The Most Expensive Cities in California Might Surprise You

The Most Expensive Cities in California Might Surprise You

By February 21, 2020

It’s no secret that California is home to some incredible (and expensive) real estate—especially in big cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. While it’s easy to see why people want to move into the state’s best beach houses and purchase vacation homes, achieving these goals gets harder every year as property values continue to rise. 

According to PropertyShark’s 2019 annual real estate reports, California is home to 91 of the 100 most expensive cities (by zip code) in the country, so it’s no surprise that Californians pay more for housing than the average American. So, it might be time to move to the Bay Area’s least expensive city (or even to a remote destination with more affordable housing) to purchase a starter home and begin saving for the place you really want. But for those who dare to dream, here are the most expensive zip codes in the Golden State.

The Top 10 Most Expensive Cities in California

Located in San Mateo County, Atherton is the most expensive zip code in the state. Photo courtesy of One Kind Design.

Recomended businesses

Show me
Recommended Businesses near

Discover the best of California. Our recommended businesses are top-quality and are committed to their communities.

Real Estate


Professional Services

Fitness & Wellness


1. Atherton

Zip code: 94027

County: San Mateo

Median sale price: $7,050,000

2. Santa Monica

Zip code: 90402

County: Los Angeles

Median sale price: $4,154,000

3. Beverly Hills

Zip code: 90210

County: Los Angeles

Median sale price: $4,080,000

4. Palo Alto

Zip code: 94301

County: Santa Clara

Median sale price: $3,522,000

5. Los Altos (94022)

Zip code: 94022

County: Santa Clara

Median sale price: $3,450,000

The iconic city of Beverly Hills is the third most expensive place to live in California, with median sale prices exceeding $4 million.

6. Ross

Zip code: 94957

County: Marin

Median sale price: $3,350,000

7. Portola Valley

Zip code: 94028

County: San Mateo

Median sale price: $3,300,000

8. Los Altos (94024)

Zip code: 94024

County: Santa Clara

Median sale price: $3,150,000

9. Newport Beach (92661)

Zip code: 92661

County: Orange

Median sale price: $3,140,000

10. Newport Beach (92662)

Zip code: 92662

County: Orange

Median sale price: $2,900,000

Famous for its luxe oceanfront properties, Newport Beach makes the list of the priciest places to buy a home. Photo courtesy of Home Bunch.

In total, 55 Bay Area zip codes made it into the top 100, while only 21 Los Angeles County zip codes did. For an even more direct comparison, 13 zip codes in the city of San Francisco were among the most expensive places to live in California, while only 6 from the city of Los Angeles made the pricey cut. 

Are you still dreaming of buying a house in one of the most expensive cities to live in? Let us know where you’re looking to splurge in the comments below.

1 comment

author photo
Please enter text
  • Dmitriy Korabelnikov | Jun, 30

    no way you gotta be a billionaire to buy a house in any of those zip codes Reply

You may also like

Real Estate

The Best Places in San Francisco for Starting an Airbnb

Thinking of hosting an Airbnb in San Francisco? Here are the best neighborhoods for vacation rentals in S.F....Read more

Real Estate

California's Best Inexpensive College Towns

In California's most affordable college towns, you can enjoy a great college experience without the super-high price tag....Read more

Real Estate

The Easiest Ways to Increase Your Property Value in California

From painting rooms, to upgrading appliances, to fixing pipes, these are the easiest ways to increase your property value in …...Read more

Real Estate

You'll Want to Live in These Northern California Cities

Get motivated to move: Opportunities for work, education, and recreation are abundant in Northern California's best cities to live in....Read more