Real estate works similarly to other markets.

This $250K house is on the smallest lot in San Diego

SAN DIEGO — At $250,000, the price tag for a National City home is hard to beat. But it’s about the size of a studio apartment and falling apart.

Listed for sale on L Avenue is a 500-square-foot lot, with a 94-year-old house occupying 98 percent of it.

Depending on how you look at it, it is either the last gasp of a market that has overheated or a screaming deal in a region that has largely stopped building single-family homes.

Listing agent Nicole Kaemerle said the home is located in a nice area, and the cost to rehab the property — now completely gutted — may not be too expensive because it is so small.

This 500-square-feet home on L Avenue in National City is listed for sale for $250,000. The inside of the home has been gutted down to the studs. (Nelvin C. Cepeda/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Photo: Nelvin C. Cepeda/TNS

“Honestly, the most run down property on this street was this property,” she said. “I think it is pretty reasonably priced. It’s your own lot. It’s not connected to anything.”

The home, located at 1725 L Ave., is in extreme disrepair and has the smallest lot size of any single-family property for sale in the county. White paint is chipping off the exterior of the 490-square-foot home, windows are broken, there are signs of water damage, and all that’s left of the interior is the wooden frame.

Despite all the work likely involved in making the property livable, it has a few positives in the competitive San Diego market. The home is not in a Mello-Roos tax district, where a detached single-family home, it would not require homeowner association fees like a condo, and it is not in a Mella-Roos tax district. Many single-family homes are in such districts, where a special tax is levied in addition to property tax to pay for infrastructure. Nor is it subject to any homeowner association fees.

New single-family homes are becoming more of a rarity in San Diego County, which has seen a shift to multifamily construction as developers choose to build higher density projects. The county had 3,389 building permits pulled for single-family homes in 2018, down 15 percent from the previous year, said the Construction Industry Research Board.

This 500-square-feet home on L Avenue in National City is listed for sale for $250,000. The inside of the home has been gutted down to the studs. (Nelvin C. Cepeda/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Photo: Nelvin C. Cepeda/TNS

Gary Kent, a La Jolla-based real estate agent, said a better value would be a resale condo that is around the same cost, in a different neighborhood, with less work needed.

“If you’re going to find (a single-family house) in the $250,000 range, that fits the bill,” he said of the National City home. “But it’s not a great area, it’s a small lot, small house, one bedroom, beat up.”

Financing for a buyer would be difficult because the home is gutted, likely requiring a cash sale.

Property records show the National City home, packaged with three other adjacent homes, together sold in late 2018 for $860,000 to a Los Angeles County-based corporation called David A Thompson MD Inc Profit Sharing. Kaemerle said the owner eventually plans to sell the remaining homes.

There are eight homes for sale in San Diego County that are 500 square feet and under, although most are in areas that are more than an hour commute from downtown San Diego. Several of the properties, which could be considered cabins, are in Palomar Mountain, Campo and Spring Valley.

The most expensive tiny home, at $1.3 million, has similar dimensions to the National City house — but with ocean views. The home, at 4541 Orchard Ave. in Point Loma, is 448 square feet but has a lot size of 8,115-square-feet.

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