affordable places california

The state of California has a lot to offer. There is plenty for everyone to love about the Golden State from its beautiful beaches and great weather. Unfortunately, affordability is often the most critical factor when it comes to choosing a place to live. However, there are so many places in California that people can choose from when looking for something affordable.

California is known for its abundance of wealth and opportunity, but not all Californians are millionaires with beachfront homes. The Golden State has a wide selection of affordable places to live – from cozy suburban neighborhoods to bustling city centers – that can be found at every corner of this great state. So whether you’re a recent college graduate looking for your first apartment or an established professional who wants to trade in their big house for something smaller, there is an option out there.

If you’re looking for something more than just sun and sand, then check out these best affordable places to live in California! Whether you want a large city like Los Angeles or San Francisco or something more rural like Redding or Santa Barbara, this list has it all. Read on below for some of the top places that are both fun and affordable.

1. Roseville

Located approximately 20 miles north of Sacramento, the city of Roseville is an affordable place to live that offers a little something for everyone. From its downtown district filled with shops and restaurants to its large Greenhaven neighborhood full of beautiful homes, Roseville is an excellent option for those looking to make a move.

Forbes listed it as one of America’s best small towns back in 2010 – not bad! The average home price here is around $300k, which means you can get plenty for your money. If you’re looking for an apartment instead, then be sure to check out California Treehouse, which offers spacious units for just under $1,000 per month.

2. Gilbert

With a population of just over 236,000 people, the city of Gilbert is one of the most significant affordable places to live in California. Located just southeast of Phoenix, Gilbert has all the amenities you would expect from a large city but without the inflated price tag.

For instance, it’s easy to find an apartment for around $1,000 per month here, no matter if you’re looking in downtown Gilbert or one of its suburbs. If you want more houses for your money, then there are plenty of great options here as well. Check out these homes under $200k, which are perfect for those new to buying real estate or seasoned investors looking to add another property to their portfolio.

3. San Mateo

Located just south of San Francisco, the city of San Mateo has plenty to offer those who are looking for something affordable. Unfortunately, the average home price here is about $795k, which means few but high-quality options are available.

And if you’re not ready to buy yet, don’t worry because renting is quite affordable. Indeed, according to Rent Jungle, monthly rents here go for around $2,500 per month, which makes it easy on the pocketbook every single month!

4. Santa Barbara

If you want a beachfront lifestyle without breaking the bank, then be sure to check out Santa Barbara. Located along California’s southern coast, this city is well known for its many upscale neighborhoods along with its picturesque views.

While Santa Barbara is home to some of the wealthiest people in the world, this city still has plenty of options for looking for something more affordable such as apartment complexes like Lazy Acres. With prices that range from $1,800 upwards to $3,000 per month depending on square footage and amenities, you can get a great unit in a prime location without spending your entire paycheck.

5. Redding

Located about three and half hours north of Sacramento by car, the city of Redding offers plenty to those who want it all without having to spend a fortune. For example, according to Apartment Guide, monthly rents here go for around $960, which means you can get a fantastic place to live without breaking the bank.

While there are not many apartments for rent, if you’re looking for a single-family home, then this city has plenty to offer at reasonable prices. Plus, since it is located in Northern California, it provides affordability while still having four distinct seasons, which increases its appeal even more! The average home here costs around $242k, according to Zillow.

6. San Jose

Located up in the northern part of the Bay Area, San Jose is one of the cheapest places to live in all of California. Its most significant selling point is that it’s only an hour away from both Santa Cruz and Monterey, which means you can drive down for a quick beach getaway or whale watching expedition whenever you feel like it.

According to Apartment Guide, the average monthly rent here is around $1,300, which means that you can get a great apartment or house for a fantastic price. And if you’re not ready to buy just yet, then don’t worry because there are plenty of apartment complexes available too! Instead, check out The Mark, which offers even more affordable prices at just over $1,000 per month.

7. Lancaster

Located in California’s high desert region and about an hour north of Los Angeles sits the city of Lancaster. Its low cost of living and cheap housing make it a popular choice for those looking for something different than what they would find in other parts of Southern California, such as San Francisco or Beverly Hills.

The average home in this city costs around $224k, which means you can find a great deal on single-family homes and apartments. For example, according to Rent Jungle, single-family rentals here average about $1,750 per month, with studio apartments renting for under $500 per month.

8. San Bernardino

Another affordable suburb of Los Angeles is the city of San Bernardino. Unfortunately, crime rates are pretty high here, which is why it’s not recommended to live here if safety is your priority when looking for a place to live.

However, if you’re okay with the risk, then there are plenty of options for buying and renting, making it one of the cheapest places in California to live. If you decide to buy a house, the average cost here is around $240k, which is quite affordable compared to other parts of California. For rentals, one-bedroom apartments go for an average of only $718 per month, while two bedrooms are closer to $850, which makes it easy on the pocketbook!

9. Yuba City

Located about forty minutes north of Sacramento sits the city of Yuba City. Its low crime rate and proximity to mountains and beaches make it a popular choice for those looking for something near Northern California but without being completely overrun with tourists or sky-high prices!

As far as rentals are concerned, these go for an average of around $1,000 per month, which makes it easy on the pocketbook no matter what your budget is! There’s also plenty of apartments available to choose from if you’re looking to rent instead. This one called The Cantina Apartments offers friendly studio units at an affordable price too.

10. Stockton

If you’re tired of living where everyone else does but don’t want to spend a fortune, then make sure to check out Stockton, which is located up Northern California near Sacramento. Its proximity to the Bay Area makes it an excellent place for commuters, and its low cost of living makes it attractive to those looking for something affordable.

According to Rent Range, the average rent here is around $1,000 per month, which means that you can find some cheap apartment complexes or move into a lovely home with your loved one without having to break the bank! Plus, if you decide later on that Stockton isn’t where you want to be, then there’s always an easy commute up to San Francisco, just in case!

11. Burbank

Located about forty minutes north of Los Angeles sits the city of Burbank. It’s a popular choice for those who want to stay close to L.A. without having to pay an arm and a leg for a lovely apartment or house! According to Area Vibes, this city’s crime rates are among some of the lowest in California, but its cost of living is just high enough to make it on the list as one of the cheapest places to live too! This place scores a 64, which means you get more bang for your buck here than any other place in Southern California!

It’s also home to many movie studios, including Walt Disney Studios so if you’re hoping to work in entertainment, then be sure to check out Burbank and see if there’s anything available for you to work in when it comes time to start applying!

12. San Leandro

San Leandro is another city located near San Francisco that has few crimes. However, it scores high enough when it comes to amenities, income, and housing that it still makes this list one of the cheapest places to live in California.

When it comes time for home prices here, you’ll find primarily condos and townhouses due to zoning restrictions, making them affordable yet versatile in their ability to be used as office space! As a result, it’s an excellent place for business owners and retirees who want something different from what they would find elsewhere in California, which means you don’t have to go far to find cheap housing!

13. El Monte

Located in between Los Angeles and San Bernardino is the city of El Monte, which is yet another reason why this area has fewer crimes than the rest. It’s a popular choice for working-class citizens who want to live somewhere safe but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg when it comes time to rent or buy!

For home prices here, you’ll mostly find townhouses with one-car garages that are about 1,200 square feet on average. That means that there are some lovely places to choose from if you’re looking to settle down here, whether it be with your family or co-workers!

14. Norwalk

Yet another great place to check out if you’re tired of the crime that’s inevitably associated with big cities and want to live somewhere where your family will be safe is Norwalk, located in Los Angeles County.

Home prices here start at around $500,000 and go on average about $1 million for larger homes, but some condo buildings are also available, depending on where you decide to live! Also, the schools here get excellent ratings, so it’s a good choice if you want your kids to grow up in a place where they can learn and play safely while still having access to entertainment and amenities.

15. Glendale

Glendale is only about 20 minutes outside of downtown Los Angeles, so it’s an easy commute if you want to live on the cheap without having to move too far! According to Area Vibes, this place scores 67 out of 100, which means you can get more for your money here than in any other city in California.

Home prices are also pretty great since they range from $500,000 to $1 million or more depending on how large you would like your house or apartment complex to be! It’s one of the cheaper places in California, but there are plenty of jobs available here too, so it makes for a good choice if you’re looking to make more money while living somewhere cheap at the same time!


I hope this list gave you some inspiration on where to look if you’re tired of paying high prices for living in California. As you can see, there are plenty of places for you to choose from, so all that’s left is for you to have the determination and bravery needed to move somewhere new. Good luck!

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