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The Ultimate Guide To The Richest Neighborhoods In California
Real Estate

The Ultimate Guide To The Richest Neighborhoods In California

As Will Smith so eloquently puts it, California's neighborhoods are places where you “drink orange juice out of a champagne glass”.

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5 min read

July 25, 2021

When it comes to neighborhoods, U.S. states are like a bouquet of everything, both good and bad. But in the ocean of ZIP codes you normally come across, a few warrant a way bigger description than plain ol’ “good”. And, surprise-surprise, a vast majority of these neighborhoods are in the Golden State. The richest neighborhoods in California are ritzy, they’re posh, or— as Will Smith so eloquently puts it— they are places where you “drink orange juice out of a champagne glass”. Here’s a roundup for you in case you want to join him. 

The Most Expensive Neighborhoods in California

La Jolla Farms is an affluent coastal area containing a stretch of secluded Black’s Beach, popular with surfers for its powerful waves.

La Jolla Farms 

Median home price: $2,002,454

One of the best neighborhoods in California—La Jolla Farms—is an affluent stretch of land found on the coast. Once you step inside, time seems to stop, with only a handful of streets hinting at a very exclusive community. La Jolla Farms is home to “America’s Coolest Home”; a Razor House property purchased by Alicia Keys and her husband Swizz Beatz in 2019 (worth about $20.8 million).

The median household income for families living in this posh neighborhood is estimated to be around $408,000, while home listings loom around 10 times that amount. However, since the area is really small, listings appear once every blue moon—you’ll find only a few every year. If you do happen to snatch one of those exclusive beauties, then you’re looking at a life with unrestricted views of the ocean and direct access to the beach below.

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Rancho Santa Fe

Median home price: $3,096,000

Consider yourself an outdoor adventurer? San Diego's Rancho Santa Fe may just be the place for you. This neighborhood consists of about 50 miles of horseback riding trails and a superb country club for golf fans.

Once you visit this neighborhood, it won’t be hard to see that it was once part of Mexico, even though it was later sold to the Santa Fe Railway in 1906—the affluent Rancho Santa Fe is rich in history. Now, it belongs to every list of San Diego's most expensive cities and offers luxe spas, lush parks, and a handful of gourmet restaurants.

Even though the area brims with millionaires, Rancho Santa Fe remains one of those few California upscale neighborhoods that still have a fairly calm air about it. You'll never feel overwhelmed by the buzz here, and if you happen to bump into Bill Gates, make sure to wave Mr. Microsoft a friendly hello. 

The community of Corona del Mar was founded in 1904 and is now known for its beaches, tidepools, cliffside views, and village shops.

Corona Del Mar 

Median home price: $3,336,000 

This one should not come as a surprise; Corona Del Mar seems like it was tailored to fit those who like the finer things in life. Sitting right at the edge of the coastline, this rich area in California is a seaside neighborhood in Newport Beach and only a 45-minute drive from the City of Angels.

When you set foot in the neighborhood, it’s going to be really difficult to believe that this coastal area was once known for prodigious waves and not much else. And it’s going to be especially hard to believe that everyone from the Real Housewives of Orange County and the fictional Bluth family of Arrested Development call this neighborhood home-sweet-home. 

Another reason Corona Del Mar is so sought-after is its proximity to Orange County’s finest beaches—location, location, location.

Beverly Park

Median home price: $2,980,000

This gated community in the Beverly Crest area is one of the richest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Two enclaves—North Beverly Park and South Beverly Park—comprise this place, making it a hotspot for those who love to splurge.

When you compare Beverly Park to other neighborhoods in California—or even L.A. for that matter—you'll find that the area is relatively new. Originally, Beverly Park was meant to be a golf course and a country club, but the developers thought the better of it. And we're glad they did, because the project blew up to become estates the minimum size of which must be at least 5,000 square feet. The largest house in this neighborhood is a jaw-dropping 40,000 square feet.

From its very inception in 1990, Beverly Park has not only boasted L.A.’s most expensive homes but also its most famous residents. The community is home to a handful of A-listers—Sylvester Stallone, Mark Wahlberg, Eddie Murphy, and Barry Bonds live or have lived here at some point.

Known for its large houses and ocean views, Seacliff is one of eight master-planned residence parks in San Francisco.

Seacliff

Median home price: $4,055,679

In case the name wasn't enough of a hint, Seacliff is basically ocean views surrounded by waterfront mansions. Nestled in the northwestern section of San Francisco, Mark Daniels' creation stands proud as one of the richest neighborhoods in the Bay Area. Sharon Stone, Jack Dorsey, Donald Disher, and the late Robin Williams are among the well-known residents of this dazzling community.

One of the things that really reels residents into this neighborhood is the abundance of regal architecture. Colorful and luxurious houses—designed by America’s finest architects—stretch as far as the eye can see. Seacliff residents also find themselves a stone’s throw from the popular Lands End Lookout, Sutro Baths, the Legion of Honor Museum, and many more landmarks and attractions. 

And, according to real estate agents, Seacliff homes are really ripe to snatch. Since their value is said to decrease in the coming year, you might be able to save money in one of the most expensive neighborhoods to purchase property in San Francisco.

Pacific Heights provides panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, the Palace of Fine Arts, Alcatraz, and the Presidio.

Pacific Heights 

Median home price: $1,986,000

Since 2013, Pacific Heights has been one of the most sought-after California neighborhoods. This posh enclave is renowned for its iconic residents, record-breaking prices, and a unique ability to appease those who are always in the mood to shop. With close proximity to Lafayette and Alta Plaza Parks, the Golden Gate Bridge, and sweeping views of the Marin Headlands, living here is the closest you’ll be to heaven on earth. Pacific Heights homes boast a myriad of architectural styles too—neo-baroque, Queen Anne, California Mission Revival, and French Renaissance Revival Chateau.

If you’re at all in the know about this neighborhood, then you’ve heard of the iconic Painted Ladies; a line of elegant homes that look like a time capsule from the Edwardian and Victorian eras. For shopaholics, the neighborhood is home to Ralph Lauren, Athleta, and Prada—perfect for when you need retail therapy. 

Once home to the mansions of the Big Four railroad barons, Nob Hill retains a sense of wealth and privilege.

Nob Hill

Median home price: $1,469,397

Nob Hill is the Bay Area's affluence personified. One of S.F.'s original "Seven Hills", the culturally diverse Nob Hill is considered to be among the highest-income neighborhoods in the country.

There was a time where the real estate market established Nob Hill as one of the most desirable and expensive neighborhoods in the country and not just San Francisco. And the area's truly what you would expect—mansions rich in history and elegance, boutiques as far as the eye can see, and an impressive number of Michelin-starred restaurants such as Keiko Nob Hill and Sons and Daughters.

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