El Camino Real

Overview

Overview: The Village of El Camino Real is located in the northern part of Irvine, California. It was created during the first phase of the master-planned development of The Irvine Ranch®, which was founded by James Irvine more than 150 years ago. The neighborhood covers an area of approximately 1.25 square miles.

Construction on El Camino Real Village started during the 1960s. It completed by the early 1970s. The community has a nice mixture of housing, apartment complexes, and shopping centers. There are schools, churches, parks, and recreational areas to enjoy with plenty of open space.

El Camino Real is right in the center of everything, yet it feels like living in a protected, high-quality suburb. There are plenty of sidewalks to take a dog for a walk. Parents like the close proximity of good schools for the kids. Most people say they feel completely safe walking in this neighborhood at night. This is a great place to raise a family.

Neighborhood Highlights

Convenient Location
Nice Parks
Sports Activities
Low Crime Rate
Golf Course
Nice Dining Options

Location: El Camino Real Village is situated in the northern part of Irvine. It is located just to the northwest of the Cypress Village neighborhood and to the northeast of Woodbridge. The boundaries are the I-5 freeway to the northeast, Culver Drive to the northwest, Irvine Center Drive to the southwest, and Jeffrey Road to the southeast.

This area is conveniently located. It is only five miles northwest of the gigantic Irvine Spectrum Shopping Center, which is a 15-minute drive down the I-5. It is about the same distance when driving west to downtown Irvine and to the popular commercial office space area of the Irvine Business Center.

Commutes: This neighborhood is easily accessible by major freeways and streets that crisscross Irvine. The main side streets, used to get across town, are Culver Drive, Yale Loop, Irvine Center Drive, Jeffrey Road, and Walnut Ave.

Many commuters use either the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) or the Santa Monica Freeway (I-405) to drive to work. The I-5 runs north/south along the eastern border of the El Camino Real Village parallel to Walnut Ave. The I-5 has on/off ramps at Jeffrey Road and Culver Drive. Going north, the I-5 freeway leads to downtown Los Angeles. Going south, it goes to San Diego. Taking the I-405 north leads to Santa Monica.

Culture: El Camino Real is one of the oldest, well-established neighborhoods in Irvine. This makes it a very desirable area to live in. 68% of the homes are owner-occupied. About 44% of the people who live here are families with children. The demographics of this area are 54% white, 33% Asian, 3% black, and 10% are a mixture of other races. The Asian part of the community is a mixture of Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese. Because of the diversity in this community, there are ethnic-focused grocery stores and plenty of small restaurants with international-style food dishes to enjoy.

Schools

Overview: El Camino Real Village is part of the Irvine Unified School District. There are only a few public schools in this neighborhood and only one private school. Parents who want to send their children to other private schools need to send them to schools in other parts of Irvine.

The public schools are reasonably safe for children. Average test scores, which are received by the students at these schools, on the standardized California state exams, are decent. Parents who reviewed the public schools in this neighborhood, generally make positive comments about the teachers and their children’s experiences at the schools.

The schools in this neighborhood, are the first ones established in Irvine. They opened in the 1970s. During that time, the schools rapidly filled to capacity due to the influx of home buyers for the new development. More schools opened since then, in nearby subdivisions, so now the teacher-student ratio of the schools in this neighborhood is around 30.7, which is considered good.

Schools

Elementary Schools

Greentree Elementary School

This public school has about 500 students enrolled and serves children from kindergarten to 6th grade. Parents give this school good recommendations. The students score better than the 50% median score on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) exams. The student scores are 67% for proficiency in English and 60% for mathematics.

Deerfield Elementary School

This public school serves 650 students from kindergarten to 6th grade. It is in the adjacent community of Deerfield, just a few blocks northwest of El Camino Real. The CAASPP scores are excellent with 78% in both English and math.

Venado Middle School

The Venado Middle School (7th and 8th grade) is in the northern area of El Camino Real within walking distance of many homes. It has about 650 students enrolled. The CAASPP scores are excellent with 72% in English and 69% in math.

High Schools

Irvine High School

The Irvine High School is located across from the Heritage Park. It has about 2,000 students who are enrolled. For advanced students, the school offers many advanced placement (AP) classes. The CAASPP scores are 66% in English and 60% in math.

Private Schools

Montadhar Peace School

The only private school in this neighborhood is the Montadhar Peace School (kindergarten to 7th grade) with a student enrollment of fewer than 20 students. Private schools do not have to participate in the standardized CAASPP exam program, so it is not possible to determine the performance of the school’s students for comparison with the public schools.

Housing

Overview: The housing in this neighborhood consists mostly of single-family homes and with a few low-rise apartment complexes. Most of the homes and apartments were constructed during the 1960s and 1970s. The housing development was part of the first phase of the master-planned development of the city of Irvine.

The housing is organized in groups of homes interspersed with small green area parks. The homes were built on streets that branch off from each other and frequently end in cul-de-sacs. This was done to reduce the through-traffic that would create noise as cars go by. It also means that kids can safely play in the streets in front of their homes.

Bike paths and walking trails connect the housing areas to the other parts of the community. Most of the single-family homes are stand-alone units, built on large lots of about one-half acre. Some of the luxury homes have huge one-acre lots with big backyards.

Housing options

Single Family Homes

Single-family homes are usually in great condition and are fairly large. Typically, they are 2,000 to 3,000 square feet with up to five bedrooms and four bathrooms. Many have three-car garages. Some have a swimming pool. A fixer-upper/foreclosure sells for around $300,000. Luxury homes sell for up to $1.25 million. Homes rent for $2,000 to $5,000 per month.

New Construction

This neighborhood is already fully developed. There is little to no vacant land available. Any new construction that happens, is a tear-down/rebuild type of project. Some luxury mansions have been created by taking down homes on more than one adjacent lot and combining the land to make a larger estate.

Apartments

Apartments rent for $1,000 to around $3,000. The average three bedroom apartment with two bathrooms that is located in a secured complex with a swimming pool rents for around $2,500. Many apartment complexes are pet-friendly. The apartment complexes in this neighborhood are the Deerfield Apartments, Deerfield Apartment Homes, and Heritage Point Apartments.

If you’re interested in buying a home in this area, check out currently available El Camino Real homes for sale. You can also browse through the entire database of all the available Irvine homes for sale.

Real Estate

Overview: After the housing bubble burst in 2006 to 2008, the real estate prices were depressed for about six years. Since 2014, the housing prices picked up again. By 2016, they surpassed the valuations that existed before the real estate market collapse. The annual price increase for this neighborhood has been around 8% for each of the past three years. This upward trend of increasing valuations seems to be continuing, with possibly a little pause before another upward move depending on the time of the year that a house is sold.

Median home prices rose from $620,000 in February 2016 to $857,000 in April 2018. At the end of 2018, the median price settled down a bit to $800,000. The price per square foot in this neighborhood is around $420. Real estate property taxes average a little over $4,000 per year. Typical homeowners association fees are around $200 per month.

Things to Do

Overview: This neighborhood has eight small parks, two large parks, an art center, a water polo club, three strip malls for shopping, and dining at nice restaurants. People who live in this area like to stay fit. There are fitness gyms, spas, dance studios, and martial arts schools to attend.

The eight green area parks found mixed in with the housing areas are Heritage Grove Park, Hoeptner Park, Doe Trail Park, Walnut Square Park, Ranch Park, Fawn Glen Park, Woodrush Park, and Timberline Park.

The 36-acre Heritage Community Park is popular for sports activities and to watch local teams play football, baseball, soccer, and track. The park has three swimming pools. There are playgrounds, picnic areas, walking trails, jogging paths, and a community center.

The 10-acre Deerfield Community Park has tennis, volleyball, and racquetball courts. There are a disc golf course and a bicycle trail. It has playgrounds, picnic areas, a library, and a community center.

Retail & Entertainment

North Irvine Water Polo Club

Water polo is a fast-paced sport that is fun to watch. Many youngsters enjoy the activities at this club. Competitive games and tournaments for boys and girls teams are sponsored by this club. The events are open to the public.

Irvine Fine Arts Center

This center offers art classes, events, and puts on many art exhibitions that change frequently. There is an open ceramic studio with classes for adults and children. Each year, the center holds two special events that showcase the work of local artists. The Studio Arts Festival is in June. The Holiday Faire is in November.

OC Dance Productions

This small dance studio for talented kids puts on performances at the studio and sometimes in the community parks. It is fun for parents to send their kids here and then get a chance to see them perform.

Heritage Plaza

This strip mall is located at the northeast corner of the El Camino Real neighborhood at the I-5 on/off ramp and Culver Drive. Mitsuwa (Japanese-style grocery store), Dasio Japanese Gifts, and Trader Joe’s are here. Restaurants are Buffalo Wild Wings, Caspian (Mediterranean), Assal Pastry, Chan Chan, EMC Seafood, Bruxie Original Fried Chicken, and The Habit Burger Grill.

Orange Tree Square Shopping Center

This strip mall is located at the southeast corner of the El Camino Real neighborhood at the intersection of Jeffrey Road and Irvine Center Drive. The 99 Ranch Market (Asian style) and the Irvine Tennis Shop are here. Tasty restaurants are Taiko Japanese, 7 Leaves Cafe, Shik Do Rak, China Garden, and Yu’s Garden.

Irvine Village Center

This strip mall is located at the southwest corner of the El Camino Real neighborhood at the intersection of Jeffrey Road and Walnut Ave. It has the Heaven Spa for a relaxing massage. Delicious restaurants include Thai Spice, Four Sea (Chinese), Long’s Kitchen, Dear Chengdu, Clay Oven Indian Cuisine, the refinery, Kingchops, and Miyabi Shabu (Japanese).

Irvine Spectrum Center

Get ready for the shopping experience of a lifetime. People come from all over to visit this center. Living in El Camino Real Village means being only a few minutes away. This massive complex has live events, movies, restaurants, and shopping galore. There are 130 stores and a Ferris wheel to ride for a spectacular view.

Oak Creek Golf Club

This beautiful golf club is open to the public. It has a nice practice area. It also has a driving range. The course was designed by Tom Fazio. Nice, wide fairways and well-manicured greens make playing a round of golf very enjoyable. There are happy-hour specials at the clubhouse, which are popular meetups for seniors.

Fashion Island

For fashion lover, this place is a shop-until-you-drop fashion extravaganza. All the top designers are presented in a contemporary setting that is wonderfully charming. This is Newport Beach at its best. It is about seven miles from El Camino Real. Stroll through this nicely-landscaped outdoor mall at any time of year in the perfect Southern California weather.

South Coast Plaza

This shopping mall has many types of shopping experiences with over 250 shops. There are high-end fashion designers and bargain stores too. Outlet shops are mixed with custom boutiques and food vendors. Be sure to allow plenty of time when visiting this plaza because it is possible to shop here for days and not see everything.