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Rancho Santa Margarita


Serenity in SoCal… Back in the 1980s, southern California was bursting at the seams. As the baby-boomer generation sought homes for their growing families, environmental regulations and a not-in-my-backyard mentality seemed to close off new construction in the region. Then, in 1988, the planned community of Rancho Santa Margarita opened for business, and the result was something akin to the Oklahoma land rush of 1879.

Fast forward twenty-five years. According to a recent survey, in a city of some 47,000 people 99% believe that Rancho Santa Margarita is an "excellent" place to live. Why so much happiness? Let's start with the climate.

Out of the coastal fog belt, Rancho Santa Margarita is flanked by the Santa Ana Mountains, snowcapped in winter and colorful in fall. Inland Orange County has long been an agricultural paradise where fertile soil nourishes backyard orange and avocado trees, as well as larger farms and nurseries. Roses grow throughout the year, and sea breezes keep summers mild.

To the west, the ocean resorts of Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano beckon the beachcomber. Beyond the mountains, Lake Elsinore draws boaters, and the Coachella Valley communities of Palm Springs and Palm Desert offer updated Hollywood glamour. Midway between San Diego and Los Angeles, Rancho Santa Margarita's enviable location is a large part of its success.

A planned community demands farseeing management, and SAMLARC fills that role here. The Rancho Santa Margarita Landscape and Recreation Corporation supervises many aspects of the local lifestyle, including pools and lakes, plantings and parks, and homeowners' associations. Working closely with the independent City government, SAMLARC's efforts have gone a long way toward keeping that happiness quotient high. Unlike many small municipalities today, Rancho Santa Margarita is solvent and unburdened by debt. City services are sound, and drastic cutbacks have for the most part proved to be unnecessary.

Rancho Santa Margarita real estate has consistently held its value. Crime rates are low, and 74% of the population owns their own homes. Of these privately owned homes, 71% are owner-occupied, an indication of stability and local pride. Two gated communities, Dove Canyon and Rancho Cielo, boast a large percentage of celebrities, with many professional athletes and media executives in the mix. The Robinson Ranch development attracts entrepreneurs and professionals. Because no home in the region was constructed before 1988, the housing stock has fewer problems and requires less maintenance than in communities of older homes.

Rancho Santa Margarita is served by the Saddleback Valley Unified School District, a consistently high-achieving public school system. In nearby Santa Ana, the Bowers Museum is respected for the high quality of its exhibitions. The University of California at Irvine features frequent concerts, seminars, extension classes, and other stimulating offerings, while Chapman University's film program and law school are highly regarded. California State University, Fullerton, and Saddleback College in Mission Viejo round out the higher-education scene. For those not yet ready for college, there's Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm.

Each year shoppers from around the world converge on South Coast Plaza in neighboring Costa Mesa, taking advantage of this central mall to sample the delights of Nordstrom's, Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue, along with hundreds of smaller, intriguing boutiques. With entertainment, restaurants, and a performing arts center, it's easy to spend whole days in this fabled retail mecca.

There are many enclaves of affluence from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border. For tranquil beauty, easy access to the outdoors, cultural content and sensible government, few areas fulfill expectations as well as Rancho Santa Margarita. Happiness is contagious, after all…buy Rancho Santa Margarita real estate.


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