These Are The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In California For 2019


We used science and data to determine which cities in California that will put a big dent in your wallet.

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the most expensive places to live in California.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and California does this very well. Families love the Golden State’s beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state — and that’s how we’re going to help you.

These are the places in California that cost a pretty penny — the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in California for 2019.

So where is the most expensive place to live in California? That would be San Marino.

Here are the 10 most expensive places to live in California for 2019:

  1. San Marino (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Rolling Hills Estates (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Villa Park (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Foster City (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Irvine (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Calabasas (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Walnut (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. San Juan Capistrano (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Dana Point (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Cerritos (Photos | Homes For Sale)

So hopefully Holtville (the cheapest place to live in California) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about California and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In California For 2019

San Marino, CA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 13,331
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 10.2x (30th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 43.6x (92nd most expensive)
More on San Marino: Real Estate | Data | Photos

San Marino is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Incorporated on April 12, 1913, the city was designed by its founders to be uniquely residential, with expansive properties surrounded by beautiful gardens, wide streets, and well maintained parkways. The city is located in the San Rafael Hills. The population was 13,147 at the 2010 census.

The median income in San Marino comes in at $152,527 and the median home value is $1,550,100 for 2019.

Rolling Hills Estates, CA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 8,229
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 8.8x (70th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 41.7x (60th most expensive)
More on Rolling Hills Estates: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Rolling Hills Estates is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 8,067 at the 2010 census, up from 7,676 at the 2000 census.

The median income in Rolling Hills Estates comes in at $131,471 and the median home value is $1,153,700 for 2019.

Villa Park, CA

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 5,935
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.6x (130th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 40.8x (50th most expensive)
More on Villa Park: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Villa Park is a city in Orange County, California, United States. It was incorporated in 1962. As of the 2010 Census, the city had a population of 5,812, the lowest population for a city in Orange County.

The median income in Villa Park comes in at $142,628 and the median home value is $1,077,600 for 2019.

Foster City, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 33,529
Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 10)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.7x (122nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.4x (199th most expensive)
More on Foster City: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Foster City is a planned city located in San Mateo County, California. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 30,567. Foster City is sometimes considered to be part of Silicon Valley for its local industry and its proximity to Silicon Valley cities. Foster City is one of the nation’s safest cities, with an average of one murder per decade.

The median income in Foster City comes in at $136,383 and the median home value is $1,051,000 for 2019.

Irvine, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 256,877
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.9x (116th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 45.2x (130th most expensive)
More on Irvine: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Irvine (/rvan/ UR-vyn) is a master-planned city in Orange County, California, United States. The Irvine Company started developing the area in the 1960s and the city was formally incorporated on December 28, 1971. The 66-square-mile (170 km2) city had a population of 212,375 as of the 2010 census; in 2016 the city’s population was 258,386.

The median income in Irvine comes in at $95,573 and the median home value is $753,400 for 2019.

Calabasas, CA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 24,169
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 8.6x (78th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 49.9x (212th most expensive)
More on Calabasas: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Calabasas is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, located in the hills west of the San Fernando Valley and in the northwest Santa Monica Mountains between Woodland Hills, Agoura Hills, West Hills, Hidden Hills, and Malibu, California. As of the 2010 census, the city’s population was 23,058, up from 20,033 at the 2000 census. The city was formally incorporated in 1991.

The median income in Calabasas comes in at $114,143 and the median home value is $976,300 for 2019.

Walnut, CA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 30,062
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.2x (149th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 45.5x (132nd most expensive)
More on Walnut: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Walnut is a suburban city in the eastern part of Los Angeles County in California. Money’s Best Places to Live ranked Walnut #70 in 2009 and #57 in 2011, the highest ranking for a Californian city both years.

The median income in Walnut comes in at $98,329 and the median home value is $703,800 for 2019.

San Juan Capistrano, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 35,948
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 8)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.8x (119th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 43.3x (83rd most expensive)
More on San Juan Capistrano: Real Estate | Data | Photos

San Juan Capistrano (/sæn wn kæpstrno/; Spanish: [sa xwa kapistano]) is a city in Orange County, California, United States. The current OMB metropolitan designation for San Juan Capistrano and the Orange County Area is “Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA.” The population was 34,593 at the 2010 census, up from 33,826 at the 2000 census. The city was created around Mission San Juan Capistrano, and many of the homes and strip malls resemble the Spanish architecture that composes the building. It is home to the widest variety of homes in Orange County, including those built prior to 1900, in its central district (some being adobes from the 18th century). San Juan Capistrano formerly hosted a population of cliff swallows that migrate each year from Argentina to the Mission San Juan Capistrano.

The median income in San Juan Capistrano comes in at $81,730 and the median home value is $635,100 for 2019.

Dana Point, CA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 34,028
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 9.2x (54th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.5x (143rd most expensive)
More on Dana Point: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Dana Point is a city located in southern Orange County, California. The population was 33,351 at the 2010 census. It has one of the few harbors along the Orange County coast, and with ready access via State Route 1, it is a popular local destination for surfing.

The median income in Dana Point comes in at $90,310 and the median home value is $833,800 for 2019.

Cerritos, CA

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 50,145
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.5x (189th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 44.7x (116th most expensive)
More on Cerritos: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Cerritos (Spanish for little hills), formerly named Dairy Valley because of the preponderance of dairy farms in the area, is a suburban city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, and is one of several cities that constitute the Gateway Cities of southeast Los Angeles County. It was incorporated on April 24, 1956. As of the 2010 census, the population was 49,041. It is part of the Los Angeles–Long Beach–Anaheim, California Metropolitan Statistical Area designated by the Office of Management and Budget.

The median income in Cerritos comes in at $98,953 and the median home value is $638,600 for 2019.

HHow We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Golden State For 2019

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In California
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it’s actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2013-2017 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in California to figure out which is the most expensive.

What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 427 places in California that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in California according to the data is San Marino.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In California For 2019

Well there you have it, the places in California that have the highest cost of living, with San Marino ranking as the most expensive city in the Golden State.

Here’s a look at the most affordable cities in California according to the data:

  1. Holtville
  2. Firebaugh
  3. Blythe

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In California

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 San Marino 52.33 13,331 10.2x 43.6x
2 Rolling Hills Estates 56.0 8,229 8.8x 41.7x
3 Villa Park 65.67 5,935 7.6x 40.8x
4 Foster City 115.0 33,529 7.7x 49.4x
5 Irvine 119.67 256,877 7.9x 45.2x
6 Calabasas 122.0 24,169 8.6x 49.9x
7 Walnut 122.67 30,062 7.2x 45.5x
8 San Juan Capistrano 122.67 35,948 7.8x 43.3x
9 Dana Point 123.67 34,028 9.2x 46.5x
10 Cerritos 124.33 50,145 6.5x 44.7x
11 Carpinteria 127.33 13,593 8.8x 39.6x
12 San Bruno 131.0 43,105 8.0x 47.4x
13 Daly City 133.33 106,480 7.5x 45.5x
14 Costa Mesa 133.33 112,930 8.9x 43.6x
15 Capitola 133.67 10,158 8.5x 40.9x
16 Rancho Palos Verdes 133.67 42,463 8.4x 52.1x
17 Cupertino 135.0 60,687 8.9x 54.2x
18 Goleta 136.0 30,847 8.2x 47.3x
19 Tustin 137.67 80,007 8.0x 43.4x
20 Sonoma 139.0 11,014 8.9x 45.1x
21 East Palo Alto 139.67 29,646 10.2x 36.4x
22 Fountain Valley 140.67 56,640 7.6x 47.3x
23 San Mateo 141.0 103,500 8.9x 50.7x
24 Ojai 141.67 7,594 9.4x 43.0x
25 Walnut Creek 144.0 68,516 8.1x 48.2x
26 Laguna Niguel 144.0 65,429 7.4x 49.5x
27 Novato 146.0 55,378 7.5x 48.2x
28 Santa Cruz 146.0 63,993 11.5x 40.0x
29 Los Alamitos 146.33 11,639 9.3x 47.2x
30 Redwood City 148.33 84,368 10.3x 50.6x
31 San Luis Obispo 148.67 46,997 11.9x 35.4x
32 Millbrae 149.0 22,738 10.3x 52.3x
33 Culver City 149.33 39,432 8.5x 49.5x
34 Emeryville 149.33 11,524 5.0x 43.5x
35 Coronado 149.33 24,053 14.3x 42.1x
36 Westminster 149.67 91,785 9.5x 40.3x
37 Pacifica 150.33 39,141 6.9x 50.7x
38 Eastvale 150.67 59,733 4.5x 43.8x
39 Arcata 150.67 17,814 10.9x 32.9x
40 Monterey 151.33 28,671 9.4x 45.5x
41 Seaside 152.33 34,259 7.2x 36.1x
42 Oceanside 152.33 174,811 6.8x 40.0x
43 Diamond Bar 153.0 56,600 6.5x 48.9x
44 Santa Clara 153.0 124,635 7.7x 51.8x
45 San Rafael 153.67 59,180 9.5x 50.0x
46 Palos Verdes Estates 153.67 13,591 9.1x 63.4x
47 La Habra Heights 153.67 5,425 7.8x 52.4x
48 Los Altos 154.67 30,527 9.6x 72.1x
49 Corte Madera 155.33 9,811 8.5x 57.4x
50 Saratoga 156.0 31,013 11.2x 72.2x
51 Sausalito 157.0 7,147 10.8x 52.5x
52 Albany 157.0 19,682 8.7x 50.4x
53 Seal Beach 157.0 24,510 5.2x 37.2x
54 Burbank 157.33 104,765 9.3x 44.9x
55 Glendale 157.33 199,750 11.5x 41.0x
56 Scotts Valley 157.33 11,892 7.1x 50.7x
57 Solana Beach 158.33 13,362 10.6x 52.2x
58 Sunnyvale 159.67 151,565 8.2x 55.1x
59 Huntington Beach 160.0 200,415 7.8x 50.4x
60 Rosemead 160.33 54,615 9.8x 40.6x
61 Los Angeles 161.0 3,949,776 10.1x 41.9x
62 Agoura Hills 161.33 20,736 6.4x 51.6x
63 Mountain View 161.67 80,076 9.0x 57.2x
64 Artesia 161.67 16,853 7.0x 42.6x
65 Manhattan Beach 162.0 35,698 11.4x 62.2x
66 West Hollywood 162.33 36,148 10.3x 44.6x
67 El Monte 162.67 115,958 9.2x 37.5x
68 Bell Gardens 163.67 42,845 8.9x 33.8x
69 Imperial Beach 163.67 27,270 8.7x 39.4x
70 San Gabriel 164.0 40,315 11.2x 42.0x
71 Larkspur 164.0 12,367 12.4x 48.1x
72 Port Hueneme 164.0 22,262 5.5x 40.7x
73 Santa Ana 164.5 334,493 7.4x 40.4x
74 Mill Valley 164.67 14,392 8.8x 64.1x
75 Pacific Grove 165.0 15,617 9.5x 50.3x
76 Brentwood 165.33 58,828 5.0x 47.6x
77 Rohnert Park 165.33 42,305 6.0x 40.8x
78 Vista 165.33 99,496 7.1x 41.5x
79 Anaheim 165.67 349,007 7.5x 44.5x
80 Maywood 165.67 27,700 9.4x 37.5x
81 Huntington Park 165.67 58,993 9.4x 38.7x
82 Alhambra 166.33 85,168 10.0x 43.1x
83 Piedmont 166.67 11,296 8.5x 69.2x
84 Hermosa Beach 166.67 19,750 9.8x 61.4x
85 Pismo Beach 167.0 8,060 8.5x 49.7x
86 South El Monte 167.33 20,712 8.7x 37.6x
87 Bell 167.33 35,942 8.9x 37.2x
88 Half Moon Bay 167.67 12,565 7.6x 54.0x
89 Lawndale 167.67 33,191 7.6x 40.4x
90 Monterey Park 167.67 61,056 10.3x 43.2x
91 Watsonville 168.33 53,452 7.7x 38.9x
92 Santa Barbara 168.67 91,443 13.1x 43.4x
93 La Mesa 169.33 59,479 7.6x 43.4x
94 San Diego 169.67 1,390,966 7.3x 47.6x
95 Montebello 169.67 63,468 8.8x 41.5x
96 Union City 169.67 74,354 6.5x 50.8x
97 Inglewood 170.0 111,006 8.4x 39.1x
98 Solvang 170.0 5,650 9.4x 48.4x
99 Morro Bay 170.0 10,568 8.7x 44.5x
100 Cudahy 170.67 24,146 8.2x 33.4x

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