san mateo

Pro's & Con's of Living in San Mateo

Thinking of relocating to San Mateo? Like any city, San Mateo has its positive and negative qualities, but it’s your job to determine if the pros outweigh the cons for you and your lifestyle. Let’s dive into the top pros and cons of the city and see if it could be the right place for you!

Let's start with the Pros:

  • Pro #1: The Mediterranean Climate. San Mateo has very mild weather and rarely gets windy compared to the Northern Peninsula cities. With milder weather comes milder temperatures. Throughout the year, temperatures rarely reach above the high 80s or drop below the mid-high 40s.
  • Pro #2: Outdoor Access. There are over 20+ parks in the city of San Mateo giving you plenty of access to green space, hiking trails, and many other outdoor activities. Combined with the mild weather, San Mateo is the perfect intersection between city life and the great outdoors. Some of our favorites are: Sawyer Camp Trail near Crystal Springs, Central Park, and Seal Point.
  • Pro #3: Proximity. You have very quick commutes north to San Francisco or south to Santa Clara. Being in the center of the peninsula, you have great access to the East Bay as well, with just a short drive on highway 92.
  • Pro #4: The Best Downtown in the County. Known for a bustling downtown with a wide range of cuisines and other retail spots, San Mateo is a place where you can find a way to satisfy any craving. Some of our favorite restaurants are: Sushi Mariyama, Backhaus Bakery, Zen Noodle Bar, and just about any of the multiple ramen parlors in the area!
  • Pro #5: Hillsdale Shopping Center. Being the largest shopping mall for miles north and south, Hillsdale Shopping Center includes major name brands like Apple and Nordstroms. But that’s not all, with the newly extended wing, Hillsdale Shopping Center now includes a Cinepolis, West Elm, Pinstripes, Palette Tea House, and a Shake Shack giving you plenty of options to checkout on your next shopping trip!
  • Pro #6: The Schools. San Mateo schools are known to be some of the best in the county. With 3 different high schools - Hillsdale, San Mateo, and Aragon High, you’ll want to check which school your kids may end up at when shopping for your new home and deciding on where you’ll reside in the city.

And now the Cons:

  • Con #1: Flood Zone. Part of the city is in a FEMA Special flood zone, meaning that if you own your home you may need to pay additional insurance on your property depending on where you live. If you are looking to relocate, this is something that can be discussed with your agent before purchasing and can narrow down your location options within the city if you are worried about paying additional amounts in insurance or the potential flood risks.
  • Con #2: Density. While San Mateo is considered a suburb of San Francisco, it is still one of the larger peninsula cities with many urban spaces. If you are looking to live in an area with a lower population density, San Mateo may not be the best option for you.
  • Con #3: Affordability is Relative. Even though San Mateo has a higher affordability score than some of the other Bay Area cities, it is still one of the more expensive cities in California to live in. As of the end of 2021, the median home price was $1.1 million, with the average rent in the area being $3,147 per month.
  • Con #4: Progressive on Development. When living in a city that is constantly making improvements, you are dealing with constant changes which can create vertigo for existing residents who have grown accustomed to how the city once used to be.

While San Mateo may not be perfect, if you’re looking for a metropolitan area that is constantly growing & improving and you can afford the higher costs that come with the area, the city may be perfect for you. If you're looking for a deeper dive into San Mateo, click here to check out our neighborhood guide series on Youtube!

If you’re looking to purchase a home in San Mateo, reach out to us! We have a great team of seasoned real estate professionals who would be happy to help you find the perfect home for you. Connect with us on social media here, fill out the contact form on our website, or give us a call at (650) 852-1400 and we’ll get your process started!


We help our clients make the best decisions by focusing on their long-term goals. Our mission is to help our clients build wealth through real estate. Contact us today and we are happy to serve you.