California is unquestionably different from any other state, boasting pristine beaches, crashing surf, stunning mountains, iconic cities, and moderate temperatures all year round. But living in a place with such attractive features can sometimes come at a cost. Increasing numbers of California cities are becoming increasingly expensive, and many Californians — especially those looking for millennial homebuyers and residents living in larger metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco — are likely to feel financial tightening as housing and rent prices continue to rise, but wages remain relatively stagnant.
Despite its infamous reputation as the most expensive state in the country, California (believe it or not) still has a number of economically sound places to live in. While most of the affordable cities are tucked away in California's inland regions, many of them are still within easy driving distance of popular destinations, you can make a road trip out of it and listen to a binge-worthy California podcast or jamming playlist.
So, if you want to live in one of the most exciting states in America, but don't want to deal with high real estate prices (and still want to be close to famous attractions and bustling metropolitan areas), here are the cheapest places to live in California:
Approximately an hour north of Los Angeles, Oxnard offers beachfront living at an affordable price. The median household income here is $62,349 with a median home value of $332,600, which is actually a big deal for California real estate. Golf, wine tours and strolls along Mandalay Beach are all part of Oxnard 's life. With fertile agricultural land around the city, many crops are growing in the region. But Oxnard is most famous for its strawberries, with the California Strawberry Festival being held here every year. The town has the nickname "Gateway to the Channel Islands," a nearby national park and a marine sanctuary.
Just 55 miles from San Francisco, Vacaville is home to ranchers, farmers and residents looking for a quiet community to raise their families. The median home value of $275,100 is the cheapest on this list, with a median household income of $74,207. The Nut Tree, a roadside stop for travelers who wanted to buy fresh, locally grown fruit and nuts, and a larger restaurant complex, closed in 2009. But the site is coming back as a mixed-use development. Residents can enjoy outdoor adventures such as strolling through the hills of the Lagoon Valley or enjoying the nightlife, fine dining and shopping.
The bedroom community of Camarillo is known as a hot shopping destination for the rest of Southern California. Premium Outlet Malls tempts those looking to make a lot of purchases. This includes housing prices as well. The median home value is $456,500, while residents enjoy a median household income of $87,120. Much of the action is centered in the Old Town area, where a popular farmers' market is set up on Saturday mornings. The town is also proud of the recently restored Camarillo Ranch House, a historic Queen Anne-style house built in 1892.
A science hub, a paradise for hikers and a memorial to the U.S. The President has all described one place: Simi Valley. At the moment, median household income is a bit astounding $89,595, but the median home value is only $438,700, which definitely earns a spot as an affordable Californian city. Located in Simi Valley, the Santa Susana Field Laboratory has long been a leader in rocket and nuclear technology and an economic driver for the city. For outdoor lovers, there is an extensive hiking trail system in the undeveloped parts of the valley. Recently, visitors came to Simi Valley to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, a testament to the life and work of the nation's 40th President.
As a repeat city on Livability 's 100 Best Places to Live, it's hard to believe that Ventura wouldn't break the budget. But with a median household income of $66,485 and a median home value of $428,600, that's not too bad for California standards. Plus, residents enjoy great amenities, such as five college campuses and Surfer's Point, the site of a number of surfing competitions. Officially known as San Buenaventura, they 're all just called Ventura. Out of the five cities on our list of affordability, all but one is located in the county of Ventura.
Nestled in Humboldt County, near the northern end of the state, Eureka is the largest coastal town between San Francisco and Portland, Oregon. This popular destination is full of small-town charm, thanks to the ornate Queen Anne homes on the sidewalks, the Victorian-era Old Town of Eureka, and fun-filled family-friendly activities.
Clovis is known as the "Gateway to the Sierra" for one reason: the town is nestled at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, making it a top real estate choice for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a cheap place to live in California. With Yosemite National Park as well as Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks just a short drive away, you can choose from activities such as cycling, hiking or jogging on the many trails that surround Clovis.
Sexton Group Real Estate Property Management in Berkeley, California is a boutique real estate company specializing in residential sales as well as property management services for properties throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. We have 2 offices to serve you, one in the heart of Berkeley and the other in the heart of Lafayette, California. The Sexton Group encompasses the essence of Berkeley’s charm and Lafayette’s family-oriented vibe all with a relaxed, down-to-earth nature. We are an amazing group of agents whose wealth of experience spans more than 25 years in the industry. Looking to sell a home in Contra Costa or Alameda County? Contact us today for your free consultation!