CALIFORNIA REAL ESTATE PRIMER – The City of Aliso Viejo, California

Brief History

The first known inhabitants of the rolling hills and seasonal creeks that is present day Aliso Viejo were the Juaneno and Acjemem indian tribes.

In 1769, the first Spaniards arrived in the for of an expedition under the command of Captain Gaspar de Portola.. Seven years later, these new settlers established Mission San Juan Capistrano and in 1782 California became a Mexican territory controlled by a few large sheep ranches or ranchos. In 1842, the area changed hands again when the Mexican government granted the land to Juan Avila. Six years later the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed and California became a territory of the United States.

The view down into Wood Canyon from the canyon rim near Soka University

About 10 years before the turn of the century the Moulton family acquired about 22,000 acres of land in the area and named it Moulton Ranch. Later, pieces of Moulton Ranch were sold off to become Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, and Leisure World (now part of Laguna Woods).

In 1976, the last 6,600 acres of the Moulton Ranch were sold to the Mission Viejo Company. This acreage was located adjacent to Laguna Beach, and was slated to become a master-planned community named Aliso Viejo. The first Aliso Viejo homes were sold in 1982.

Although the Aliso Viejo Community Association (AVCA) was formed to assist with development of the area, the residents had little or no control over the county municipal services. As a result, in July of 2001, Aliso Viejo became the 34th city in Orange County.

Some Interesting Demographics

 49% of the residents of Aliso Viejo who are 25 years or older have a bachelor’s or more advanced college degree. At the time of the 2000 census, the per capita income in Aliso Viejo was $35,244, compared with $21,587 nationally. The median income is $74,688 compared with $41,994 nationally. The population stands at about 40,166 persons, in 16,608 housing units covering approximately 10.23 square miles. That works out to about 3,927.7 people per square mile and 1,624 housing units per square mile.

Despite what might at first blush might seem to be a densely populated city, Aliso Viejo, has a some 23 parks and dedicated recreational areas not to mention the Aliso Viejo Regional Park with its 20 plus miles of bike trails in Aliso Creek/Wood Canyon. Aliso Creek itself is only a few miles from the Pacific and the destination resort cities of Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente.

Virtually all of Aliso Viejo is close to the 73 freeway which connects to both the 405 and 5 freeways making the large employment centers of Irvine, Anaheim, and Santa Ana etc. reasonably close. The 2000 census indicates an average drive to work of about 28 minutes. This would include cities as far away as Seal Beach, California.

Soka University

The Capistrano Unified School District

 Aliso Viejo’s elementary, middle and high schools all enjoy high parent ratings , reasonably small class sizes, and respectable Academic Performance Index (API ) ratings. Soka University located off Wood Canyon is an internationally known private 4 year university open to top students of all nationalities and beliefs.


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