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The 5 Most Affordable Places to Live In California

California has some of the highest home values in the United States. But don’t let that hold you back from living that carefree west coast living and visiting the beach on the weekends. Here are some hidden gems that offer affordable living in California.
The 5 Most Affordable Places to Live In California

California is a great place to live — both beaches and mountains are close, there’s plenty to do, and you can find a community that fits your vibe no matter what it is. But, all these amenities come at a price. California is known for its rich lifestyle and the state tops the list of the most expensive. The median home value of houses in California is a whopping $548,000, according to Zillow.

But not to worry, with a bit of research (starting with this article!), you can find affordable places to live in California and still enjoy that west coast living. Keep reading and we’ll see you at the beach!


The median home price in Bakersfield is much more reasonable than the state as a whole and sits around $242,000. The population of the city is around 380,000, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data.

Settled almost exactly in the middle of the state, Bakersfield is far enough from the beach to be affordable, but close enough for a day trip at just 2 hours away. Plus, it’s surrounded by three different national forests so there’s no reason to be bored.

Job opportunities are centered around the oil and agriculture sectors and the city strives for a family-friendly feel. The Macaroni & Cheese Festival held each spring sure doesn’t hurt.


Clovis is just a stone’s throw from Fresno, but enjoys a much lower crime rate. Because of it’s great school system, the city is full of young families and has a population around 110,000. The median home value is $342,800 and many of the residents work in the agriculture industry. The rich soil provides for a year-round growing season, so you can enjoy fresh produce all year. The city is also home to the Wild Water Adventure Park, the largest water park in California and is just a few hours from the beach.


If you prefer a large city in California, but are on a budget, check out Sacramento. The city has a population of more than half a million, but a median home value of $326,900. You’ll enjoy the benefits of living in the capital city with plenty to do, lots of historic landmarks and loads of food options.

Another benefit of Sacramento is the abundance of jobs — both in the private sector and through the state government. While the city had some rockiness surrounding the last recession, the city is on the path to recovery.

If you love day-trips, Sacramento offers plenty close places to explore — Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Yosemite, just to name a few.


Living close to the beach is one thing, living on the beach is another! If you’re looking for an affordable beachfront home, be sure to check out Oxnard. The city is about an hour north of Los Angeles and an hour south of Santa Barbara. While at $504,000, the median home value is more than others on this list, Oxnard is one of the most affordable beachfront living spots in California.

Oxnard has a population of around 210,000 and is close to golf courses and wineries, and less than five miles from Mandalay Beach, of course. Enjoy that Southern California life at a fraction of the cost in Oxnard.


Located just outside the Los Angeles metro, Fontana has a population of about 210,000 and a median home value of $391,200. Despite it’s close proximity to all the excitement of LA, Fontana enjoys a low crime rate and plenty of jobs in the healthcare industry. The city is also just an hour from Newport Beach for you to enjoy a day in the sunshine.

If you’re considering purchasing a property in California, work with an experienced, local agent to navigate the home-buying process, especially if you’re moving from another state.

In addition to helping you find an affordable place to live and knowing the best time to buy, Clever Partner Agents may also be able to help you uncover additional cost-savings opportunities. Plus, you’re eligible for a $1,000 buyer’s rebate on any home you purchase for more than $150,000.


Jamie Ayers
Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

See all Jamie's Posts

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