Climberus, I lived in Ladera Ranch and recently moved to Talega. I made my decision for two reasons.
One, they're both great communities with similar demographics but my wife and I decided we really like being closer to the beach, found Talega feels less crowded with more open space, and really enjoy the San Clemente Beach and town. Two, I feel Talega and SC are the best values in Coastal OC and do feel we'll experience a greater appreciation in Talega than we would in Ladera. Right now, for the first time in this decade, the prices in Talega are actually equal to or less than Ladera and I've always felt they deserved the premium they were getting over Ladera. I really study the markets and this is my opinion but I do suggest you get multiple opinions. If you're in the market I'd love to help you find a home or if you just want more details let me know.