center residents enjoy the many benefits of living in San Clemente's newest master planned community. 

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