Village News - Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

By Kim Murphy
Murphy and Murphy Southern California Realty 

Real Estate Round-Up: State of property affects real estate values


Last updated 9/1/2018 at 2:44pm

Litter on downtown streets takes away from Fallbrook's charm.

We moved to Bonsall in 1992. We had been living in Long Beach, four blocks from the beach. We decided that we wanted to get away from the fast pace of the city and moved to the country for our boys. We wanted them to grow up in the country where they could run and play without concern or fear for their safety.

We moved to Bonsall because, at the time, we could not afford Fallbrook. Our 1952 country farm house was on 1.5 acres and had a tack room, barn and arena. It was the perfect place to raise a family.

Moving from a congested beach city, with its challenges, to a slower-paced agricultural community was the best decision we made for ourselves and our sons.

In 1992, Bonsall and Fallbrook looked like a storybook community. Most homes were charming bungalows or ranches, with pristine fenced pastures, acres of avocado and citrus groves.

We quickly settled into the rural lifestyle and added two horses, two pigmy goats and lots of chickens, to our three dogs and three cats. We could ride our horses off our property to the nearby trails. We planted a garden and enjoyed the harvest. We ate fresh eggs from our hens.

In 2001, we moved to Fallbrook. Real estate values were leveling off between the two communities. We jumped at the chance to get closer to the small, quaint town of Fallbrook. The new home looked out over vast views of the Santa Margarita valley, over hills of avocado groves.

Everything was green and lush. Downtown Fallbrook was alive with cute stores and restaurants. The drive in and out of Fallbrook, via East Mission Road or South Mission Road was well-kept and picturesque, right out of a movie scene.

Fast forward to today. What has happened to Fallbrook? The drive in or out of town is no longer picturesque. It is cluttered and unmanicured. Where has the community pride of ownership gone?

Look at the downtown area. Most of the landlords of the buildings either don't live here or don't care. It's up to the tenants to keep things clean because we don't have basic county support to provide regular street sweepers or personnel to clean things up. Awnings are torn and tattered; debris is littered everywhere.

Drive across town, and nearly every road is a patch of dry, dead untrimmed brush. In neighborhoods that have homeowners associations, a pride of ownership exists, but once outside of those communities, one well-maintained home sits next to a home that hasn't had paint or pruning shears for years.

My husband drove out to the De Luz area this week and was shocked at how many groves have been left to die, dry, untrimmed and ready to become kindling for an unexpected spark. It is alarming.

The physical decline is affecting real estate values. Most San Diego County cities and towns have regained the value and exceeded the value they lost in the 2008 recession. Unfortunately, Fallbrook has still not completely come back.

I don't mean to write a doom and gloom article, however, because I believe in the people of Fallbrook. We have the most incredible volunteers. There are volunteers that water the trees on Main Avenue, clean up graffiti when it is reported and clean up trash in Live Oak Park, the dog park, the Santa Margarita river trails and the Los Jilgueros Preserve.

Many downtown merchant tenants sweep the sidewalk, trim the plants, add flowers and clean up surrounding trash. Many homeowners do take pride in their home and their yards still. But what about those that don't? How can we help?

I was prompted to write this article, when a military buyer moving here from Montana told us that the Marines they spoke to told them that Fallbrook is the ghetto. Wow. That statement broke my heart.

I am blinded by my love for this town, my devotion to it and my dedication to do my part to keep it lovely for those who live here and those who come to visit.

Is it possible that if each of us tried to take care of our own property and reached out to encourage our neighbors to do the same that we could reclaim the Fallbrook? We need to, and I believe we can.

Kim Murphy can be reached at or (760) 415-9292 or at 130 N. Main Ave. in Fallbrook. Her broker license is #01229921, and she is on the board of directors for the California Association of Realtors.


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