California is notorious for its high real estate prices, but the state also has numerous affordable cities and towns to live in. While many people are attracted to California’s warm weather and palm trees, the exorbitant cost of living in some of the state’s most popular areas can make the move daunting. However, if you’re seeking inexpensive places to live in California, the northern region of the state presents the best options. Northern California boasts a much lower cost of living than its southern counterpart, and some of the state’s most affordable cities, such as Eureka, provide a high quality of life.
15 Cheapest Places to Live in California
- San Pablo
- Long Beach
- Costa Mesa
If you’re searching for the cheapest place to live in California, look no further than Eureka. This historic port city situated in Northern California offers a delightful climate and a unique charm. Its quaint old town is brimming with Victorian mansions and other historical landmarks. Eureka boasts a median property value of $328,000, making it the most cost-effective city to live in within the state. Notably, Eureka is not only budget-friendly, but it is also consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in California.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive city to call home in California, Stockton is worth considering. This charming Northern California city is located in the San Joaquin Valley, offering a relaxed suburban vibe. The median property values in Stockton are a mere $335,000, making it one of the cheapest places to live in California. Although Stockton has been associated with social issues like crime and homelessness, locals report that the city offers both rough and excellent neighborhoods. While it may not be the most family-friendly location, Stockton is suitable for young or single adults seeking to save money and live in a city with a suburban atmosphere and opportunities.
For those seeking affordable living in California, Clovis is a medium-sized city worth considering. Located just outside of Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley, Clovis is known as the gateway to the Sierras and boasts beautiful natural scenery. With a median property value of slightly over $375,000, Clovis is an affordable option by California standards. This tranquil residential area is ideal for families and professionals who value a relaxed lifestyle and affordability. Nature enthusiasts will find Clovis to be an excellent location, as both Yosemite and Death Valley are within close proximity. With its charming character and affordable living, Clovis is one of the cheapest places to live in California.
If you’re looking for an affordable large city to live in California, Sacramento is an excellent option. As the state capital and one of the most diverse cities in California, Sacramento has a unique local culture and easy access to popular destinations such as San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. With a median home value of roughly $399,000, Sacramento is the cheapest large city to reside in within the state. Although Sacramento may lack the glamour of other major California cities, it offers an authentic local culture and high quality of life, making it an overlooked gem. This city is suitable for young adults and families seeking to save money while enjoying the benefits of urban living.
If you’re searching for an affordable place to reside in California, Vallejo is worth considering. Located in the San Francisco Bay area, Vallejo is a waterfront city with a range of attractions, such as Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and the historic 1911 Empress Theatre. Despite being in the Bay area, Vallejo’s median property values are only around $440,000, making it one of the cheapest places to live in California. Additionally, the cost of living in Vallejo is much lower than other parts of the Bay area, making it an ideal location for those looking to save money. Families will find Vallejo to be an excellent place to raise children, as it offers easy access to San Francisco and other attractions. Overall, Vallejo is a great option for those seeking affordable living in California.
If you’re searching for an affordable place to call home in California, Redlands is worth considering. Situated in San Bernardino County’s Inland Empire, Redlands is a serene and inviting suburban city. Despite being located within close proximity to Los Angeles, the median property values in Redlands are approximately $458,000, making it one of the most affordable places to live in California. It’s a safe and peaceful community that offers a small-town feel with easy access to the bustling metropolis of LA.
Murrieta is an affordable city located in Riverside County’s Inland Empire and is among the cheapest places to live in California. The area has a peaceful suburban vibe, excellent public schools, and a low crime rate. Median home values in Murrieta are approximately $484,000, which is quite reasonable for California. The city is ideal for families and individuals who prefer a slower pace of life and are willing to sacrifice proximity to beaches and tourist attractions. Moreover, it’s one of the fastest-growing cities in the state, offering ample opportunities for those seeking employment.
Vacaville, a mid-sized city located in Solano County in Northern California, is an excellent option for those looking for affordable living without compromising their quality of life. Its prime location, positioned halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento, provides residents with easy access to both cities. The city’s historic downtown boasts numerous shopping and entertainment options. With a median property value of around $496,000 and a relaxed semi-urban atmosphere, Vacaville is an ideal choice for those who want to save money.
9. San Pablo
San Pablo is a suburb located in the San Francisco Bay Area and is an excellent affordable option for those looking for an inexpensive place to live in an otherwise expensive city. With median property values around $520,000, San Pablo offers residents a low-cost living environment while still being in close proximity to San Francisco and Berkeley. This quiet suburban area features excellent schools and a low crime rate, making it ideal for families and working professionals. If you’re looking for a peaceful place to live with easy access to the surrounding cities, San Pablo might be the perfect option for you.
Oxnard is a serene coastal city located in Ventura County, California. It’s an agricultural community that provides a calm and peaceful atmosphere without the high expenses of many other coastal cities in the region. With median property values of around $530,000, Oxnard is one of the most affordable places to live in California near the beach. The city boasts a quaint small-town charm that is favored by many of its residents.
Temecula is a picturesque city located in Riverside County, California’s wine country, surrounded by stunning rolling hills and vineyards. It’s a popular tourist destination due to its beautiful scenery and pleasant weather. Despite being located in Southern California, Temecula is much more affordable than other towns in the region, with median property values of around $540,000, making it one of the cheapest places to live in California. It’s an excellent choice for young families who want to live in a safe, affordable city with a high quality of life in SoCal.
12. Long Beach
Long Beach is one of the most affordable cities in Southern California, making it a great choice for those looking to live near the coast without breaking the bank. Located in Los Angeles County, Long Beach is the seventh-largest city in California and is known for its peaceful beach town vibe, just a short 30-minute drive from downtown LA. With a median property value of around $640,000, Long Beach offers a mix of affordable suburban neighborhoods and pricier beachfront properties. It’s a perfect city for those who want to be close to the excitement of LA, while still enjoying a more laid-back coastal lifestyle.
Anaheim, located in Orange County, Southern California, is one of the most affordable cities to live in the region. It’s perfect for those who want to enjoy an urban lifestyle without the high living costs of Los Angeles. Anaheim is home to popular tourist destinations such as Disneyland, Honda Center, and Angel Stadium, making it an exciting place to live. Despite its attractions, Anaheim has a median property value of around $672,000, making it much cheaper than other cities in Orange County.
Placentia is one of the cheapest cities to live in Orange County, California, located inland between Anaheim and Yorba Linda. This quiet town offers a slower pace of life, low crime rates, and affordable living. With median property values around $765,000, it’s an excellent option for those seeking cheaper living in Southern California. Placentia has plenty of entertainment and shopping options and is a great city for those who love the California weather but don’t need to be near the beach. If you want to hit the beach on the weekends, the ocean is only a quick drive away.
15. Costa Mesa
Costa Mesa is a peaceful suburban city located in Orange County, California. Situated between Santa Ana, Irvine, and the Pacific Ocean, Costa Mesa is known for being one of the most affordable places to live in the affluent Orange County area. The median property value in Costa Mesa is $890,000, which is relatively low compared to other cities in Orange County. Despite being a suburban area, Costa Mesa is a hub for retail and manufacturing, making it a great place for professionals who want to be close to work. Families will appreciate the peaceful environment and amenities that come with living in a Southern California suburb, all without the high costs typically associated with beach towns.
Is Northern or Southern California More Expensive in 2023?
Northern California, on average, is more affordable than Southern California, except for the pricey San Francisco and Bay Area. Southern California is known for being one of the most expensive regions in the United States. However, there are still affordable options in certain areas if you know where to look.