build houses in northern california

Northern California is home to some of the most beautiful places on Earth and has a wealth of natural and human resources that make it an optimal place to live. However, choosing where you want your new house to be built can be tricky with diverse geography from the coast to the high desert.

Northern California is a great place to live if you’re looking for space and affordability. The downside of the area is that the cost of living has been rising as more people move in from other parts of the country. However, there are still many places where you can find affordable housing.

In this article, we will go over 15 of the best places in Northern California for building a house with suggestions on what each community has to offer you!

1. Santa Cruz

Located in Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz may be smaller than some of its neighbors, but it is home to a great environment and community. The city itself has a population of around 60,000, and residents enjoy beautiful views and frequent sunny days. One of the main attractions in Santa Cruz is Pleasure Point, named after surfing, which is very popular among residents. Additionally, Santa Cruz boasts many higher education opportunities from U.C. Santa Cruz to Cabrillo College, plus two top-tier hospitals.

The median listing price for homes is $769,874. This is more than the U.S. average of $199,700 but less than some other areas in California like Silicon Valley, which has a median listing price of $1,027,000.

Building a house can be expensive, but it depends on what type of home you are making and your area. The cost to create an average three-bedroom, two-bath house ranges from $335,220 to $410,280, with prices varying depending on the size, lot size, and amenities you select for your new home.

2. Trinity County

Trinity County is located in the Klamath Mountains and has a population of 7,800 people. The county sees heavy rainfall throughout the year but does not experience much snowfall or humidity even though it’s close to Oregon. Trinity is also an excellent area for fishing and hunting, plus many of the locals partake in camping during the summer near Trinity Lake, which was created by a dam on Big River.

The median listing price for homes is $217,975. This is less than some other places in California, like Santa Cruz, where prices are slightly higher, or San Francisco, where home prices skyrocket into the million-dollar range depending on amenities and location. However, if you’re building your own house outside these cities, it can be just as expensive and challenging to afford.

The cost to build an average three-bedroom, two-bath house ranges from $175,982 to $294,960, with prices varying depending on the size, lot size, and amenities you select for your new home.

3. Napa County

Napa County is located in northern California and includes a portion of the famous Napa Valley, part of commercial wine production since the mid-1800s. However, vineyards have been around since Spanish missionaries first introduced grapevines into the 18th century.

Today, wineries are a big tourist attraction because their wine frequently earns awards at prestigious events, plus there are several festivals held throughout the year where locals celebrate “California Wine.” Although many people visit Napa County for the wine and the beautiful scenery, the cost of living is low, and there are many different kinds of housing that you can choose from.

The median listing price for homes is $789,806, more than some other areas in California like Santa Cruz but less than San Francisco, where home prices skyrocket into the millions depending on amenities and location.

Building a house can be expensive, but it depends on what type of home you are making and where you want to build it. The cost to create an average three-bedroom, two-bath house ranges from $386,898 to $499,400, with prices varying depending on the size, lot size, and amenities you select for your new home.

4. Kings County

Kings County is known as an agricultural area close to Hanford, which used to be a small town that was turned into a hub for nuclear energy after being selected by the U.S. Government during World War II to build a power plant in 1942. A decade later, the B Reactor became the first full-scale nuclear reactor based on CP-1, part of the Manhattan Project, where atomic bombs were developed and tested during WWII.

The median listing price for homes is $270,873, which is less than some other places in California like Santa Cruz or Napa, where prices are slightly higher, or San Francisco, where home prices skyrocket into the million-dollar range depending on amenities and location. However, if you’re building your own house outside these cities, it can be just as expensive and challenging to afford.

The cost to build an average three-bedroom, two-bath house ranges from $252,607 to $330,736, with prices varying depending on the size, lot size, and amenities you select for your new home.

5. Amador County

Amador County is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills in central California, where many of its residents commute to work in San Francisco or Sacramento but still want to enjoy the beautiful scenery that the county has to offer, like wine tasting at vineyards that are open year-round plus outdoor activities like hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking which are all popular during warm summer evenings within a private community.

The median listing price for homes is $390,000, more than some other places in California like Santa Cruz or Napa but less than San Francisco, where home prices skyrocket into the millions depending on amenities and location. However, if you’re building your own house outside these cities, it can be just as expensive and challenging to afford.

Building a house can be expensive, but it depends on what type of home you are making and where you want to build it. The cost to create an average three-bedroom, two-bath house ranges from $346,906 to $445,952, with prices varying depending on the size, lot size, and amenities you select for your new home.

6. Kings County

Kings County is known as an agricultural area close to Hanford, which used to be a small town that was turned into a hub for nuclear energy after being selected by the U.S. Government during World War II to build a power plant in 1942. A decade later, the B Reactor became the first full-scale nuclear reactor based on CP-1, part of the Manhattan Project, where atomic bombs were developed and tested during WWII.

The median listing price for homes is $270,873, which is less than some other places in California like Santa Cruz or Napa, where prices are slightly higher, or San Francisco, where home prices skyrocket into the million-dollar range depending on amenities and location.

The cost to build an average three-bedroom, two-bath house ranges from $252,607 to $330,736, with prices varying depending on the size, lot size, and amenities you select for your new home.

7. Tehama County

Tehama County is located in northern California between Sacramento and Redding along the I-5 corridor where many residents that live here commute to work or school where they could be studying at one of several colleges or universities, including Chico State University, which is known for its beauty and historical buildings like the Beaux-Arts architecture used by early administrators at Chico State and throughout downtown. The county seat is also known locally as the Court House Square, where the county’s administration offices are located.

The median listing price for homes is $390,000, more than some other places in California like Santa Cruz or Napa but less than San Francisco, where home prices skyrocket into the millions depending on amenities and location. 

Building a house can be expensive, but it depends on what type of home you are making and where you want to build it. The cost to create an average three-bedroom, two-bath house ranges from $346,906 to $445,952, with prices varying depending on the size, lot size, and amenities you select for your new home.

8. Merced County

The median listing price for homes is $270,873, which is less than some other places in California like Santa Cruz or Napa, where prices are slightly higher, or San Francisco, where home prices skyrocket into the million-dollar range depending on amenities and location. 

Building a house can be expensive, but it depends on what type of home you are making and where you want to build it. The cost to create an average three-bedroom, two-bath house ranges from $252,607 to $330,736, with prices varying depending on the size, lot size, and amenities you select for your new home.

9. Del Norte County

Del Norte County is a rural county located along the Pacific Coast between Humboldt and Mendocino on the Lost Coast, known as one of California’s roughest stretches of coastline due to rough seas and substantial winds cliffs, and fog. The first Europeans arrived here with Russian fur traders coming from Alaska, but they couldn’t settle due to the fierce weather at the time. However, by 1850 more Europeans came here from Mexico attracted by gold, which brought around 1000 people who settled near Fort Humboldt and moved inland. Their remains can still be seen today, including one found during a construction excavation in 2010.

The median listing price for homes is $424,811, which is less than some other places in California like Santa Cruz or Napa, where prices are slightly higher, or San Francisco, where home prices skyrocket into the million-dollar range depending on amenities and location. 

Building a house can be expensive, but it depends on what type of home you are making and where you want to build it. The cost to build an average three-bedroom, two-bath house ranges from $396,935 to $502,746, with prices varying depending on the size, lot size, and amenities you select for your new home.

10. Nevada County

Nevada County is located just east of Lake Tahoe between Sacramento and Reno, making it ideal for people who want the best of both worlds. The county seat is Nevada City, named by Brigham Young, who said the tall mountains reminded him of the silver mines in Mexico during its early settlement days.

The median listing price for homes is $714,920, which can fluctuate depending on amenities and location within the city. For example, if you build your new home in Railroad Flat, it’s cheaper than building near Sierra College, where prices are higher due to more amenities like better schools, larger homes, and expensive lots. Building a house can be costly, but it depends on what type of home you are building and where you want to build it.

The cost to build an average three-bedroom, two-bath house ranges from $572,835 to $773,333, with costs varying depending on the size, lot size, and amenities you select for your new home.

11. Siskiyou County

Siskiyou County is located in the Shasta Cascade region of Northern California, just north of Mount Shasta, right next to Oregon and four national forests. It’s one of the largest counties in California, which is about 50% forest land and consists of 5 significant watersheds with over a hundred lakes and over 260 miles of rivers flowing through the county.

This means there are many natural resources here, which is excellent if you like camping, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities. But, if you’re looking for a place that has all those things, then look no further because this county has got it!

The median listing price for homes is $624,597, which is lower than other counties in Northern California, so it’s a decent place to start if you have a smaller budget. Building a house can be expensive, but it depends on what type of home you are building and where you want to build it.

The cost to build an average three-bedroom, two-bath house ranges from $536,563 to $664,363, with costs varying depending on the size, lot size, and amenities you select for your new home.

12. Lake County

Lake County is located North East of Napa Valley between San Francisco Bay and the Greater Sacramento area, bordering Mendocino County and Sonoma County. It consists of 10 reservoirs that store around 150 billion gallons of water (about half the average L.A. reservoir).

The median listing price for homes is $423,000, which can fluctuate depending on amenities and location within the city. For example, if you build your new home in Lakeport, it’s cheaper than building near Kelseyville, where prices are higher due to more amenities like better schools, larger homes, and expensive lots. Building a house can be costly, but it depends on what type of home you are building and where you want to build it.

The cost to build an average three-bedroom, two-bath house ranges from $358,898 to $507,167, with costs varying depending on the size, lot size, and amenities you select for your new home.

13. El Dorado County

El Dorado County is located just west of the central valley and consists of 14 historic towns founded in 1849 when gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill. Some notable attractions in this county are Mount Tallac, Rubicon Bay, The Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park, and The Big Trees, which inspired the movie “Ten Commandments.”

The median listing price for homes is $948,000, which can fluctuate depending on amenities and location within the city. For example, building your new home in Golsville is cheaper than building near South Lake Tahoe, where prices are higher due to more amenities like better schools and larger and expensive lots. Building a house can be costly, but it depends on what type of home you are building and where you want to build it.

The cost to build an average three-bedroom, two-bath house ranges from $741,275 to $923,050, with costs varying depending on the size, lot size, and amenities you select for your new home.

14. Shasta County

Shasta county is located about 2 hours East of Sacramento, right above Redding, which has a population of over 100,000 residents and is the largest city in Northern California. The average temperature here ranges from 59 to 80 degrees, so it never gets cold enough for snowfall. Still, there are plenty of lakes where you can go water skiing, kayaking, fishing, boating, and other outdoor activities.

If you’re looking for job opportunities, this is a great place to consider moving because the economy seems promising with many construction projects going on around town.

The median listing price for homes is $625,283, which can fluctuate depending on amenities and location within the city. For example, if you build your new home in Redding, it’s cheaper than building near Fall River Mills, where prices are higher due to more amenities like better schools, larger homes, and expensive lots. Building a house can be costly, but it depends on what type of home you are building and where you want to build it.

The cost to build an average three-bedroom, two-bath house ranges from $500,000 to $625,364, with costs varying depending on the size, lot size, and amenities you select for your new home.

15. Marin County

Marin County is located just north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge and consists of 22 cities with an array of things to do, such as bike trails, hiking, kayaking, shopping, theaters, and restaurants.

The median listing price for homes is $1,225,467, which can fluctuate depending on amenities and location within the city. For example, if you build your new home in San Rafael, it’s cheaper than building near Tiburon, where prices are higher due to more amenities like better schools, larger homes, and expensive lots. Building a house can be costly, but it depends on what type of home you are building and where you want to build it.

The cost to build an average three-bedroom, two-bath house ranges from $949,492 to $1,125,540, with costs varying depending on the size, lot size, and amenities you select for your new home.

Conclusion

Living in a lovely home would be every person’s dream, and it doesn’t have to cost millions of dollars because I’ve found 15 counties in California where you can build your dream house.

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