Rancho Santa Margarita Homes for Sale & Real Estate 949-830-5100
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Rancho Santa Margarita, CA Homes for Sale

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Rancho Santa Margarita is one of Orange County’s youngest cities. The area boasts award-winning schools, attractive neighborhoods, new fine dining and entertainment experiences. The city offers panoramic views of the Saddleback Mountains and the beach is just minutes away.

This South Orange County community incorporated as a city January 1, 2000 and is a master-planned community developed to contain a balance between residential neighborhoods (single family houses and condos), parks, business space and schools. The area enjoys abundant parks and open space. Youth sports programs add to the attraction of this vibrant community.

Historically, the city’s roots go back to the 18th century. On July 23, 1769 a Spanish expedition under Captain Gaspar de Portola camped near the site of Tijeras Creek Golf Course in Rancho Santa Margarita. On July 24, the expedition headed inland to avoid the many streams and swamps in the area. They found a large plateau area and camped for the night on its western edge by a canyon, which the Franciscans named San Francisco Solano. This was on the eastern side of Trabuco Creek about three miles downstream from the present site of Trabuco Oaks.
While camped here on July 24–25, one of the soldiers is said to have lost his ‘trabuco’, or musket, a most valuable possession to any soldier. To mark this loss, the stream was named Trabuco. The name has been associated with the mesa, the canyon, and the entire area ever since.

The Spaniards founded Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1776, and governed the region until 1821, when California became part of Mexico. Mexican governors carved the area around the mission into three large ranchos: Rancho Trabuco, Rancho Mission Viejo, and Rancho Santa Margarita. James L. Flood and his partner Jerome O’Neill purchased the combined ranchos in 1882. The huge estate was run as a working ranch into the 1920s. In 1940, the ranch was divided, with the Flood family taking the lower portion (in today’s San Diego County) while the upper portion was retained by the O’Neill family. In 1942, the US Navy annexed the Flood family’s portion of the ranch for use as Camp Pendleton. In 1948, the O’Neill family donated 278 acres of canyon bottom land to the County of Orange for parks. The O’Neill family donated an additional 120 acres of parkland in 1963, the same year they founded the Mission Viejo Company and drew up plans for a master-planned community by the same name.

By the 1960s, a rural cluster of homes had been present in Trabuco Canyon for decades. The area’s first tract homes didn’t arrive until late in the decade in the area that would become Coto de Caza. The area remained fairly remote until 1986, when the first homes in the new master planned community of Rancho Santa Margarita were sold. The economic boom of the 1980s also fueled home construction in nearby Dove Canyon, Robinson Ranch, Wagon Wheel and a handful of smaller developments. The area became better linked to the rest of the county in 1992, when extensions of Oso, Antonio and Alicia Parkways were completed.

In November 1999, area voters opted to incorporate the Rancho Santa Margarita Planned Community and the neighboring Robinson Ranch, Dove Canyon, Rancho Cielo, Trabuco Highlands and Walden Communities. Weeks later, the newly formed City of Rancho Santa Margarita became the 33rd city in the County of Orange.

Today the city has a population of over 47,000.

Rancho Santa Margarita falls within ZIP Codes 92688 and 92679.

A bit of trivia: Rancho Santa Margarita has the longest name of any California city, unseating La Cañada Flintridge when RSM incorporated in 2000.

Another bit or trivia: Though the Bravo reality TV show The Real Housewives of Orange County is set in Coto de Caza, much of it is filmed in neighboring RSM, since RSM has more shops and businesses.

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