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“Wind carries the salt. So if you don’t clean your windows every week, they get caked with it. There are only certain plants that’ll grow in that salt air — ice plants, geraniums, bougainvillea, and some succulents. The guy who lived across the street could have a rose garden because it was sheltered. Otherwise it wouldn’t have grown. And sand’s a problem. It gets into the carpeting and stuck in the vacuum.

“I think it wasn’t until I moved away from there that I realized how horrible the traffic was — with the tourists and the old ladies driving. [Because of the crowds], practically nobody in La Jolla goes to lie on the beach anymore. They go to La Jolla Shores, maybe, to run on that beach. North of there is Black’s Beach, and that’s where I used to surf and raft as a kid. Now it’s a nude beach.”

For Sale: Beachside Shack W/Vu. $2 Million

Coldwell Banker’s Kate Adams is waxing eloquent about the staggering view of San Diego Bay’s sailboats that can be seen from a $2.95 million Point Loma home that’s also got an old Spanish-style dock for your boat. She describes in vivid detail the small-lotted but valuable properties along Del Mar’s oceanfront that you can snap up for between $2.2 and $5.4 million. Want something with more bang? How about the six-bedroom home on Camino del Mar that’s available for a mere $10.8 million? Great ocean view.

She spends her days, evenings, and weekends selling San Diego oceanfront property. She knows La Jolla’s shoreline homes best. Ocean living doesn’t come cheap there, she says. The lowest-priced property recently available on Camino de la Costa just sold for $2 million, she notes. A “cute-as-a-button” house at Cove Beach — with no yard, mind you — is up for $4.9 million. And a 13-bedroom — yeah, you read that right — on La Jolla Farms Road was bought in March “by a guy from L.A.” for $15.9 million. A summer home, maybe?

Could Father Junípero Serra ever have imagined that his peregrinations would come to this? We think not.

Kate Adams took me for a spin in her Infiniti Q45 to view houses for sale along La Jolla’s coastline:

“Yes, people will pay a lot of money for oceanfront property. Last year, two lots, each about 35 feet wide in the Del Mar Colony, sold for $10 million total. They had about 100 linear feet of beachfront. That’s $100,000 a linear foot. And I don’t think those lots were on the market for even a month.

“Right now, there’s not that much beachside for sale. The inventory’s very low. If you want a lot of land, and you want an oceanfront property, you’re gonna run into problems. Two million dollars in Rancho Santa Fe will get you four acres and a nice house. But here, you don’t get the land. You’ll also be frustrated in La Jolla if you have a boat, because there are no harbors near here. The water’s too rough. So you either go to the Coronado Cays or Point Loma if you want to keep a boat.

“What holds value are three things: oceanfront; a view — usually of the ocean; and land, lots of land. But finding that combination here is impossible. You have to justify the value over and over to people who come from other parts of the country. They get California sticker shock when they hear the prices for these oceanfront homes. But if someone wants waterfront, there’s only so much of it. Because inventory’s limited, prices are high. In La Jolla, beachfront makes up a very small percentage of homes, but those tend to be the most expensive.

“In La Jolla, which I know best, there are two types of waterfront neighborhoods: permanent and beach neighborhoods. People live all year round in the permanent beachfront neighborhoods, while people just stay in the beach neighborhoods for the summer. But there’s a trend right now — the beach houses in the beach neighborhoods are being torn down and being replaced by bigger, permanent houses — that is, unless the historical society grabs you. So some neighborhoods are in transition.

“This all is La Jolla Farms. It was originally university-owned and has a history of slides. The whole area from Del Mar south has had that problem.” She points to a series of large, low-slung estates overlooking the ocean. “Tony Robbins lives here… That house belongs to a TV guy from L.A.… And that one over there belongs to a physician from Colorado. I don’t know what his specialty is.

“People are building Fairbanks Ranch stuff here in La Jolla Farms. In other parts of La Jolla, there aren’t estates like this [she points to a house that looks like a Best Western International hotel]. But in La Jolla Farms, you’ll see quite a few of them.

“That’s La Jolla Shores. Those little condos over there with their old sinks and bathrooms go for in the 7s and 8s [$700,000 to $800,000].

“Now we’re passing Windansea, with all the surfers in your face. You can see all the multiple-unit dwellings. They’re really narrow, about one room wide, and they’re long like shoe boxes. They go for about $1.7 million — $3000 a square foot.”

She guides the Infiniti toward a huge stucco mansion. “Okay, this is Camino de la Costa, also called the Gold Coast. Except for La Jolla Farms, this is the highest-priced oceanfront property in La Jolla. Here you get lots of privacy. Take a look at that piece of dirt [a vacant lot] — it just went for under $4 million. There was one house here recently on the market for over $5 [million] that was a dump. But here’s a great mansion for $9 [million]. And that one over there is $12.5 [million].

“This last place we’re visiting is Bird Rock. It’s a beachy neighborhood. Very mixed. See that house over there? The guy just broke variance by building it too high. I think he’s going to have to take some of the top off.”

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