These Are The 10 Best Places To Buy A House In California For 2019

Using science and data, we can tell you which places in California have seen home prices rising and people flocking over the past year.

Editor’s note: This is not investment advice and we are not financial advisers. Article updated for 2019.

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.

There’s a the age old question everyone thinks about when they decide to move to a city in California:

Should I buy a place or rent?

Well, we aren’t here today to solve that problem for you exactly. We are just assuming you’ll do the right thing and a buy a place 😉

And while we are happy to tell you the best place to live in California, this analysis is going to tackle the question of the best place to buy a house as an investor. That is we are going to try and determine the up and coming cities in the Golden State.

To do that we are going to look at places in California that are growing faster than average, but where home prices are below average. In every day terms, the “deals”.

The best deal in California at the moment? That would be Dos Palos according to our analysis.

Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in California for 2019:

  1. Dos Palos (Homes For Sale)
  2. Adelanto (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Calimesa (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Firebaugh (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. San Pablo (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Lathrop (Homes For Sale)
  7. Los Banos (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Arvin (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Lake Elsinore (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Perris (Photos | Homes For Sale)

The methodology that wen’t into this can be a bit complicated, so we’ll break it down for you in as much detail as we can below.

If you’re not worried about finding a deal on good places to live, check out the most expensive places to live in California and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in California.

For more California reading, check out:

How do you determine the best places to buy a home in California for 2019?

We were in real estate for almost five years and have been working on this site for another three. Suffice is to say, we’ve put a lot of thought into what goes into finding a good place to buy a home.

So all that thinking has come to this moment where we get to spell out how we’d approach finding an up-and-coming place to live in California. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in California with undervalued homes relative to pent up demand.

To do that we looked at the most recent American Community Survey Census data for 2013-2017 and compared it to the previous vintage (2012-2016). Specifically, we used the following criteria:

  • Y-o-Y Change In Population (People want to live here)
  • Y-o-Y Change In Median Home Prices (People are willing to pay for it)
  • Home Prices Relative To The State Average (It’s still kinda cheap)

We want places that are growing, have seen home prices increase in recent years, and are still “cheap” for California with the following caveats:

So of the 1,481 cities and towns in California, only 427 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.

We then ranked each place from 1 to 427 for the criteria mentioned above with 1 being the best for that criteria. We averaged the rankings to create a “best place to buy” index with the place having the lowest index being the best.

Turns out that Dos Palos is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Golden State.

Read on for more on these places.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,186
Median Home Price: $134,000
Population Change: 1.6%
Home Price Change: 33.9%
More on Dos Palos: Homes For Sale | Data

In one of his expeditions along the westside of the San Joaquin Valley, explorer Gabriel Moraga reported the location of two large isolated poplar trees, which he called “Dos Palos.” In 19th Century Spanish usage, “palos” was used to describe tall pole-like trees or “timbers”. 21st century usage often translates it as “sticks.” The “Rancho Sanjon de Santa Rita” Mexican Land Grant cites “Los Dos Palos” or “The Two Trees” as a boundary marker. In 1891, former school superintendent Bernhard Marks convinced cattle ranch king Henry Miller to develop a small town nearby. They gave it the name “Dos Palos Colony” but pronounced it with their Alsatian German accent as “Dahce Palace.” This pronunciation remained for over one hundred years until a recent Spanish pronunciation revival. Marks brought forty pioneer families west from Iowa and Nebraska to establish the community. In 1892, unable to find good water, many of the settlers left. Marks convinced Miller to establish another town two miles away on land unsuitable for farming and ranching due to swamps and unsettling soils. Some of the settlers relocated. This new town was named Colony Center, California. In 1906, Dos Palos Colony was renamed South Dos Palos and Colony Center was renamed Dos Palos. The Post Office was briefly misspelled as one word, “Dospalos” but this was changed within a year. About a dozen of the colony’s original families still reside locally. Through the years, people from many other locations joined the community. Dos Palos incorporated in 1935.

Adelanto, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 32,867
Median Home Price: $151,600
Population Change: 1.7%
Home Price Change: 16.7%
More on Adelanto: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Adelanto was founded in 1915 by E. H. Richardson, the inventor of what became the Hotpoint electric iron. He sold his patent and purchased land for $75,000. He had planned to develop one of the first planned communities in Southern California.

Calimesa, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,517
Median Home Price: $196,900
Population Change: 1.6%
Home Price Change: 16.7%
More on Calimesa: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

The City of Calimesa was incorporated on December 1, 1990, soon after the incorporation of its northern neighbor, the City of Yucaipa. Prior to its incorporation, the City of Calimesa existed as an unincorporated census designated town that straddled the Riverside-San Bernardino County line at the location where Interstate 10 climbs the San Gorgonio Pass going eastward from Redlands, California.

Firebaugh, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,275
Median Home Price: $150,700
Population Change: 1.2%
Home Price Change: 23.1%
More on Firebaugh: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

The city is named for Andrew D. Firebaugh, an area entrepreneur. During the Gold Rush, Firebaugh’s most famous local enterprise was a ferry boat. It shuttled people across the San Joaquin River. He also built a toll road from Bell Station to Pacheco Pass. The toll road went along a route parallel to present-day State Route 152.

San Pablo, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 30,720
Median Home Price: $270,400
Population Change: 2.4%
Home Price Change: 22.1%
More on San Pablo: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

The area in which today’s San Pablo is situated was originally occupied by the Cuchiyun band of the Ohlone indigenous people. The area was claimed for the king of Spain in the late 18th century and was granted for grazing purposes to the Mission Dolores located in today’s San Francisco. Upon Mexico’s independence from Spain, church properties were secularized and in 1823, the area became part of a large grant to an ex-soldier stationed at the San Francisco Presidio, Francisco Mara Castro. The grant was given the name Rancho San Pablo, thus originating the name for today’s city as well as for one of the East Bay’s oldest principal roads, today’s San Pablo Avenue.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 21,050
Median Home Price: $292,900
Population Change: 3.5%
Home Price Change: 17.0%
More on Lathrop: Homes For Sale | Data

Lathrop was platted when the railroad was extended to that point. A post office has been in operation at Lathrop since 1871. The city was named for the maiden name of the wife of Leland Stanford. In September 1869, four months after the railheads of the transcontinental railroad met at Promontory, Utah, the completion of the San Joaquin River Bridge at Mossdale crossing at Lathrop actually completed the west coast link.

Los Banos, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 37,559
Median Home Price: $226,700
Population Change: 1.5%
Home Price Change: 26.3%
More on Los Banos: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Arvin, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 20,826
Median Home Price: $132,300
Population Change: 1.3%
Home Price Change: 13.2%
More on Arvin: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Property sales of lots in present-day Arvin began in 1906. The Arvin Post Office was established in 1914 and the community incorporated as a city in 1960. The city was named after Arvin Richardson, who was the son of one of the original settling families from San Bernardino. Birdie Heard petitioned for the addition of the post office in 1914 and submitted proposed names including Bear Mountain, Walnut, and Arvin. Officials in Washington D.C. chose Arvin as it was the only proposed name which was not already in use in California. Birdie was the city’s first postmaster. She set up the post office in her living room originally, but it was later moved to the general store owned by the Staples family. The in-store post office was also the area’s first informal library until an official branch of the Kern County Library system was established in 1927.

Lake Elsinore, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 62,229
Median Home Price: $306,400
Population Change: 3.3%
Home Price Change: 18.0%
More on Lake Elsinore: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Native Americans have long lived in the Elsinore Valley. The Luiseo people were the earliest known inhabitants. Their pictographs can be found on rocks on the Santa Ana Mountains and in Temescal Valley, and artifacts have been found all around Lake Elsinore and in the local canyons and hills.

Perris, CA

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 75,011
Median Home Price: $239,800
Population Change: 1.8%
Home Price Change: 13.4%
More on Perris: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

The Perris Valley was actively settled in the 1880s, a boom period for Southern California. Prior to 1880, the land was used for pastures. The coming of the California Southern Railroad led to the founding of the city around the new depot. The California Southern was built through the future town site in 1882 to open a rail connection between the present day cities of Barstow and San Diego. Due to a land title dispute at Pinacate, most of its citizens moved two miles north on the railroad and established Perris in 1885. The city is named in honor of Fred T. Perris, chief engineer of the California Southern Railroad. The city of Perris was incorporated in 1911. It originally was part of San Diego County, but in 1892 was transferred to the newly established Riverside County.|Perris now incorporates Pinacate Station which is the home of the Orange Empire Railway Museum – the largest operating museum of its kind on the West Coast of the United States.

There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In California for 2019

There’s our analysis of the best places to buy a house in California. And, to be clear, we aren’t necessarily saying these places are the best places to live, just that it looks like they might be in a couple of years based on the data.

In fact, every place in the following table meets our criteria, so even though it may not look super long, remember we started off with all 0 places in the state.

So if we’d could rent or buy in these cities, we’d definitely buy.

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In California

City Rank Median Home Price Population Change Home Price Increase
Dos Palos 1 $134,000 1.6% 33.9%
Adelanto 2 $151,600 1.7% 16.7%
Calimesa 3 $196,900 1.6% 16.7%
Firebaugh 4 $150,700 1.2% 23.1%
San Pablo 5 $270,400 2.4% 22.1%
Lathrop 6 $292,900 3.5% 17.0%
Los Banos 7 $226,700 1.5% 26.3%
Arvin 8 $132,300 1.3% 13.2%
Lake Elsinore 9 $306,400 3.3% 18.0%
Perris 10 $239,800 1.8% 13.4%
Manteca 11 $319,600 2.4% 16.6%
Menifee 12 $278,300 2.2% 13.7%
Mcfarland 13 $149,200 4.0% 9.1%
San Jacinto 14 $188,200 1.2% 17.8%
Patterson 15 $258,600 1.4% 19.4%
Coachella 16 $183,800 1.3% 13.9%
Wildomar 17 $308,100 2.1% 15.4%
Pittsburg 18 $324,500 2.1% 15.5%
Rancho Cordova 19 $251,500 1.9% 12.6%
Hemet 20 $157,500 1.0% 13.0%
Woodlake 21 $141,300 0.8% 16.5%
Galt 22 $270,300 1.5% 13.1%
Fowler 23 $222,300 1.9% 10.6%
Jurupa Valley 24 $308,900 1.5% 14.1%
Stockton 25 $220,600 1.0% 15.5%
Beaumont 26 $275,200 3.4% 9.9%
Ceres 27 $218,300 0.9% 21.1%
Hanford 28 $192,900 1.3% 10.7%
Greenfield 29 $260,200 1.1% 13.0%
Riverbank 30 $247,200 1.2% 12.5%
Waterford 31 $191,600 0.9% 13.6%
Winters 32 $326,800 1.2% 15.2%
Fairfield 33 $341,500 1.7% 11.8%
California City 34 $102,000 1.0% 9.7%
Tracy 35 $378,900 1.4% 14.0%
Antioch 36 $330,900 1.2% 13.6%
Cathedral City 37 $232,400 0.9% 14.0%
Dixon 38 $331,800 1.8% 10.4%
Turlock 39 $267,100 1.0% 11.9%
West Sacramento 40 $304,600 1.6% 10.2%
Emeryville 41 $441,900 3.7% 11.3%
Shafter 42 $163,700 3.6% 6.6%
Fresno 43 $206,800 1.0% 10.3%
Modesto 44 $236,200 0.8% 13.6%
Oakley 45 $356,000 2.5% 9.9%
Brentwood 46 $482,600 3.3% 12.6%
Atwater 47 $179,400 0.7% 12.0%
Imperial 48 $209,200 2.1% 7.7%
Placerville 49 $298,900 1.3% 10.3%
Hayward 50 $462,000 1.6% 14.2%
Sacramento 51 $287,600 1.1% 10.9%
Rio Vista 52 $290,900 3.7% 8.1%
Suisun City 53 $293,100 0.8% 14.6%
Vallejo 54 $295,600 0.8% 16.3%
Hesperia 55 $199,200 0.6% 15.3%
Citrus Heights 56 $246,600 0.8% 13.0%
Escalon 57 $289,700 0.9% 12.8%
Elk Grove 58 $349,500 1.6% 10.1%
Lindsay 59 $133,400 0.9% 9.1%
Madera 60 $180,400 1.0% 8.9%
Rocklin 61 $421,700 2.0% 10.7%
Santa Clarita 62 $461,500 16.2% 10.6%
Moreno Valley 63 $260,600 0.8% 12.6%
Clovis 64 $284,200 2.2% 7.9%
Gonzales 65 $323,400 0.7% 27.5%
Tulare 66 $177,500 1.0% 8.8%
Woodland 67 $316,500 1.3% 9.8%
Chino 68 $400,900 2.3% 9.7%
Indio 69 $247,900 1.7% 7.6%
Vacaville 70 $354,600 1.4% 9.9%
Colton 71 $212,100 0.6% 11.9%
Visalia 72 $207,400 1.0% 8.9%
Marina 73 $431,800 2.0% 10.0%
Palm Springs 74 $340,600 0.9% 12.4%
Red Bluff 75 $158,000 0.3% 13.0%
Banning 76 $197,500 0.6% 11.6%
Newman 77 $171,000 1.3% 7.1%
Fontana 78 $323,300 0.9% 11.7%
Riverside 79 $319,200 0.9% 11.4%
Apple Valley 80 $215,800 0.6% 11.2%
Marysville 81 $161,600 0.4% 11.3%
Temecula 82 $394,600 1.6% 9.5%
Buellton 83 $458,600 1.3% 11.8%
San Bernardino 84 $202,100 0.3% 14.3%
Yucaipa 85 $275,600 0.5% 14.0%
Livingston 86 $187,500 0.9% 8.3%
Gilroy 87 $583,900 3.0% 10.4%
Roseville 88 $386,300 1.9% 8.5%
Mendota 89 $139,000 0.0% 21.4%
Calexico 90 $182,900 0.5% 10.6%
Lancaster 91 $213,100 0.3% 14.6%
Santa Fe Springs 92 $409,200 1.3% 10.2%
San Marcos 93 $455,700 2.2% 9.0%
Calipatria 94 $114,000 -1.1% 22.3%
Newark 95 $607,200 2.0% 10.8%
Oakland 96 $564,500 1.3% 12.8%
Mammoth Lakes 97 $384,500 0.7% 15.1%
Victorville 98 $177,600 0.3% 11.8%
Fillmore 99 $354,900 0.9% 10.7%
Ontario 100 $320,000 1.0% 9.2%

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *