Discover the 10 Most Affordable Places to Live in California in 2023

California is renowned for its exorbitant real estate prices; however, the state also harbors numerous cities and towns that are more affordable. Continue reading to uncover the least expensive areas to reside in California in 2023.

Many individuals aspire to relocate to California due to its balmy climate and palm trees. Nonetheless, some hesitate to make the move due to the exorbitant cost of living in many of the state’s finest locations.

If you seek economical places to live in California, the state’s northern region presents the most favorable options since the cost of living there is considerably lower than in Southern California (SoCal). Moreover, certain affordable California locales, such as Eureka, provide an exceptional quality of life.

10 Most Affordable Places to Live in California in 2023

  • Eureka
  • Stockton
  • Clovis
  • Sacramento
  • Vallejo
  • Redlands
  • Murrieta
  • Vacaville
  • San Pablo
  • Oxnard

1. Eureka

Eureka is considered the most affordable city to reside in California. Located in Northern California, this historic coastal town offers a delightful climate and a distinctive charm. Its picturesque old town showcases numerous Victorian mansions and other captivating historical landmarks.

With median property values of $328,000, Eureka stands out as an affordable option. In addition to its affordability, Eureka consistently receives high ratings as one of the top places to live in California.

2. Stockton

Stockton is a highly affordable city to reside in California. Situated in the San Joaquin Valley, this charming city in Northern California offers a welcoming atmosphere. With a median property value of just $335,000, Stockton stands out as one of the most economical places to live.

While Stockton has its share of social challenges, such as crime and homelessness, residents attest that there are plenty of desirable neighborhoods alongside the more rough areas.

Although it may not be the top choice for families, it serves as a suitable option for young or single adults who wish to save money while enjoying the perks of city living and a suburban environment.

3. Clovis

Clovis, located in the San Joaquin Valley near Fresno, is a charming and peaceful medium-sized city. It serves as the entryway to the Sierra Mountains and boasts stunning natural landscapes. With a median property value slightly above $375,000, Clovis offers affordable housing compared to other areas in California. 

It’s an ideal residential area suitable for families and working individuals who appreciate a relaxed and budget-friendly lifestyle. Furthermore, Clovis’s convenient proximity to Yosemite and Death Valley makes it an excellent choice for nature enthusiasts, as both destinations are easily accessible by a short drive.

4. Sacramento

Sacramento, located in California, is not only the least expensive among the large cities in the state but also serves as its capital. Known for its cultural diversity, Sacramento possesses a unique and vibrant local atmosphere.

Additionally, it offers convenient proximity to popular destinations like San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. Unlike some of California’s other major cities, Sacramento provides a more affordable cost of living, with a median home value of approximately $399,000.

While lacking in glitz and glamour, the city compensates with an authentic local culture and a high quality of life. Often overlooked, Sacramento stands as a hidden gem in California, particularly appealing to young adults and families seeking to save money.

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5. Vallejo

Vallejo, located in the San Francisco Bay area, is known for its affordability. This waterfront city offers various attractions, including Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and the historic Empress Theatre built in 1911. With median property values at approximately $440,000, Vallejo stands as a cost-effective choice compared to other areas in the Bay area. It provides a favorable environment for families, along with convenient access to San Francisco and nearby points of interest.

6. Redlands

Redlands is a budget-friendly city located in the heart of San Bernardino County’s Inland Empire in California. It possesses a tranquil suburban ambiance, characterized by its charming and quaint atmosphere. With an average property value of approximately $458,000, Redlands is an ideal residential destination for individuals seeking a secure suburban community while still enjoying convenient proximity to Los Angeles.

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7. Murrieta

Murrieta, located in California’s Inland Empire, stands out as one of the most affordable cities to reside in. Situated in Riverside County, this tranquil city is experiencing rapid growth and provides excellent public schools, a peaceful suburban environment, and a notably low crime rate.

With median property values hovering around $484,000 and a generally affordable cost of living, Murrieta is an attractive option for families and individuals who don’t mind being a bit further away from the coastline and popular tourist destinations.

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8. Vacaville

Vacaville, located in Solano County, Northern California, is a city of moderate size. It is situated midway between San Francisco and Sacramento, allowing its residents convenient access to both cities.

The historic downtown area offers a wide range of shopping and entertainment choices. With median property values approximately at $496,000 and a relaxed semi-urban ambiance, Vacaville presents a favorable option for individuals seeking affordability without compromising their standard of living.

9. San Pablo

San Pablo is a suburban area located near San Francisco, known for its affordability in an otherwise expensive city. It serves as an excellent option for individuals seeking to relocate to San Francisco for work or other prospects, while also requiring an affordable place to reside.

The median property values in this area are approximately $520,000, making it an attractive and cost-effective choice. Additionally, San Pablo boasts exceptional schools and a low crime rate, making it a hidden gem for those seeking a peaceful and secure environment.

With its tranquil suburban ambiance, it offers an ideal living situation for individuals desiring convenient access to both Berkeley and San Francisco without the burden of exorbitant prices.

10. Oxnard

Oxnard is another affordable location to reside in California. Situated in Ventura County, this serene coastal town provides a peaceful and tranquil environment, minus the high expenses typically associated with nearby beach cities.

The median property values in Oxnard hover around $530,000, making it one of the most cost-effective places to live near the beach in California. Moreover, Oxnard’s small-town allure is greatly appreciated by its residents.

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