Cheapest Places to Live in California: The Golden State is home to pristine beaches, lush mountains, and iconic cultural and historical attractions. With its thriving economy, quality education facilities, and low unemployment rate, it’s a dream destination for many.
But an increasing number of cities in the state are becoming pricier, making it financially challenging for many to take up residence here.
Iconic cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles have skyrocketing housing prices which makes them out of budget for many.
However, despite the state’s expensive status, there are some affordable places that won’t break the bank.
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From small college towns to scenic towns tucked in its inland region, you can find options that are easy on the pocket and come with plenty of attractive offerings.
Curious to know more?
Discover the 10 cheapest places to live in California: –
Home to sprawling fields and thriving oil and agriculture industries, Bakersfield exudes a charming small-town vibe.
Nestled between the vibrant cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, it offers easy accessibility to many iconic cultural and entertainment sites of the state.
The city also has many beautiful parks and offers easy access to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, making it a great place for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Couple that with many quality schools. With the average home price being around $395K, it’s one of the cheapest places to live in California.
For a one-bedroom apartment, the average rent is around $1,075.
Located just outside Sacramento in Butte County, Chico exudes a tranquil, family-friendly vibe. The city is home to numerous sprawling parks including the popular Bidwell Park which features swimming holes, and nature trails.
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking to explore more, the Lassen Volcanic National Park is a short drive away.
You’ll also find numerous museums, trendy boutiques, excellent restaurants, and cultural attractions. It’s also home to Chico State University and many highly-rated schools which makes it a great place to raise a family.
Some of the safest neighbourhoods in the city are Nord, Cohasset, and Canyon Oak.
The average home price here is around $450K and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment here is around $1,050 which makes it relatively more affordable than many other cities in the state.
With charming Queen Anne homes, a scenic waterfront, and Victorian-era Old Town Eureka, the city seems straight out of a postcard. Located in Humboldt County, the coastal city exudes a small-town vibe.
From exploring the maritime museums to going on boat tours, hiking on its numerous trails, and indulging in artisanal California chocolate, there are endless recreational activities to enjoy here.
It’s also a short drive away from the Redwood National and State Parks.
The average home price here is around $419K and you can find rental options at around $1,250. Certain neighbourhoods are safer than others so keep that in mind while choosing a location here.
The state capital boasts of a rich Gold Rush history, excellent restaurants serving organic fare, and a bustling Downtown area. The city’s proximity to the Sierra Nevada Mountains offers plenty of opportunities for rafting, camping, and hiking.
It also has a vibrant nightlife, art, and culinary scene. Couple that with numerous highly-rated schools.
It’s one of the safest and cheapest places to live in California.
The average home price here is around $490K and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $1,564.
Perched in the scenic San Joaquin Valley, Fresno is known for its thriving agriculture sector which generates a significant number of employment opportunities for residents.
Even though it has vast farmlands, it’s an urban area and has all the amenities you need to live comfortably.
If you’re a nature lover or an outdoor enthusiast, the city features beautiful parks and gardens with the most notable being the famous Forestiere Underground Gardens.
It also has a vibrant arts scene and many restaurants serving farm-to-fork delicacies. National Parks such as Sequoia, Yosemite, and Kings Canyon are only a short drive away.
The average home price here is around $383K and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,300.
Clovis’ location at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains makes it an outdoor enthusiast’s haven.
From jogging or cycling on the numerous trails in the surrounding area to camping in the nearby national parks such as Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia, there are endless outdoor recreational activities to indulge in here.
The city also features many museums, theatres, and restaurants. It’s great for those looking for a slower pace of life and a tranquil vibe.
The median home price here is around $520K while the average rent price is around $1,587.
Stockton is located on a channel that runs inland from San Francisco Bay which enables the residents to enjoy a waterfront feel.
From catching a hockey match at the Stockton Arena, exploring the Haggin Museum, and roaming around the downtown waterfront to shopping at the farmers’ market, there are plenty of activities to enjoy here.
Love spending time amidst nature?
You can also hop on a boat to explore the maze of inlets and bays or go picnicking at Oak Grove Regional Park.
The city is only one and a half hour drive away from San Francisco, which makes for a perfect weekend getaway. The average home price here is around $445K.
If you’re planning to rent?
You can get a one-bedroom apartment at around $1,301 monthly rent.
Located in San Bernardino County, Fontana offers access to beautiful waterfalls and lush parks. The town has a rural history and developed after World War II.
From golfing at the Sierra Lakes Golf Club, skating, or jogging at Fontana Park to indulging in a scrumptious meal at one of its many excellent restaurants, there are endless activities to enjoy here.
Relocating with family?
The city has many top-rated schools and is home to Chaffey College. Its proximity to Los Angeles offers easy access to the big city entertainment scene.
The average home price here is around $595K and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,502.
Located amidst rolling hills just west of Sacramento Valley, Vacaville is home to a historic downtown, impressive shops, and many excellent restaurants serving a variety of cuisines.
The city exudes a tranquil vibe and is perfect for those who wish to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It has many beautiful parks and farms.
It also offers easy access to Wine Country and has many highly-rated schools. It’s located between Sacramento and San Francisco, offering access to the big city entertainment scene. The average home price here is around $625K.
Looking to rent?
The average rent for a three-bedroom apartment here is around $2,800.
A short drive from Los Angeles lies this charming coastal town. Nestled in Ventura County, it is home to numerous beautiful beaches that offer endless outdoor recreational activities.
It also has a rich history and culture.
One of the most notable attractions to explore for history buffs here is the Henry T. Oxnard Historic District where you can find many buildings featuring Craftsman, Spanish Colonial, and Period Revival bungalow-style architecture along with numerous charming boutiques and restaurants.
If you’re a nature lover, you’ll love to explore the Channel Islands National Park and the National Marine Sanctuary, which is a short boat ride away.
Numerous local events are also organized throughout the year that bring the community together.
The median house price here is around $739K which is lower than the state average. Considering its coastal location, it is also a relatively affordable choice for renters with the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment being around $2,100.
With so many affordable cities to choose from, living in California doesn’t have to be a financial challenge.
So, pick the one that ticks off all the boxes on your checklist and get ready to move to this incredible state.
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Q. What part of California is more affordable?
Northern California (apart from San Francisco and the Bay Area) is relatively more affordable than Southern California.
Q. What city in California is the cheapest to live in?
Bakersfield, Chico, and Eureka are amongst the cheapest cities to live in California.
Q. How to live cheaply in California?
Here are a few tips for living cheaply in the Golden City; search the market for affordable rental options and get a smaller place, buy second-hand items from flea markets, use public transportation, cook at home more often, and work out outdoors rather than joining a gym.