There are several locations that your budget will fit. My local area is University City. This is a growing community with HUGE rental potential. UTC is the next largest business area to downtown, with multiple industries located around there, plus the highly renowned top University UCSD, where there are plenty of opportunities for renters. The advantage of this over Downtown is that the HOAs (which bleed profits) are much lower than Downtown San Diego. A 2 bed 2 bath can go for between $220,000 and $250,000 with HOAs of around $300 / month. These will be located within walking distance or a short car ride to shopping malls, grocery stores, Universities, schools, and businesses. There is plenty of industry including Qualcomm, and a HUGE biotech industry from start up businesses from UCSD, to big Pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer, and Novartis to name two.
The MOST important thing is to find a very knowledgeable agent who will go the extra mile for you. in this season of multiple offers on investment properties, lenders being more cautious, many investors with all cash, your agent will have to be very committed to working with you the whole way through.