Housing History

The San Mateo County Coastside is one of the last areas of San Mateo County to develop. While its history dates from the 1800s, its development is recent. Physical inaccessibility played the largest part in discouraging people from settling here. Surrounding the Coastside...

  • To the west are treacherous and rocky ocean cliffs where many a ship was lost, and
  • To the east is the rugged skyline ridge crossed only by steep and winding roads (often impassable)
  • To the north is Devil's Slide, so named because that stretch of mountainside cliff periodically slides into the ocean, preventing access to or from the area.

Still remaining one of the few places where it is often less expensive to live at the ocean than in the inland communities, two factors contributed to the development of homes in this long-overlooked area.

First, in the 1940s the U.S. military brought in utility infrastructure to the northern communities to support the military housing for the enlisted men and women stationed here. By the 1970s, the commute on the San Francisco Peninsula and in the East Bay communities had grown longer and longer, often exceeding an hour over backed-up bridges.

At the same time, accessibility to the San Mateo County Coastside had greatly improved with the advent of better roads and more reliable vehicles, which reduced commute times to 20 to 45 minutes into San Francisco and other urban areas with strong job markets and major universities. All of the sudden, access to comparably priced homes and a shorter commute made the drive to the coastside well worthwhile!