What to Know About Living in San Martin, CA

What to know about living in San Martin, CA

We want to quickly bring you up to speed on living in San Martin, CA. 

Even though San Martin might feel like a city, its not, but that doesn’t make it any less livable. San Martin is actually something called a census-designated place, which is a population that is labeled for statistical purposes. Anyway, let’s move on to more relevant information about this community. 

San Martin is lodged between Morgan Hill and Gilroy, south of the San Francisco Bay Area. If you drive from San Jose down the U.S. Route 101, it takes about 25 minutes to reach San Martin.

Plenty of farming still goes on in San Martin, but not as much as the past - photo via Canva

What is the area of San Martin known for? If you ask one of the 6,000+ locals, they’ll mention natural beauty within the first few sentences. It may be nearby Silicon Valley, but it feels far from that metallic, concrete landscape. The level of development in San Martin feels balanced and residential properties rub shoulders with agriculture, parks, and an ultra-exclusive golf course.

Where is San Martin, CA?

On a map, you’ll see San Martin about 29 miles southeast of San Francisco bay. It’s located to the south of Morgan Hill and north of Gilroy, the self-proclaimed garlic capital of the world. 

San Martin has spectacular surroundings. It sits in the shade of the Diablo Range and Santa Cruz Mountains. U.S. Route 101 runs through the center of the community, taking residents north or south up the coast. San Martin is just 16-or-so miles from the Pacific Ocean, which adds to the vacation spot choices for locals. 

The nearest international airport is about 24 miles away, which makes living in San Martin CA convenient for business or pleasure travels. Actually, the area has its own airport, but you probably won’t be able to land their after a trip to Mexico or Hawaii. The San Martin Airport has just one runway and is often used for refueling (and skydiving). 

How big is San Martin, CA? 

San Martin takes up a total of ~11.5 square miles. The area is ~5.8 miles across and ~4.6 miles from north to south. 

Is San Martin Growing? 

Back in 2010, San Martin recorded a census population of 7,027, but that figure shrunk according to recent estimates.

In 2020, San Martin’s population was 7,008

Non-US Census Bureau sources place the population much lower as of 2024. They show a decline, starting at a 2017 estimate of ~7.3k residents and reaching roughly 6.1k in 2024.

So, is San Martin growing? According to estimates, the community has lost around 14.8% of residents between 2020 and 2024. Keep in mind that the most recent figures aren’t confirmed by US Government sources, but we can use them as a rough estimate. 

What Should You Know About San Martin, CA?

Like most of the communities up and down the Bay Area coastline, San Martin has a lot of history. A traveller came from Iowa by wagon, traversed the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The man’s name was Martin Murphy and he bought 9,000 acres of land south of the Bay. 

This area is now known as San Martin. It recieved its official name after a chapel was built and named San Martin. Population boomed when gold miners who’d come up short or finished their search and took up farming. The fertile land eventually got the same name, which comes from Murphy’s patron Saint Martin.  

These days, San Martin is still known for orchards and wineries. The residential plots of land are usually spacious and never far from agriculture or farming. This gives San Martin the kind of personality that many of us seek; a little further from the concrete of a major city and more immersed in nature.

photo via Canva

What is the San Martin Cost of Living?

San Martin is on the pricey side in terms of cost of living. Many of the residents are fully aware of this, but select San Martin anyway because of the lifestyle it offers. 

Let’s go over some estimates on San Martin, CA cost of living:

  • Utilities appear to be ~9% higher than the U.S. average.
  • Groceries appear to be ~43% higher than the U.S. average.
  • Transportation costs appear to be ~24% higher than the U.S. average.

Of course, locals can find several ways to lower their cost of living in San Martin, CA. Cycling or using public transportation is an obvious first step, but not for long commutes. Anyone working in Central San Jose will contend with long drives or an hour-long bus ride. 

The real estate cost is where the real brunt of the living expenses are. 

Our San Martin CA properties had a median list price of $1,600,000 in April 2024. Renting in San Martin is also expensive, but most residents earn significantly more on average than those in neighboring cities. 

What's the San Martin Job Market Like?

While not in the center of Silicon Valley, being so close to such an economic powerhouse has perks. As we mentioned, agriculture also brings wealth to the area from a wide variety of crops. Still, it’s quite common for San Martin residents to commute outside of their community for work. At any given time, a job site like Indeed may have two-dozen postings for San Martin, but rarely for any senior positions. 

Because of the space that San Martin offers business owners, there are several industries in the area. This includes a the San Martin Milk Company, about a dozen wineries, and a very long list of construction companies. There are plenty of contractors and other professional property services.

The U.S. Census Bureau's 2016-2021 5-Year Estimates state that:

  • The employment rate in San Martin is 61.01%.
  • The unemployment rate is ~3.66%. Other data puts this number slightly higher or lower, but the U.S. Census estimate is reasonable.  
  • Approximately 35.33% are retirees, students, non-working parents, or aren’t employed by choice. This large percentage should give you an idea of the kind of residents living in San Martin.

The employment rate is much higher than the U.S. and California averages. The average of all San Martin zip codes is 3.66% unemployment, compared to a worrying 39.82% across the country. 

The most prominent occupations are Sales, Management, Office & Admin, and Healthcare. Because of San Martin’s small size, plenty of the workforce probably holds positions outside of the area.

What's the San Martin Real Estate Market Like?

Living in San Martin, CA, you can expect spacious homes on even larger plots of land. This area lends itself well to families who want to use their land for fruit and vegetables, or even livestock. While many of the more luxurious properties have manicured surroundings, most of them have at least a small vege patch tucked away somewhere.

Single family homes make up the vast majority of your housing options, sometimes with farming space or buildings. Due to its history and setting, many of the homes were farms at some point, or still are in one form or another.

San Martin homes are typically spacious inside and out - photo via Canva

But, high prices come with such spacious and peaceful plots of land.

Our median listing price in San Martin for April 2024 was $1.6 million. That’s almost half-a-million dollars above of Gilroy’s listing average, just nextdoor to San Martin.

  • The average rent in San Martin, CA is $1,935.
  • Around 40% of the renters pay less than $1,999 per month. 
  • ~26.3% pay between $2,000 and $2,500.

Most of the homes are owner-occupied and the U.S. Census Bureau's 2016-2021 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates put the number of units at just over 1,900.

What Are the Best Places to Live in San Martin?

In this section, we’d usually share a whole range of different neighborhoods within our focus city, but San Martin is a little different. Since it’s a CDP (census designated place) with a small population, the lines between neighborhoods aren’t as defined. Also, with such a small population, these neighborhoods would be quite small in size.

 If you’d like to ask a realtor directly about different spots in San Martin, we’re here to chat.

What is There to Do in San Martin? 

While San Martin isn’t a big city like San Jose or San Francisco, there’s plenty to do. You’ll notice themes among most of the activities and entertainment. 

Being such an agricultural area, there are lots of farms to visit in San Martin. At places like the Windsor Family Farm, San Martin Milk Company, LJB Farms, and Mabie’s Farm, you and the family can get a bit closer to nature (and even pet some animals). 

A photo of LJB Farms in San Martin - via Ted Drake - License - No Changes

If you feel like dropping from 10,000 feet in the air, head to the San Martin Airport. There, you can book a flight with Silicion Valley Skydiving, who say they offer the highest tandem dive in all of California.

Plenty of Bay Area cities and villages claim to lots of wineries, but San Martin really does. There are about a dozen different wine producers and tasting rooms around the city. Here are a few of the most enjoyed according to reviews:

Guests say that this winery is a fantastic wedding venue, with incredible views, a secret VIP hotel room, and a beautifully manicured property. The reds on offer appear to get a lot of praise too.

Guests love the views from the patio and super-hospital staff. Try the sangria or the flights of different local wines and enjoy some tasty nibbles. The lowest review that Miramar has ever received was 3-stars, more than six years ago.  

Slightly smaller, yet clearly going after the boutique winery niche (successfully, it seems). It’s a family-owned business that say their wines are “a modern expression with a nod to history”. The wine, dog-friendliness, and cozy setting get a lot of praise.

Reds come highly recommended in these wineries - photo via Canva

If you are still looking for things to do in San Martin, CA, here are other highlights:

  • Wings of History Air Museum: Full of vintage planes, replicas, engines, and plenty of airworthy memorabilia.
  • Hikes and walks galore: The mountains on either side of San Martin are great places to stretch your legs. The Martin Murphy trailhead is a beautiful one to start with and its named after the community’s founder.  On the opposite side of the valley is the Sprig Day Use Area is dog friendly and has a myriad of trails through the woods. Trails are kept quite shaded by the canopy, with is especially nice for joggers.
  • Golf: You can swing your drivers and irons at the CordeValle luxury resort or the Institute Golf Club, but don’t expect either of these spectacular courses to be affordable.

What is Near San Martin?

San Martin is close to many important cities, including San Jose and San Francisco to the north. 

Locals will find themselves using nearby communities for things like restaurants, specialized health services, and retail.

  • Morgan Hill, a larger city known for its downtown sector and recreation, is ~6 miles north of San Martin.
  • Gilroy, the self-proclaimed Garlic Capital of the World, has dining and outlet shopping, is ~10 miles south of San Martin.
  • San Jose, the heart of Silicon Valley and hotspot for employment, is ~30 miles north of San Martin.
  • The Santa Cruz Mountains, known for wineries, large redwood forests, and outdoor activities, makes up the western border of San Martin. 

photo via Canva

Living in San Martin, CA

If you’ve got your eye on San Martin, there’s a good chance that you appreciate rural beauty and want to get a slice of good ol’ peace and quiet. Also, you probably want to have real land, possibly acres, not just a small garden like you’d find closer to San Jose. 

And whether you’re employed outside of the area or don’t need to work a typical schedule, San Martin is a prime location

Living in San Martin offers a unique blend of rural charm and convenient access to the amenities and opportunities of Silicon Valley. While the cost of living is high, residents enjoy a tight-knit community, highly-regarded schools, and a variety of outdoor activities and attractions.

Speak with us about guaranteeing your satisfaction with any home you buy in San Martin. If you somehow fall out of love with your property, we’ll step in and sell it - or just buy it back from you. With that kind of assurance, you can remove the usual worries and feel confident in your home. 

Fill out the short contact form below to have a local realtor in San Martin get in touch with you.

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If you have more questions about what to expect from the markets around the Bay Area, don’t be afraid to reach out to us today. Our experts are experienced in all property types and the entire San Francisco Bay Area, and we can help you to find what you need to know today.

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