Wondering About The Cheapest Places To Live in California?

Wondering About The Cheapest Places To Live in California?

Looking for the cheapest places to live in California? Where are the best places to be looking now? What are the safest places to live in California?

Many people are looking for the perfect place to live in California — but they’re also aware of how high the costs of living in San Francisco and Los Angeles have become.

So, where are the cheapest places to live in California now? How much does it cost to live there? What are some other ways to reduce housing costs? How does this compare to living in other states? If this is a smart time for you to move, who should you ask for help?

cheapest places in california

Cheapest Places to Live in California


Cheapest Places to Live in California

With a median home price of just $254,430, Bakersfield is a surprisingly cheap place to live in California. While it may not be considered the most glamorous of Golden State cities, it is on the main route from Southern to Northern California, providing easy travel to everything else you want to visit.

There are even several Bakersfield neighborhoods with average home prices around $300k.

  • Kern City
  • Casa Loma
  • Southgate
  • Lakeview
  • Park Stockdale
  • Benton Park
  • Oleander Sunset


The notorious boom and bust town of Stockton, CA continues to offer cheaper house deals. Those could get even cheaper before the market recovers.

The median local home value is around $384,000. Though like Bakersfield, there are a variety of cheaper neighborhoods to explore too.

Those with median home values that are more affordable include:

  • Midtown West
  • Wilson Heights
  • Country Club
  • Anderson
  • Swain Oaks
  • University
  • Holiday Park


Located between Stockton and Bakersfield is Fresno. It’s a great base for those who love Yosemite National park and all of its forests.

Average home values here are only just over $309,000. Neighborhoods with homes under $300k include:


Clovis is just outside of Fresno and one of the cheapest places to live in California. It is popular with those who want to grow their own food, young families looking for neighborhoods with lower crime rates, and fans of the local waterpark.

As a whole Clovis is not one of the cheapest cities on this list. The local median home value is just over $420,000. However, there are less expensive neighborhoods to check out in Selma, Reedley, Sangler, Fowler, and Coarsegold.


Cheapest Places to Live in California

Sacramento is the state capital. As the rest of California and its most famous cities have become more expensive, so have house prices here. Home prices here are on par with Clovis, at just over $430,000. Don’t expect to find any cheap rentals either. More affordable homes in Sacramento may be found in Tahoe Park South, Colonial Heights, and North Oak Park.


Find Fontana in San Bernardino County, CA. It’s right between Riverside and Rancho Cucamonga. Proximity to lots of natural outdoor activities and on the road to Downtown LA provide a fantastic balance for those who want more out of life.

This area of California has had a reputation for being less expensive than the coast. Yet, average home prices in this part of the Inland Empire can be close to $500,000. Find cheaper deals in San Bernardino, Bloomington, and Colton.


Back up in Butte County, Northern Californian Chico offers a city rich in history, museums, kids oriented activities and is even further north than Sacramento for those who like cooler weather.

Chico has been slightly more affordable than Fontana, though average home prices can still be close to $430,000.

You may find house deals for closer to half that amount in close by cities like Biggs, Los Molinos, Corning, Oroville, Magalia, and Gridley.


Eureka is a city on the Northern California coast between Portland, OR and San Francisco, CA. It does not have a very good reputation for safety, though crime rates did reportedly decline in 2017 and 2018, according to MacroTrends.

If you want to live close to the water, then you can do that in Eureka from around $350,000 on average. Even cheaper house deals may be found in Rio Dell and Fortuna.

How many people live in California?

As of 2019, there were 39.5 million people living in California. It was estimated that the coronavirus pandemic decreased the number of people living in California. The most recent unofficial census data showed there were about 39,538,223 people living in California.

Ways To Live Even Cheaper In California

With an average house price of almost $1.5M in San Francisco and over $700k statewide, all the cities and neighborhoods on this list are a comparable bargain.

This is still quite a lot for some people. Especially those affected by the recent recession, and may have trouble getting a sizable home mortgage loan.

The coronavirus pandemic was a fresh reminder of the dangers and disadvantages of living in the city.

More and more individuals are now becoming interested in tiny homes and rural property. Both of which can offer cheaper housing costs, more self-sustainability, and lower overall living costs.

Where is the cheapest place to live on the California coast?

On the Northern California Coast, the towns of Eureka and Crescent City city are relatively affordable and offer nice weather and a beautiful natural setting.

Where are the safest places to live in California?

According to Elite Personal Finance, in 2021 the safest places to live in California were Clayton (population 12,356); Lafayette (population 26,872); Imperial (population 18,090); Palos Verdes Estates (population 13,400).

The Cheapest Places To Live In California vs. Other States

California is infamously one of the most expensive states to live in America. Housing prices are just a part of that. There are also utility costs, regulations, daily food, and transportation costs, and crippling state income and property taxes.

Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Alabama, and Florida can all offer great weather, far lower home prices and lower (or no) state taxes.

Is it a good time to move to California?

Cheapest Places To Live In California

For many people, this is a fantastic time to explore houses in CA. If you can still sell your home, it may be a good time to do it. Especially considering houses in CA are still near peak prices, and far above those in 2008.

Many may be better off downsizing and getting out of the big cities. Urban jobs won’t be what they were for a long time. Some will never return as more companies stay operating virtually.

We probably haven’t seen opportunities to get deals on houses this good in California in over a decade. As always, it’s also a great time to buy a home, if you can.

Before you look at California homes, you need to know whether you can actually afford to own one. Mortgage payments are generally higher than rent in most states. And even when the prices are close, there are other costs associated with owning your home instead of renting.

Your property taxes will be added to your monthly mortgage payment. And if you put down less than 20% for a down payment, your lender will probably require you to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI) as well.

You’ll also have to pay some costs that you might not have had to pay while renting: utilities, cable, garbage pickup, and any necessary repairs.

Make sure you can comfortably afford not just your mortgage but also any additional expenses before buying your first home.

If you’ve run the numbers and decided that yes, you can afford homeownership, your next step is to meet with a mortgage lender. You can discuss the different types of mortgages and decide which would be best for you. You’ll also want to be pre-approved for a mortgage before you begin house-hunting.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll have to share your financial and employment information with the lender. They’ll require documentation such as tax forms, pay stubs, and more. Once they review and verify your information, they’ll determine whether to approve you for a mortgage. If they do, they’ll let you know your mortgage options and terms.

The lender will also issue a pre-approval letter. You can show this to sellers when you’re looking at homes, to let them know that you’re able to secure financing.

Be Prepared to Negotiate

It’s more than likely that the seller will come back to you with a counteroffer. That’s just part of the negotiations. It’s up to you whether you can comfortably accept their counter, respond with your own counteroffer, or walk away.

Keep your finances in mind and don’t let yourself get carried away in the excitement of buying your first home. No matter how much you might think a house is perfect for you, if you can’t comfortably afford it, it’s time to think twice.

Remember buyers: you need to know what a home will require in order for it to be up to your expectations of build quality. Houses may need a few things fixed either prior to purchasing a home or immediately after. It’s important to be aware of these issues, as it may cause a headache further down the road after you’ve purchased the house.

Often, if the seller is motivated enough to sell the house, they might work with you and include fixes and light renovations as a stipulation in the contract for the sale of the house. Making sure you have inspectors and independent contractors to inspect the house for any major issues can help save you a headache in the long run.

You also need to be aware of the market surrounding the house. If you look around at the neighborhoods close to the home you’re considering, you may find other locations that may be a better price, closer to an important location, or simply newer than the one that you’re considering. Ensuring that you’re aware of the area and not focused on one house can help make sure that you’re making the best choice possible when putting in an offer, and not necessarily choosing the first one on the list.

Living Affordably in California

It’s no secret that houses in CA are incredibly expensive on the hole. Fortunately, the cheapest places to live in California are still affordable. Get in touch with an UpNest Realtor today to start showings of your favorite properties and save big on real estate commissions.

You can compare agents, view recent reviews, and pick a Realtor who can offer you a home buyer rebate, so you

A Realtor should be there to aid in your home buying process, not just to show you listings. Helping you avoid the wrong time to buy, the wrong location or the wrong house for your budget can all go a long, long way in making sure that you’re happy with the end result. Beyond that, realtors aren’t all the same, and you will need to find one that gels with your interest as a home buyer before choosing to go the length of the field with them.

UpNest, which is owned by parent company Realtor.com, uses a proprietary agent matching system that considers closed listings, location of listing, and other factors to provide the customer with 3-5 individual proposals.

The proposal includes commission information, marketing techniques, a Q&A about the agents, local trends, reviews, and more. Once agents start using UpNest’s platform, the matching system evaluates their performance with UpNest, including conversion rates and response time.

UpNest is a no-cost service for home sellers and buyers to find the best real estate agents locally. The UpNest platform allows you to compare multiple agents in your area so you can compare reviews, commission rates, previous sales, and more.

Our agents have been carefully vetted and often offer competitive, lower than average commission rates to UpNest customers. There is no obligation to sign up with one of our Realtors, but when you can potentially save thousands on commission – why wouldn’t you? If you’re ready to get started, just enter your zipcode below!

Bakersfield is arguably the cheapest city to live in California, with many neighborhoods having available housing stock under $200,000.

There’s no specific part of California that’s more affordable than others. You’ll have to look all across the state for specific “bargains” that are more affordable than others.