Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Why rent is on the rise in Tijuana

 September 21, 2023 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, September 21st.


Why the cost of rent in Tijuana is rising faster than in San Diego. More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….


The San Diego Unified Port District is backing local calls for the governor to issue a state of emergency over the South Bay sewage crisis.

The port penned a letter saying quote “this dire situation demands a coordinated state and federal emergency declaration.”

Imperial Beach mayor Paloma Aguirre says the state’s public position matters.

“The president will take it a lot more seriously if you have the governor of a state saying, This is a crisis. This is an emergency. My constituents are hurting.  You need to speed up this process and not wait five, seven years which is the approximate timeline we’re being given if everything goes according to plan and the funding is secured.  Which are big ifs.”

There is a federal plan to make improvements on both sides of the international border.

but the U-S government has only funded about a third of the 900-billion-dollar project cost.


Today is expected to be cool and cloudy, with chances of light rain this morning.

Temps are expected to be in the high 60s in the county’s inland areas, by the coast it will be in the mid 60s, in the deserts it’s expected to be in the mid 80s and in the mountains, it’ll be in the low 60s.


The average price of regular gas in the county is the highest it’s been since last October… almost six dollars a gallon.

Prices have been increasing for almost two months.

According to reporting by the San Diego Union-Tribune, experts say the increase is partly because of rising oil prices and maintenance issues at California refineries.

Compared to this time last year, gas prices are about 58 cents higher now.


Coming up… San Diego's high cost of living is pushing people to Tijuana.

“I look back at it now, I knew virtually no spanish.”

More on this story, just after the break.


Rents are rising in a lot of places, and in Tijuana they are rising twice as fast as in San Diego.

Border reporter Gustavo Solis looks into what is driving this trend.

“Let’s go ahead and see it. Let’s check it out.” If you’re looking for a place to rent in Tijuana, Gustavo Chacon is your guy. He’s a realtor with decades of experience. Most of his clients come from the U.S. All of them looking for cheap rent in Mexico. Here he is walking us through a brand new development in the Santa Fe neighborhood of Tijuana. Gustavo Chacon, Tijuana realtor “This is a completely gated community. This is a two-bedroom, dining room, one and a half baths and one parking area.” All for just $850 a month. This place is 45 minutes from the border. But don’t forget the amenities. “They have the two stores, they have small plazas, they have parks, basketball, soccer, they also have a community center.” Median rent in San Diego is $3,300 a month right now, according to Zillow. That’s pushing some people to migrate south to Tijuana. Atenea de la Cruz Brito is a researcher who studies why. Atenea de la Cruz Brito, Autonomous University of Baja California “Son commuters. Son personas que se mueven continuamente a su área de trabajo. No trabajan en ni en Rosarito o en Tijuana sino en Estado Unidos.” She says most of the people moving to Tijuana are commuters who still work in San Diego. And the influx of cross-border commuters is pushing Tijuana rents higher and higher. “Tijuana tiene ahora la cabeza de los aumentos con un casi 70 por ciento de aumento en las rentas declaradas.” De la Cruz Brito says rents in Tijuana increased 63% between 2016 and 2022. Compared to just 30% in San Diego during the same time period. The realtor, Chacon, gets calls from San Diegans thinking of moving to Tijuana almost every day. Most of them are looking to pay $500 or $600 a month for a house that is close to the border. “To be truthful, there’s not a lot of options.” At least not for that price and near the border. “If you’re trying to get something closer to downtown, something closer to the Rio area, something closer to the border – they are going to go for $800 and up.” Michael Hodge, Tijuana resident “I look back at it now, I knew virtually no Spanish … Michael Hodge moved to Tijuana from San Diego three years ago. Growing up in the Midwest, he never expected to live in Mexico. I had been to Tijuana maybe twice ever.” Now people ask him for advice. Especially about safety issues. “The common question I get is do you feel safe there, is it ok, is it alright. I just tell them, it’s just like any other city. If you act like a fool and make a spectacle of yourself and be disrespectful, it’s not that hard to find trouble.” Before moving to Tijuana, Hodge lived in a 2-bedroom in Normal Heights. He split the $2,500 rent with a roommate. When he moved to Tijuana with some coworkers, his share of the rent was only $300. Yes, there are obvious savings. But also significant drawbacks. The main problem is … Robert Martinez, Tijuana resident “Traffic. It’s ridiculous. Excuse me but it’s ridiculous.” Robert Martinez is a school bus driver in San Diego. His days start way before dawn. “Usually, I wake up between 3 and 3:30 in order to get ready and get my things ready. By 4 o clock I am out of my house.” Martinez says traffic in Tijuana gets worse every year. And experts like de la Cruz Brito agree. She says new construction and lack of investment in public infrastructure is causing more traffic. “Compraros porque creian Vivian a 15 minutos de la linea, 20 minutos de la linea se combertira en horas mas las horas propias de la fila.” For Martinez, Tijuana’s horrible commutes are the real price of affordable housing. Still, he has no plans of moving back to San Diego. “I don’t regret it at all. Not at all. What I’ve saved, I use for my vacation twice a year.” Martinez and Hodge both have a special pass that grants them access to a fast vehicle border lane. Without it, both said living in Tijuana would be impossible. Gustavo Solis, KPBS News.


You may have heard, an updated COVID-19 vaccine is now available.

Reporter Melissa Mae tells us where and when you can get it in the county.

MM: The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against the virus. MM: CVS Pharmacist Saif Namiq says their locations are well staffed with people who can administer the vaccine. SN “We actually started getting the vaccine last week so the majority of our stores in San Diego do carry the vaccine, and we're offering it to our patients.” MM: Namiq says you can book an appointment on their website, CVS dot com or through their app. MM: San Diegans can also expect the updated vaccine to be available at Rite Aid by this weekend.  MM: The vaccine is free for most adults living in the U.S through their private health insurance plans and those without insurance can get the updated   vaccine through the CDC’s Bridge Access Program. Melissa Mae KPBS News.


In other health-related news… Being a parent isn’t easy, and add on premature births or pregnancy complications and it can be even harder.

This month, Rady Children's Hospital is honoring neonatal-intensive care unit or NICU families and the staff who support them.

Health reporter Matt Hoffman spoke to new parents whose pregnancy didn’t go as planned.

Got your primi language going got your primi language going Oceanside residents Clinique and Brager Jingles are spending time in the hospital with their daughter Sienna, who was born early, at 24 weeks.. The couple says the last few months have been a rollercoaster. Sienna was delivered at 1 pound 9 ounces.. It’s has been fear, love, apprehension, excitement The Jingles had no idea what to expect.. Including the bills.. They estimate the cost of Sienna’s care to be near 1 million dollars, but thanks to insurance they’re only paying a fraction of that. It’s the ups and downs the couple says are the hardest for NICU parents, especially when there are complications. Because she wasn’t doing well, I wasn’t doing well. I was emotional, I was sad. I could see her struggling to breathe and she was fighting and fighting and there was nothing I could do about it but watch her fight Sienna has been ahead of schedule and gaining weight quicker than expected. From parent to parent I would tell someone: hang in there. It may take longer than you expect, but every day is important After taping this story Sienna was released from the intensive care unit and is at home with her family. MH KPBS News.


Coming up.... What students at the La Jolla Country Day School are doing as a special remembrance of the Holocaust. We’ll have that story and more, just after the break.


Students at the La Jolla Country Day School paused their regular classwork yesterday, for a special remembrance of the 1-point-5 million children killed in the Holocaust.

Education reporter M.G. Perez tells us what they did instead.

In the midst of the Jewish High Holidays, this week…all 11-hundred-80 students of the La Jolla Country Day School…took time to remember the youngest Jews killed in the Holocaust. The students from pre-K to 12th grade collaborated in painting ceramic butterflies that represent peace…and often loved ones who have passed away. Their art work is part of theButterfly Project …which teaches social justice through lessons about the Holocaust. 8-year old EE-va Liuget is in third grade and was intentional about her color scheme.. “red means Love…and I love the color red…and blue means if somebody’s sad…you can lift them up and make them happy.” All the ceramic butterflies will be glazed and put in a kiln…for permanent display across the La Jolla Country Day campus. MGP KPBS News.


We are continuing our coverage of Hispanic Heritage Month by highlighting Latino creators who’ve made an impact on the San Diego arts and culture scene.

Ethan Van Thillo is the executive director and founder of the Media Arts Center San Diego… he also founded the San Diego Latino Film Festival, which celebrated 30 years last March.

Van Thillo, spoke with my colleague Jade Hindmon about his work and impact on our local arts scene.

Here’s part of their conversation.

I want to start with your background in movies… Where did your love for film and media arts first come from? 

For those who might not be familiar, what is unique about “Latino” or “Chicano” cinema? 

You founded the Media Arts Center in 1999, four years after the film festival opened… Can you talk more about the work you do there?

We’re deep in the age of streaming. You touched on this a bit on it, but what makes film festivals so special as an in-person experience?

TAG: That was Ethan Van Thillo, the executive director and founder of the Media Arts Center San Diego, speaking with KPBS Midday Edition host, Jade Hindmon.


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join us again tomorrow for the day’s top stories, plus, we hear about an art exhibit from the Great Depression times at the Oceanside Museum. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Thursday.

Rents are rising in a lot of places, and in Tijuana they are rising twice as fast as San Diego. We look into what is driving this trend. In other news, an updated COVID-19 vaccine is now available and we have details on where and when you can get it in San Diego County. Plus, what students at the La Jolla Country Day School are doing as a special remembrance of the Holocaust.