Santa Cruz Real Estate Info

Santa Cruz is the quintessential beach town. It was here that Hawaiian royalty first introduced surfing to the mainland--and locals and visitors alike have been riding the waves ever since. Not far from the surf break, calliope music and laughter fills the air at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the West Coast's last remaining seaside amusement park.

A few blocks from the beach is Santa Cruz's newly renovated downtown. The pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined streets are filled with vibrant shops and galleries, outdoor bistros and sidewalk musicians - all in keeping with Surf City's offbeat personality.

The county seat and largest city of the county that shares its name, Santa Cruz, California, is found on the northern edge of the Monterey Bay, about 70 miles south of San Francisco. The city is one of the larger coastal cities in the area, measured to have a population of more than 56,000 in 2008, an increase of almost 3% since the 2000 census. Santa Cruz was one of the earliest Spanish settlements in the late 18th century, when several missions were established in what was then called Alta California. Before any European settlers arrived, however, the area was home to the nomadic Ohlone Native Americans. Today it is a thriving metropolitan city with a laid-back, welcoming vibe. In 2008, the estimated median income for a household in Santa Cruz was just over $63,000. Meanwhile, Santa Cruz homes were measured to have a median value of more than $740,000 in 2008, though Santa Cruz real estate prices have fallen significantly in the past couple of years.

Santa Cruz's most significant industries include agriculture, tourism, education and technology. The city is an important location in the organic wave, and it is home to the California Certified Organic Farmers headquarters. Other companies headquartered in Santa Cruz include Cruzio, Fullpower Technologies, O'Neill, Plantronics, RF Micro Devices, Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Giro and Santa Cruz Skateboards. Santa Cruz's economy has been weathering the U.S. financial crisis better than many California cities. In October 2009, its unemployment rate was just 8.9% compared with the state's average 12.3%.

Transportation in and around the city is provided by the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District, which operates a bus service throughout the county. Metro also provides bus service between Santa Cruz and San Jose via a partnership with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and Amtrak California. The nearest airports are the San Jose International Airport, the Monterey Peninsula Airport, the San Francisco International Airport and the Oakland International Airport.

Educational institutions in Santa Cruz include the University of California, Santa Cruz, Five Branches University and Cabrillo College, which is actually in nearby Aptos but holds some of its classes in Santa Cruz. Popular attractions include the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the redwood forests and Monterey Bay, which is a protected marine sanctuary. The Santa Cruz, Big Trees and Pacific Railway runs tourist trains between the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Roaring Camp in Felton, through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. The is host annually to the summer Shakespeare Santa Cruz festival, the Santa Cruz Film Festival, Santa Cruz Pride and the Wharf to Wharf Race as well as surfing competitions like the O'Neill Cold Water Classic and the International Longboard Association contest.