In 1837, San Juan Capistrano mission lands were granted to Don Jose Sepulveda, later becoming Rancho San Joaquin. Rancho Lomas de Santiago was granted to Teodosio Yorba in 1846. In that year, the Mexican army was defeated in the final battle of the Mexican-American War. The Treaty of Guadalupe was signed and California was annexed to the United States.

Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana fell prey to tangled titles. In 1868, outside investor Abel Stearns was successful in his suit to dissolve the rancho and divide the property among the claimants, four of whom were prosperous sheep ranchers: Benjamin and Thomas Flint, Llewellyn Bixby and James Irvine.

Meanwhile, Jose Sepulveda, owner of Rancho San Joaquin, was heavily in debt. In 1864, the year of the Great Drought, Sepulveda sold his 50,000 acres to Irvine, Flint and Bixby for $18,000. In 1866, Irvine, Flint and Bixby acquired the 47,000-acre Rancho Lomas de Santiago for $7,000. Much of the rancho was not suitable for cultivation, but did border the Santa Ana River on the north, thereby securing valuable water rights.

The Irvine, Flint and Bixby ranches were devoted to sheep grazing, although in the 1870's tenant farming was permitted. In 1878, James Irvine acquired his partners' interests for $150,000. His 110,000 acres stretched 23 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Santa Ana River.

During World War I, agriculture had intensified, and by 1918, some 60,000 acres of lima beans were grown on the Irvine Ranch. During World War II, two Marine Corps air facilities were built on land sold to the government by The Irvine Company.

In 1959, the University of California asked The Irvine Company for 1,000 acres for a new campus. The Irvine Company agreed, and the State accepted the land and purchased an additional 500 acres. The University's consulting architect, William Pereira, and Irvine Company planners drew up master plans for a city of 50,000 people surrounding the university. The area would include industrial zones, residential and recreational areas, commercial centers and greenbelts. The Irvine Industrial Complex West (now known as The Irvine Business Complex) opened and the villages of Turtle Rock, University Park, Culverdale, the Ranch and Walnut were completed by 1970. Irvine was incorporated on December 28, 1971.

Thirty years ago, the City of Irvine was still in its infancy. Today, Irvine has grown into what many describe as a "total destination," a community boasting state-of-the-art transportation programs and systems, an enterprising business environment, stellar educational institutions and a team-like lifestyle.

City of Irvine First Time Homebuyer programs:

Down Payment Assistance: The City of Irvine's Down Payment Assistance Program consists of low interest loans to qualifying first time low and very low income homebuyers.  

Applications for this program are not being accepted at this time and there is no expected timetable for reopening the application process. 

Affordable Homeownership Opportunities: Currently, there are no affordable homeownership units available through the City; however there are some available through the Irvine Community Land Trust (ICLT).  For more information about available units and to place your name on an interest list, click here.

The Affordable Housing Clearinghouse is a network of lenders, community groups, and public agencies dedicated to the creation of quality affordable housing. The Clearinghouse provides homebuyer assistance to low- and moderate-income families. Additionally, to assist families in preparing to purchase a home, the Clearinghouse provides homebuyer education and credit counseling.

The WISH program is available in the City of Irvine.  For Additional information and find out how to qualify, please contact Andres Morales at (949)306-9260. You may also email directly at

Based on information from California Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. as of Sep 29, 2023 7:44:am. This information is for your personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties you may be interested in purchasing. Display of MLS data is usually deemed reliable but is NOT guaranteed accurate by the MLS. Buyers are responsible for verifying the accuracy of all information and should investigate the data themselves or retain appropriate professionals. Information from sources other than the Listing Agent may have been included in the MLS data. Unless otherwise specified in writing, Broker/Agent has not and will not verify any information obtained from other sources. The Broker/Agent providing the information contained herein may or may not have been the Listing and/or Selling Agent.