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The Most Expensive Places to Live in Southern California
Real Estate

The Most Expensive Places to Live in Southern California

Ah, the life of luxury, is there a better way to live? When moving to Southern California, check out the most expensive places to live.

Roubina Al Abashian


5 min read

September 06, 2021

The Golden State is home to both extravagant cities and affordable places, catering to all. For those who’ve earned the opulent lifestyle and are planning a brilliant move to Southern California, planning is involved. Luxurious houses, exceptional dining, world-class shops, and the best beaches can be found in the most expensive places to live in Southern California. The cost of living in these Southern California cities might be high, but the quality of life is even higher. 

You made up your mind and are adamant to make the move? Here are all the expensive places where the rich and famous reside in SoCal.

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Santa Barbara

Median home price: $1,468,019
Median household income: $76,606

No one needs a reason to visit Santa Barbara, let alone to live here. Thanks to the Mediterranean and Spanish-revival architecture, the Pacific Ocean swims, and Santa Ynez Mountain views, this lovely city is all about paradise. With its many historic landmarks, vibrant downtown, and amazing beaches, you won’t tire of living along the American Riviera. Many top ranked educational institutions, high-end retail shops, cafes, and restaurants are found here.

Even if you can’t afford to move to one of the most expensive cities in SoCal, visiting is a must. You don’t even have to worry about accommodations in this tourist-friendly city, and definitely not about what to do while in town—there’s just so much to do and see in the American Riviera.

Ah, Montecito, Montecito. If you're moving here, expect to run into Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, so it's always best to be dressed (well).


Median home price: $4,126,752
Median household income: $159,706

Looking for expansive real estate in the Golden State? The luxurious California city of Montecito is where you should be looking. With dense lush forests on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, this small city is a natural enclave for the rich and famous. The education system here is top-notch, hiking trails so beautiful and serene, and the life of socialites is incredible. Santa Barbara County’s best retail shops and restaurants are located on the famous Coast Village Road, where the experience is first class and the traffic, minimum. 

Overall, Montecito is a paradise you want to get lost in—and never come out again. Now you know why A-listers like Oprah Winfrey and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been overlooking the more popular cities, and instead choosing Montecito as their home. 

Tucked away, hidden away is the luxurious Hidden Hills. Keep your life private as you enjoy the best that this world has to offer.

Hidden Hills

Median home price: $4,093,956
Median household income: $246,042

The gated community of Hidden Hills has long been considered one of the high-end cities of Los Angeles County. Inside the borders of the city, residents escape from the hustle and bustle of the surrounding areas. Children can run freely in the safety of the streets, and neighbors greet each other by name—you would too if your neighbours were Drake or one of the Kardashians/Jenners.

Living up to its name, Hidden Hills is a pretty isolated city with plenty of privacy. And even though there’s not much to do in the city—besides maybe horseback riding—it’s just minutes away from the livelier cities. Located in the Santa Monica Mountains, Hidden Hills is one of the most expensive places to live in Southern California.

Luxury meets au naturel in Malibu. If that's your scene, then moving to Malibu may be your best bet yet.


Median home price: $3,790,886
Median household income: $150,747

Ever wondered how you might react if you suddenly ran into Leonardo DiCaprio or Will Smith as they’re leaving their luxurious mansions? Well, you should start preparing yourself for the inevitable, especially if you’re planning on moving to Malibu. Thanks to the stunning beaches, chill vibes, and year-long Mediterranean weather, the Bu sets itself apart from other expensive cities in California.

Proudly one of the best beach towns in California, Malibu is a haven for nature lovers—the mountains set the backdrop for a romantic beach date under the stars. Oh, and if you’re into hiking, lose yourself along the trails. The gorgeous views and mountain feels will keep you coming back for more. The homes are diverse; expect to see a juxtaposition of contemporary and Spanish style with rural ranches. It’s quite the contrast, yet because it’s Malibu, the diversity in architecture is oh so fitting. If you’re still on the fence about moving to Malibu, after spending the day amongst the beach and the mountains, you’ll be sold before you know it.

If you can't recognize this building, then maybe you shouldn't move here. Yes, that's right, we're talking about Beverly Hills' iconic Rodeo Drive.

Beverly Hills

Median home price: $3,838,168
Median household income: $106,936

Though Beverly Hills is bustling with shopaholics and tourists, the district is quite quiet and peaceful. Shop and dine on Rodeo Drive during daytime, before retreating to your luxurious hot yoga studio for an evening yin class, and get away from it all. You’ll discover gorgeous homes in the heart of Beverly Hills, and all throughout the district. 

The lush green parks, gorgeous architecture, and luxurious lifestyle welcome A-listers; your neighborhood chats will be oh, so intriguing. Considered one of the wealthiest cities in California and one of the most popular, Beverly Hills surely lives up to the hype—we’re sure Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, and Ryan Seacrest agree.

Lookin' for a place with melodic waves, bustlin' nightlife, and plenty of daytime activities? Then look no further, Santa Monica is your place, baby.

Santa Monica

Median home price: $1,822,525
Median household income: $96,570

Why settle down in Santa Monica? For starters, the nightlife and beach vibes got us feelin’ so high. The residents here enjoy a laid back life and breathtaking beach vistas. If that’s not enough for you, then you’d be interested to know that Santa Monica is one of the most sustainable cities in the whole country. City buses run on natural gas, all buildings comply with green living standards, and bike paths are found across the city. 

Maintaining an active lifestyle in this gorgeous city is a given—cycling, swimming, and paddle boarding are several of the top priorities amongst residents and visitors alike. Not to mention, strolling the iconic Santa Monica Pier every evening with your beaux. Sounds like a romantic way to spend your day. Even Batman himself (Christian Bale) has fallen for this charming SoCal city, purchasing a dwelling back in 2011.

Who wouldn't want these gorgeous ocean waves to be their daily view, day after day? Just move to Newport Beach and your dreams will come true.

Newport Beach

Median home price: $2,776,482
Median household income: $127,223

Living in Newport Beach is so much more than having a home—it’s a lifestyle. Located in Orange County, this lovely, clean city is a haven for water sport enthusiasts. Swimming, surfing, paddleboarding, and rowing are only several of the activities you can do at its beaches. But an endless summer isn’t all there is to this gorgeous SoCal city. Many of the Golden State’s best schools and colleges are located in or at close proximity to Newport Beach, so this locale is all family and friendly.

Award-winning hotels, exclusive restaurants, a premier outdoor shopping mall, and one of the world’s best golf resorts, Pelican Hill, complete this coastal city. As one of the best places to live in California, Newport Beach absolutely has what it takes to provide you with the luxurious life you want and deserve.

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