The 5 Most Affordable Places to Live In California

Jamie Ayers


Jamie Ayers

October 22nd, 2021
Updated October 22nd, 2021


Finding the most affordable places to live in California is challenging even if you're a native. State-wide, California has a median home value of $790,500. When you add in maintenance costs and property taxes, it can be difficult for many to buy and own a home. Because of that, we scoured the data to find the most affordable cities in California, looking at median home prices, cost of living, and other factors to find your best options.

Looking for the most affordable places in California is a start, but you'll save even more money by working with a great agent. The top California real estate agents know the local market and where to find pockets of more affordable homes. They can also help negotiate a better price when you do find your dream home.

Ready to buy? Clever is a free service that connects you with the best real estate agents in California from top brokers, like Keller Williams and RE/MAX.

With a Clever agent, you'll get instant MLS alerts on affordable California homes, on-demand showings, and an expert negotiator on your side. Even better? Eligible home buyers get a check for up to 0.5% of the purchase price back after closing!

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Ready to learn more about the most affordable places in California? These are our top picks.

1. Bakersfield

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.

2. Clovis

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.

Finding a home to buy here is easier with a local agent! With Clever, you'll find a great California realtor who can help with your home search.

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3. Sacramento

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.

4. Oxnard

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.

» FIND: Top Real Estate Agents in California

5. Fontana

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.

How to find affordable homes in California

Whether you want to live in a bustling California metro area or a tranquil small town, there's plenty to love in California. Working with a local real estate agent is the best way to find the most affordable places to live in California.

Ready to start house hunting? Clever is a free service that can match you with the best realtors in California. And, when you buy with a Clever partner agent, you could get 0.5% of your purchase price back as a check after closing. On a $300,000 home, that's an extra $1,500 back in your pocket. That's real money!

👋 Next steps: Talk to an expert

If you're weighing your options for buying or selling a house, Clever can help!

Our fully-licensed concierge team is standing by to answer questions and provide free, objective advice on getting the best outcome with your sale or purchase.

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Give us a call at 1-833-2-CLEVER or enter your info below. Our concierge team will be in touch shortly to help.

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