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11 Of the Cheapest Places To Live in California
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11 Of the Cheapest Places To Live in California

We're here to prove that California can be budget-friendly! Here are 11 of the cheapest places to live in Northern and Southern California.

Roubina Al Abashian

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4 min read

January 13, 2022

Cheap isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about the California lifestyle. After all, the state does have the fifth largest economy in the world. But what if we told you that you can live in California without breaking the bank? Many of the state’s underrated towns and up and coming cities are affordable and in close proximity to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and every other metropolis. Life in the cheapest places to live in California is as good as you expect it to be, and this is where to keep an eye out.

Cheapest Places to Live in Northern California

Thinking of moving to Sacramento? The capital city features low crime rates, affordable housing, and the best outdoor recreation in the country.

1. Sacramento

Median home price: $468,660

It’s hard to believe that life in the state capital is pretty affordable, especially compared to the surrounding affluent metropolitan areas. The promising job market, affordable housing, and great education have made Sacramento one of the best places for young adults to move to. The best part is that there’s plenty of fun and free activities in case you were wondering about things to do in Sacramento, one of the cheapest cities to live in California

2. Rocklin

Median home price: $665,230

More and more families are starting to move to Rocklin, one of the fastest-growing cities in California, and we get it. Who wouldn’t want to move to a safe, cheap, and prosperous area? To add to all those qualities, Rocklin is abundant with green spaces and well-maintained neighborhoods, making it one of the best places to live in NorCal.

While technically located in the Sacramento Valley, Vacaville is occasionally considered to be a part of the San Francisco Bay Area.

3. Vacaville

Median home price: $600,920

Solano County’s Vacaville is one of the greatest places to move to raise a family. The exceptional public schools, recreational areas, and quirky town traditions are as attractive as it gets. And if buying a place is out of the question, you’ll be happy to know that Vacaville is also one of the best cities for renters in California.

4. Oakdale

Median home price: $524,980

Oakdale is a small town reminiscent of the Old West in the San Joaquin Valley. The self-proclaimed “Cowboy Capital of the World” has earned its spot as one of the best and most affordable places to live in California. With a pretty cheap housing market and great education system, it’s not hard to see why people are ditching the big cities to move here.

Mammoth Lakes' economy is primarily tourism-based, meaning living here is like being on a permanent vacation.

5. Mammoth Lakes

Median home price: $612,480

With plenty of things to do in Mammoth Lakes, California’s favorite skiing and snowboarding destination is actually one of the cheapest places to live in the state. Mammoth Lakes is a magnificent mountain town in California, where you’ll be living the good life without having to rely too much on your credit card. And as surreal as it is that all the amenities don’t come with a high price tag, Mammoth Lakes makes it all come true.

Fun fact: Fresno is also the third-largest majority-Hispanic city in the United States. More than 50 percent of its population was Hispanic in 2020.

6. Fresno

Median home price: $343,980

Residents of Fresno get to enjoy big-city amenities with small-town vibes. Great schools, a vibrant dining scene, and Fresno’s friendly neighborhoods make this affordable place to live in California a great option. There are plenty of community events and exciting things to do in Fresno year-round that’ll keep you busy throughout the year—you’ll wish you moved here sooner.

Most Affordable Cities in Southern California

7. Bakersfield

Median home price: $342,790

Two hours north of Los Angeles is the city of Bakersfield. This city is the perfect place for those who love to live a laid-back lifestyle without the hustle and bustle of metropolises. Not only is Bakersfield one of the most affordable places to live in California, but it’s also one of the most inexpensive college towns in the state.

A little less than a century after Mission San Buenaventura was founded, Ventura grew around the mission compound and was incorporated in 1866.

8. Ventura

Median home price: $800,210

An affordable California beach town with a reasonable housing market—we’re talking about Ventura. This is one of the best beach towns in Southern California for good reason. Here, you’ll get to enjoy the best waterfront activities, dine in world-class restaurants, and shop from cute local boutiques. And if you ever miss big city life, Downtown L.A. is just an hour away.  

9. Oxnard

Median home price: $669,820

Oxnard’s Mediterranean weather and relaxed beach town vibes make it one of the most sought-after cities in the Golden State. Living in this awesome city doesn’t cost much—Oxnard is pretty affordable. Despite being one of the cheapest cities to live in California, there’s plenty of work and recreational opportunities to keep you busy and entertained.

Fontana is a regional hub of the trucking industry, with the east-west Interstate 10 and State Route 210 crossing the city.

10. Fontana

Median home price: $560,320

Historically a rural town, Fontana today is a flourishing city that’s one of the most affordable places to live in California. Home to over 200,000 people, the city offers incredible waterfall hikes, museums, and parks to explore. Thanks to Fontana’s proximity to Los Angeles, you’ll also be able to take a lot of day trips to Los Angeles for fun weekend getaways.

11. Temecula

Median home price: $687,220

Thanks to its great schooling system and abundance of family-friendly activities, Temecula is one of the best places to raise a family. The relatively affordable city is also very luxurious—going on hot air balloon rides isn’t uncommon. And when strolling along the vineyards gets too redundant, you’ll be a short drive from L.A. and San Diego.  

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