As you embark on the journey to explore and possibly even move to California, known for its high real estate prices, it’s essential to keep in mind that affordable living options do exist. From coastal cities to inland towns, there are areas where you can experience the Golden State lifestyle without breaking the bank. So set your sights on discovering the top 15 most affordable cities in California that are both wallet-friendly and desirable places to call home.
Although California is often associated with high living costs in popular areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco, there are hidden gems scattered throughout the state. Cities like Eureka, Stockton, and Clovis offer a more economical alternative for residents seeking affordability without sacrificing the quality of life. Get ready to explore these budget-friendly options and unlock the secrets to affordable living in California.
15 Cheapest Places to Live in California
Considering affordability in the Golden State, these are the top 15 California cities you may find cost-effective:
- San Pablo
- Long Beach
- Costa Mesa
These cities offer affordable living, cheaper housing options, and lower crime rates compared to other expensive cities, making them the ideal choices for you.
Located in Northern California, Eureka boasts a delightful climate, charming historic charm, and affordability. As you wander through the quaint old town, you’ll be captivated by the Victorian mansions and various historic attractions. With a median property value of $332,000, Eureka is known as the most budget-friendly city in California. It’s not just the low cost of living that attracts people; Eureka has also gained recognition as one of the best places to reside within the state.
Stockton offers an affordable living experience in Northern California’s San Joaquin Valley. With a median property value of $335,000, this suburban city provides a warm atmosphere suitable for young or single adults seeking to save money. Although the city is no stranger to social issues such as crime and homelessness, many residents confirm that there are safe and consistent areas as well.
While Stockton might not rank high for family-friendliness, it presents significant opportunities in a comfortable suburban setting. The city is also home to the renowned Haggin Museum, adding local art and history for residents and visitors to enjoy.
Clovis, nestled in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, offers an affordable and peaceful living experience with easy access to Fresno. This medium-sized city, known as the gateway to the Sierras, lies at the foot of the Sierra Mountains and boasts stunning vistas.
With median property values around $375,000, Clovis is a budget-friendly option for Californians. The calm residential setting caters to families and professionals seeking a laid-back lifestyle. Moreover, if you’re a nature enthusiast, you’ll appreciate the convenient proximity to Yosemite and Death Valley for quick escapes into the great outdoors.
Sacramento stands as California’s most affordable large city, offering diversity and a unique local charm. As the capital, it provides easy access to famed destinations such as San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. The city’s lower cost of living compared to other major Californian cities, with a median home value around $399,000, attracts young adults and families looking to save money.
Embrace the genuine local culture and high quality of life while bypassing the glitz and glamour of more expensive locales. In Sacramento, you can find an overlooked gem, perfect for those who value authenticity.
Vallejo, a waterfront city in the San Francisco Bay area, offers affordability combined with a lively atmosphere. You’ll enjoy attractions such as Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and the historic 1911 Empress Theatre. With median property values around $440,000, Vallejo’s cost of living is significantly lower than other parts of the Bay area. It’s an ideal location for raising a family, while also providing easy access to San Francisco and other nearby attractions.
Located in San Bernardino County’s Inland Empire, Redlands offers an affordable and charming suburban lifestyle. With property values averaging around $458,000, you can enjoy the safety and tranquility of this California gem while still maintaining relatively smooth access to Los Angeles.
Murrieta is an affordable option for living in California’s Inland Empire. As one of the state’s rapidly expanding cities, it provides excellent public schools, a safe environment, and a pleasant suburban ambiance. With its median property values of around $484,000, Murrieta makes it easier for you to live comfortably and affordably, especially if you’re looking for an area away from bustling beach locations and tourist hotspots. In Murrieta, you can enjoy a family-friendly city with a reasonably low cost of living.
In Vacaville, a mid-sized city in Solano County, Northern California, you’ll find a perfect balance of affordability and quality of life. Conveniently located between San Francisco and Sacramento, you can easily access either city. The historic downtown offers several shopping and entertainment options. With median property values of approximately $496,000 and a relaxed semi-urban ambiance, Vacaville provides an excellent opportunity for you to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank.
9. San Pablo
Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Pablo provides an affordable living option within reach of the bustling city life. With median property values around $520,000, it caters to those seeking a more budget-friendly place to call home. Apart from its affordability, this suburban gem boasts excellent schools and low crime rates, ensuring a safe and nurturing environment. If you’re looking for easy access to both Berkeley and San Francisco without breaking the bank, San Pablo is an ideal choice.
In Oxnard, located in Ventura County, you’ll find a serene seaside environment that combines the charm of a small town with coastal beauty. As an agricultural community, Oxnard is an affordable option in California with a median property value of around $530,000. It offers an escape from the high costs of other beach towns while still giving you access to the stunning surroundings and tranquility you desire.
Temecula, nestled in Riverside County, California, offers you an affordable living option amidst the picturesque wine country region. The breathtaking landscape, coupled with a gentle climate, makes it a preferred travel spot. Your decision to live here could mean accessing homes approximately priced at $540,000, which is notably more budget-friendly than other Southern California locations.
Perfect for young families, Temecula maintains a secure and reasonably-priced atmosphere while allowing you to experience SoCal’s exceptional quality of life.
12. Long Beach
Long Beach offers an affordable living option in Southern California. As the seventh-largest city in the state, this coastal city is situated within Los Angeles County and provides a peaceful beach environment merely 30 minutes away from downtown LA. Ideal for individuals seeking proximity to city life without the hefty price tag, Long Beach’s median property value stands at around $640,000.
Though more expensive real estate can be found near the shoreline, the city’s inland neighborhoods showcase suburban characteristics and a lower cost of living. Indeed, Long Beach is a fantastic choice for those desiring the excitement of a nearby metropolis without being in its immediate midst.
Anaheim offers a more budget-friendly option in California while providing an urban feel. Known as the home of Disneyland, the Honda Center, and Angel Stadium, there’s no shortage of activities and amenities for you to explore. With a median property value of approximately $672,000, it’s significantly more affordable than other parts of Orange County. Enjoy the city’s vibrant atmosphere and lower cost of living while remaining within striking distance of Los Angeles.
Nestled in Orange County, Placentia provides an affordable living option in California. Away from the hustle and bustle of the beach, you’ll enjoy a calm lifestyle with a low crime rate. The median property value in this town is around $765,000, which is relatively affordable for the Golden State.
While living in Placentia, you can take advantage of numerous entertainment and shopping choices. Although the ocean isn’t situated right at your doorstep, the beach is just a short drive away, perfect for weekend getaways. The desirable California weather combined with Placentia’s reasonable cost of living makes it an appealing option for many.
15. Costa Mesa
Costa Mesa, situated between Santa Ana, Irvine, and the Pacific Ocean, offers affordability amidst the luxurious Orange County. With a median property value of $890,000, this charming suburb provides a serene atmosphere, making it an excellent choice for both families and young professionals seeking a peaceful and budget-friendly environment.
In addition to the attractive costs, Costa Mesa boasts a thriving retail and manufacturing center that charms residents with the conveniences of Southern California while remaining close to beach attractions. Embrace the best of coastal living by choosing Costa Mesa as your new home.
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Cheapest Places to Live in California: The Takeaway
Northern California is an ideal area to find affordable housing, lower living costs, and a high quality of life. For instance, Eureka is known to be both budget-friendly and desirable. While California is known for high expenses, you can still find affordable living opportunities if you do your research. The cities mentioned provide great value to residents, from job opportunities to attractive amenities.
You can expect lower housing costs, competitive employment options, and more reasonable utilities and transportation expenses in these more budget-conscious communities. Don’t be deterred by the high costs of Los Angeles and San Francisco; numerous cities across California offer affordable living for both renters and homebuyers, without sacrificing important factors such as healthcare and property taxes. Remember, the perfect affordable place in California is waiting for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Northern or Southern California: Which is Pricier?
Generally, Southern California tends to be more expensive than Northern California, especially when considering areas like Los Angeles and San Diego. However, specific costs may vary depending on the city and neighborhood.
Budget-friendly Coastal Towns in California
Here are a few affordable coastal towns in California:
These towns offer beautiful coastal attractions at a lower cost compared to other coastal cities in the state.
Inexpensive Los Angeles Housing Options
For more budget-friendly housing near Los Angeles, consider cities such as:
These suburban cities have relatively more affordable housing while still providing accessibility to Los Angeles.
Low-Cost Northern California Cities
In Northern California, some of the cities with a lower cost of living include:
These cities offer a more affordable lifestyle while still providing the benefits of living in California.
Affordable Housing Options in The Valley
For budget-friendly housing options in the Valley, consider cities such as:
These cities provide more affordable options while still benefiting from the region’s natural beauty and central location within California.