- Housing market in Morro Bay
- Life on the hill, in town, and on the beach
- What makes Morro Bay a place to call home
Tired of traffic? Gasping for a breath of fresh air? Addicted to ocean breezes or hungry for small town life? Pull off Highway 1 and into the arms of Morro Bay, Calif. It’s an odd sort of town, but it has enough charm and great people to make it worth settling down here.
Christine Johnson, 42, moved to Morro Bay in January 2009 with her husband, Lee, and son, Nicholas.
“We had a chance to relocate anywhere in the U.S., and we decided to come to Morro Bay because we wanted to live in California, and we didn’t want to live in Southern California again,” she said. “We have a child this time around, so we wanted good public schools. We didn’t want the stressors of other places we had lived…we wanted a more balanced lifestyle.”
The Johnsons eventually settled on a neighborhood north of town, and found a home nestled right along the beach among older homes. The area is referred to as the beach tract, and has provided the lifestyle they were searching for.
“We didn’t want to go somewhere that might be beautiful but also might require us to trade time for money to afford it.” - Christine Johnson
“At first this wasn’t in our view, because it is maybe two miles from town, and we wanted to be in a walkable situation, but then we found the bike path, so can bike to town,” she said of the neighborhood. “And we made a decision to come here because the homes cannot be made into two stories, so we like the sense that no one is going to have a gargatuan house.”
Besides having a market, school and parks close by, Johnson said she appreciates her neighbors. “Another benefit for us is there are a lot of children in the neighborhood, but there are also a lot of older folks in the neighborhood, so Nicholas really has a bond with a lot of the older people. There’s a mix; there’s not just one type of person.”
Selling the Good Life
Realtor Pamela Craig has lived in Morro Bay for 55 years, and is the best advocate for the city’s lifestyle. Most new residents, she explained, come from Southern Calif. or the Valley, and Craig in particular deals primarily with clients purchasing second homes.
The most desirable area, she said, is uptown. “Mostly because it’s not as windy, it’s warmer, closer to town. You get down close to the waterfront and the price range goes way up,” she said, adding that beachfront homes pull in higher prices as well.
“I’ve had people tell me they’ve traveled all over the world and they like it here.” -Pamela Craig, Morro Bay Realtor
Besides the central town area, another popular spot is up on the hillside along Highway 1. While the location is not as convenient, the views are incredible. “It depends on the person too; you can have the views or live on the beach,” Craig said.
As for the housing market, Craig acknowledged that things have been sluggish. She’s optimistic about the future, however.
“It’s better than a couple of months ago. We’re not as hard hit as some of the other areas. One of the things to consider is that prices are still down, and interest has gone down, and as long as that holds, we’ll start being okay,” she said.
Worth the Drive
Animal science junior Alix Swanson is one of a handful of Cal Poly students who calls Morro Bay home. She has to factor in a bit more time to get to and from school but stresses that the commute doesn’t bother her.
“I really don’t mind the drive to school; it’s short enough and sometimes it is a nice time to decompress on my way home from school,” she said.
Swanson lives above the Embarcadero and settled on Morro Bay because the rent was cheaper than living around Cal Poly and she loves being close to the beach. “I also lived in Morro Bay when I was little,” she added, “so it was nice to ‘come home’ in a way.”
While Johnson particularly enjoys the Embarcadero, Swanson spends most of her time in the uptown area on Morro Bay Boulevard. “There are a lot of neat shops to look at and it really feels like a community,” she said. “For example, you can go to Top Dog and get a cup of coffee and see all sorts of people who belong together and care about the town.”
Sign Me Up!
If this type of lifestyle sounds appealing, now is a good time to buy in. Craig stressed that the market is in a prime spot for those looking to call Morro Bay home. Home prices aside, she remarked that perhaps the best reason is simply the city itself. “It’s relaxed, it’s not as commercialized, it’s pretty,” and the people are wonderful.
The sense of community fostered in Morro Bay is something Johnson especially appreciates. “We have come at a time when a lot of other people of like minds have moved here with their families,” she said. “A lot of people here are concerned with the same issues we’re concerned about.”
Caring about where you live–and about the people around you–is just important to those looking for a good spot to settle down as all the amenities. Morro Bay has it all, so why not gives this funky beach town a chance?