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The 20 Cheapest Places to Live in California


There are many factors that people take into con choosing the best location to call home. Some of these include employment opportunities, schools, transport links, amenities, leisure and entertainment facilities, and local crime rates. However, one of the most important factors to consider when choosing somewhere to live in is the cost, as most people have a set budget. How cheap a place is to live includes the cost of buying or renting a property and the general cost of living. If you are considering moving to California, then finding an affordable area is important if you want to live within your budget. Here are the 20 cheapest places to live in California.

20. Sacramento

Forbes lists Sacramento as one of the cheapest places to live in California, although property prices vary from one neighborhood to the next. Some of the cheapest houses in the area are in the Hagginwood district, with the average property costing $220 thousand. One of the more expensive districts is Gateway West, with an average property price of $360 thousand.

19. Fresno

Another area of California listed by Forbes as a cheap place to live in is Fresno. The average house prices in this city vary from just under $200 thousand in Fresno High Roeding to almost $375 thousand in Woodward Park. The cost of health care is also low in this city.

18. Bakersfield

With a population of 380 thousand people, Bakersfield is one of the fastest-growing cities in California. The low cost of living means that it appeals to people who are looking for an affordable place to live. Another appealing feature of Bakersfield is the plentiful job opportunities, especially in the manufacturing and agriculture industries. As this city sits on the Kern River and it has multiple hiking trails, it is a nice place to live for people who enjoy the outdoors. Furthermore, there is plenty to do in this city, as there are museums, restaurants, and vibrant nightlife.

17. Clearlake

As its name suggests, Clearlake sits by Clear Lake. It is considered a hidden gem, as it has a small population of just 15 thousand, and it is surrounded by beautiful countryside. Residents can enjoy mountain views, small wineries, and fishing. Despite its many interesting features, this is one of the most affordable places to live in California.

16. Blythe

The cost of living in Blythe is around 33 percent lower than the average cost of living in this state. Despite the low cost, it is a pleasant place to live that combines small-town living with the California lifestyle. It is located on the Colorado River, approximately 220 miles east of Los Angeles, and it has a population of only 20 thousand people.

15. Camarillo

Camarillo is a town that sits between Ventura, Oxnard, and Simi Valley, and it is popular as it is an affordable option within easy traveling distance of these cities. It has a dense suburban feel, and it is particularly well-known as a shopping destination. Niche scores this city highly for its outdoor activities, diversity, weather, and health and fitness facilities. Camarillo also has a relatively low crime rate, and there are decent public schools in the area.

14. Vacaville

Just outside San Francisco, Vacaville is a quiet community that is a nice place to raise a family. Residents enjoy both the small-town feel of this location, along with its proximity to San Francisco's employment opportunities, entertainment and leisure facilities, amenities, and transport links. Vacaville has some nice places to shop and dine, and it is a fantastic place to live for people who enjoy the outdoors as it is by Lagoon Valley. Best Places notes that the cost of living in Vacaville is significantly less than the states average, as is the cost of transportation. However, the cost of utilities is higher than average.

13. Temecula

Temecula is known for its golf courses and wineries. It is also famous for having the largest casino in the state. The cost of housing in this city is around 35 percent below the state average, so it is popular with first-time buyers. However, it is worth noting that the cost of utilities and transportation is higher than California's average.

12. Chico

Chico is a college town as it is home to Chico State University. Like most college towns, it has plenty of amenities and a wide array of dining, entertainment, and leisure options. It is not far from the ocean, and there are forests surrounding the city, so it is popular with people who enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. Although the cost of healthcare and utilities is higher than the state average in this city, housing is some of the most affordable in California.

11. Oceanside

Property prices in Oceanside sit comfortably below the state average. The cost of living is also considerably lower, due to the low cost of transport, groceries, and utilities. Therefore, it is an area worth considering for those who want to live in an affordable part of California. The median household income in Oceanside is around $60 thousand, and there are plenty of employment opportunities in sales and manufacturing. This location offers a fabulous lifestyle, as there is a range of natural and cultural attractions to enjoy.

10. Eureka

On Q Financial lists Eureka as one of the most affordable places to live in California, as the average house price is less than $240 thousand. It is located on the coast just south of the Oregon border. The quaint town has a historic district and is surrounded by national forests. There are plenty of job opportunities, especially in the timber, healthcare, and tourism sectors.

9. Roseville

Compared to other cities in the United States, Roseville may not immediately seem like a cheap place to live. However, by California standards, it is an affordable area. While the median income is $72 thousand, the average price of a house or condo is $381 thousand. The cost of living is also lower than the state average. In this area, two of the biggest industries are construction and retail, and there is a low unemployment rate in this area. The area offers plenty of things to see and do, including shops, nature trails, theaters, art centers, and museums.

8. Redlands

Redlands is a large town that is less than two hundred miles from Los Angeles and close to San Bernardino. It has a small-town vibe, is close to mountains and natural parks, boasts an outdoor amphitheater, and has weekly farmers' markets. It also has plenty to keep you entertained, as there are shops, antique malls, restaurants, theaters, and various events taking place throughout the year. Although this town has a lot to offer, the cost of living index is 12 points lower than the state average. Likewise, the average house price is $344 thousand.

7. Clovis

Another area to consider if you are looking for an affordable place to live in California is Clovis, as it has a relatively low cost of living index for California. It also has some of the most affordable housing in the state, with the median price for a condo or house at just over $276 thousand. There are also many other reasons to consider living in this area, including the many job opportunities in the education, retail, and manufacturing sectors. Also, crime rates are below the national average, and there are plenty of activities and attractions to enjoy in this area.

6. San Bernardino

In terms of property prices, one of the cheapest areas of San Bernardino is Arrowhead, where average house prices are approximately $269 thousand. There is a lot going on in San Bernardino, so it is a fantastic option for people who want to enjoy a busy lifestyle. The city is home to restaurants serving cuisines from across the globe, great shopping options, cultural venues, and fun attractions. It also has a vibrant nightlife, and there are events and festivals taking place throughout the year. However, there is also a quieter side of the city, as it is surrounded by mountains, countryside, hot springs, and other natural features. Therefore, it is equally as popular with people who enjoy the outdoors as it is with those who prefer the urban lifestyle.

5. Loma Linda

While the cost of living index for California is 135, the cost of living index in Loma Linda is just 120. Not only are the house prices significantly lower than the average, but the cost of groceries and health care are also low. It is the ideal place to live for those who want to enjoy California's natural beauty without paying the high price tag that goes with the lifestyle. There is plenty to do in the outdoors, such as hilly areas to hike and nature preserves to explore. Linda Loma is also home to a university, so there is everything that you would expect to find in a college town, such as stores, a diverse range of restaurants, and entertainment venues.

4. Murrieta

Just 100 miles from Los Angeles, you will find Murrieta. Although the cost of living index and property prices are lower than the average for California, the median household income is higher than average at $75 thousand. This city has low unemployment rates, and there are many job opportunities, especially in the retail and manufacturing sectors. One of the best attractions in the city is the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, and there are many parks and ranches to enjoy. This city is also a great place for dining out, as there is a diverse range of eating establishments to enjoy.

3. Yuba City

The housing prices in Yuba City are some of the best in California, as the average price of a house or condo is just $234 thousand. The cost of living is also low, as the cost of groceries, utilities, and health care is significantly below the state average. There are approximately 65 thousand residents in this city, so it has a suburban feel. Yuba City offers a good lifestyle, as there are multiple activities and attractions to enjoy. One of the biggest employers in this city is the Sunsweet Growers Headquarters, which is the largest dried fruit processing plant in the world.

2. Oxnard

Located on the coast in Southern California, Oxnard has a population of approximately 200 thousand people. It is an affordable option for people who want to enjoy the beachside lifestyle, such as walking on the beach, kayaking, and surfing. Although the cost of housing is low compared to the state average, the median house price is still relatively high at around $400 thousand for a house or condo. However, the median household income is higher, and many aspects of the cost of living are lower. Therefore, the cost of living makes it one of the most affordable places to live. Beach lovers are drawn to this city, as are nature lovers as beautiful outdoor spots surround the city. Within the city, there are many museums and shopping venues to enjoy.

1. Avenal

According to The Financial World, the cheapest place to live in California is Avenal, which is located in Kings County. The cost of living index for California is 135, but the cost of living index in Avenal is just 95. The low cost of living is reflected across housing, groceries, health care, transport, and utilities. Despite the low cost of living, this city has a lot to offer, and it appeals to people of all ages. There are parks, a sports complex, nice outdoor spaces, shops, and places to eat. Another appealing feature of Avenal is that it boasts excellent public schools. Furthermore, there are plenty of employment opportunities in a variety of sectors.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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