Even if you aren't familiar with San Diego, you should recognise it. It's here that Marilyn Monroe was romanced by Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot and Tom Cruise became a Top Gun admired by a smitten Kelly McGillis.
And, even though the public relations folk would rather it wasn’t mentioned, scenes for the gritty film Traffic, starring Michael Douglas, Benicio del Toro and Catherine Zeta-Jones, were filmed here too.
British Airways now runs non-stop daily flights between San Diego and London Heathrow and therefore the city is becoming more popular with British buyers keen to own a Pacific-side home.
Less expensive and boisterous than its northern neighbour Los Angeles, Hollywood executives and Californian business gurus are emigrating down here to live a quieter life.
Brian Arrington from Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty believes the new flights will make a big difference to the local property market.
“It takes two-and-a-half hours to drive to Los Angeles and another two hours to park and check in. So, cutting this time off the journey will encourage Europeans to spend more time in America’s Sun Belt,” he says.
You won’t get the same bargain basement deals as in Florida, but you can pick up a small house in North Park or University Heights, not far from San Diego’s revamped downtown Gas Lamp Quarter, for about £250,000.
There’s a lot of choice in San Diego, with a number of communities offering different styles of housing, explains Rick Hagen from Sotheby’s.
“Mission Hills has some of the oldest homes dating back to the early 1900s. La Jolla can be even more expensive than Beverley Hills, with prices from £600,000 to £20 million. And, Pacific Beach (PB, as it’s known), is where the kids like to hang out,” Hagen adds.
One of the hardest hit counties during the credit crunch was Spring Valley, where Hagen saw the price of one home plummet by 70%. The beach communities also went a bit flat, but have bounced back.
One of the holiday home gems is Cape Cod-style Coronado, on San Diego Bay. Sotheby’s Scott Aurich argues that “although you might get less in money terms for a house here, you get more when it comes to lifestyle”.
For instance, there are some incredible ‘man caves’ (a very male space for poker, billiards, cigar puffing and wine quaffing) in the homes Aurich sells. They range from £1-£10 million plus, depending on how far you are from the beach and the famed Hotel del Coronado (the Hotel Del), where Edward VIII met Wallis Simpson and Marilyn Monroe strutted her stuff.
Investors might want to check out Coronado Cays, popular with snowbirds flocking to the sun from wintry Canada and parched Arizonians who want to cool down during a desert summer. A waterside home with a place right outside your front door to park your boat starts at £75,000 and goes up to a star-studded £5 million.