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 Coronado.

So hopefully Taft (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

Coronado, CA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 24,053
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 14.3x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 42.1x (67th most expensive)
More on Coronado: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coronado is a resort city located in San Diego County, California, across the San Diego Bay from downtown San Diego. It was founded in the 1880s. Its population was 24,697 at the 2010 census, up from 24,100 at the 2000 census.

The median income in Coronado comes in at $99,641 and the median home value is $1,423,600 for 2019.

Santa Cruz, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 63,993
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 11.5x (15th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 40.0x (40th most expensive)
More on Santa Cruz: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Santa Cruz is the county seat and largest city of Santa Cruz County, California. As of 2013 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated Santa Cruz’s population at 62,864.

The median income in Santa Cruz comes in at $65,421 and the median home value is $750,600 for 2019.

San Marino, CA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 13,331
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 2)
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.

Santa Barbara, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 91,443
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 13.1x (10th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 43.4x (87th most expensive)
More on Santa Barbara: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County in the U.S. state of California. Situated on a south-facing section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, the city lies between the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara’s climate is often described as Mediterranean, and the city has been promoted as the “American Riviera”. As of 2014, the city had an estimated population of 91,196, up from 88,410 in 2010, making it the second most populous city in the county after Santa Maria while the contiguous urban area, which includes the cities of Goleta and Carpinteria, along with the unincorporated regions of Isla Vista, Montecito, Mission Canyon, Hope Ranch, Summerland, and others, has an approximate population of 220,000. The population of the entire county in 2010 was 423,895.

The median income in Santa Barbara comes in at $71,160 and the median home value is $934,500 for 2019.

San Luis Obispo, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 46,997
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 11.9x (13th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 35.4x (11th most expensive)
More on San Luis Obispo: Real Estate | Data | Photos

San Luis Obispo, or SLO for short, is a city in the U.S. state of California, located roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the Central Coast. The population was 45,119 at the 2010 census. The population of San Luis Obispo County was 269,637 in 2010.

The median income in San Luis Obispo comes in at $49,640 and the median home value is $590,800 for 2019.

Rolling Hills Estates, CA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 8,229
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 5)
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.

Glendale, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 199,750
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 11.5x (14th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 41.0x (54th most expensive)
More on Glendale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Glendale is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Its estimated 2014 population was 200,167, making it the third largest city in Los Angeles County and the 23rd-largest city in California. It is located about 8 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.

The median income in Glendale comes in at $58,657 and the median home value is $675,300 for 2019.

East Palo Alto, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 29,646
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 10.2x (29th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 36.4x (15th most expensive)
More on East Palo Alto: Real Estate | Data | Photos

East Palo Alto is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of East Palo Alto was 28,155. It is situated on the San Francisco Peninsula, roughly halfway between the cities of San Francisco and San Jose. To the north and east is the San Francisco Bay, to the west is the city of Menlo Park, and to the south the city of Palo Alto. Despite being called “East” Palo Alto, this is a misnomer, as the city is precisely due north of Palo Alto. While often incorrectly assumed to be part of the city of Palo Alto, East Palo Alto has always been a separate entity since its founding as an unincorporated community. It is also in San Mateo County, while Palo Alto is in Santa Clara County. The two cities are separated only by San Francisquito Creek and, largely, the Bayshore Freeway. The revitalization projects in 2000, and high income high-tech professionals moving into new developments, including employees from Google and Facebook, have begun to eliminate the cultural and economic differences between the two cities. East Palo Alto and Palo Alto share both telephone area codes and postal ZIP codes.

The median income in East Palo Alto comes in at $58,783 and the median home value is $600,200 for 2019.

San Gabriel, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 40,315
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 11.2x (18th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 42.0x (66th most expensive)
More on San Gabriel: Real Estate | Data | Photos

San Gabriel is a city in Los Angeles County, California. It is named after the Mission San Gabriel Arcngel, founded by Junpero Serra. The city grew outward from the mission and in 1852 became the original township of Los Angeles County. San Gabriel was incorporated in 1913. The city’s motto is “A city with a Mission” and it is often called the “Birthplace” of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. At the 2010 census, the population was 39,718.

The median income in San Gabriel comes in at $55,939 and the median home value is $628,300 for 2019.

Villa Park, CA

Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 5,935
Rank Last Year: 22 (Up 12)
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.

How 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 Coronado.

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 Coronado 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. Taft
  2. Ridgecrest
  3. Holtville

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 Coronado 30.0 24,053 14.3x 42.1x
2 Santa Cruz 43.0 63,993 11.5x 40.0x
3 San Marino 46.67 13,331 10.2x 43.6x
4 Santa Barbara 47.67 91,443 13.1x 43.4x
5 San Luis Obispo 52.0 46,997 11.9x 35.4x
6 Rolling Hills Estates 53.67 8,229 8.8x 41.7x
7 Glendale 56.0 199,750 11.5x 41.0x
8 East Palo Alto 57.67 29,646 10.2x 36.4x
9 San Gabriel 67.0 40,315 11.2x 42.0x
10 Villa Park 72.0 5,935 7.6x 40.8x
11 Larkspur 72.33 12,367 12.4x 48.1x
12 Carpinteria 75.33 13,593 8.8x 39.6x
13 Westminster 77.67 91,785 9.5x 40.3x
14 Ojai 78.33 7,594 9.4x 43.0x
15 West Hollywood 78.33 36,148 10.3x 44.6x
16 Los Angeles 80.67 3,949,776 10.1x 41.9x
17 Rosemead 83.0 54,615 9.8x 40.6x
18 Monterey Park 84.0 61,056 10.3x 43.2x
19 Beverly Hills 85.5 34,506 19.3x 50.9x
20 Costa Mesa 86.0 112,930 8.9x 43.6x
21 Dana Point 86.33 34,028 9.2x 46.5x
22 Alhambra 87.0 85,168 10.0x 43.1x
23 Monterey 90.33 28,671 9.4x 45.5x
24 Capitola 90.5 10,158 8.5x 40.9x
25 Berkeley 94.33 120,179 11.4x 49.7x
26 Los Alamitos 94.67 11,639 9.3x 47.2x
27 Burbank 94.67 104,765 9.3x 44.9x
28 Sonoma 95.33 11,014 8.9x 45.1x
29 Hawthorne 97.67 87,425 9.7x 42.3x
30 Santa Monica 98.67 92,495 13.6x 51.6x
31 El Monte 99.33 115,958 9.2x 37.5x
32 Arcata 99.67 17,814 10.9x 32.9x
33 Redwood City 102.0 84,368 10.3x 50.6x
34 Davis 103.67 67,500 9.4x 45.8x
35 Malibu 104.67 12,871 14.7x 53.2x
36 Imperial Beach 104.67 27,270 8.7x 39.4x
37 San Juan Capistrano 105.67 35,948 7.8x 43.3x
38 Irvine 106.33 256,877 7.9x 45.2x
39 Solvang 107.5 5,650 9.4x 48.4x
40 San Rafael 108.0 59,180 9.5x 50.0x
41 Montebello 108.67 63,468 8.8x 41.5x
42 Huntington Park 108.83 58,993 9.4x 38.7x
43 South El Monte 111.0 20,712 8.7x 37.6x
44 Calabasas 111.0 24,169 8.6x 49.9x
45 Goleta 111.33 30,847 8.2x 47.3x
46 Maywood 111.33 27,700 9.4x 37.5x
47 Tustin 111.67 80,007 8.0x 43.4x
48 Laguna Beach 112.33 23,224 13.4x 53.7x
49 Pacific Grove 112.33 15,617 9.5x 50.3x
50 Solana Beach 112.33 13,362 10.6x 52.2x
51 Bell Gardens 112.67 42,845 8.9x 33.8x
52 Sausalito 113.33 7,147 10.8x 52.5x
53 Morro Bay 113.33 10,568 8.7x 44.5x
54 Millbrae 113.67 22,738 10.3x 52.3x
55 Bell 114.33 35,942 8.9x 37.2x
56 San Bruno 114.67 43,105 8.0x 47.4x
57 Inglewood 116.67 111,006 8.4x 39.1x
58 San Mateo 118.33 103,500 8.9x 50.7x
59 Foster City 119.5 33,529 7.7x 49.4x
60 Newport Beach 121.0 86,793 14.2x 56.4x
61 Temple City 121.0 36,214 9.5x 50.0x
62 Culver City 121.33 39,432 8.5x 49.5x
63 Walnut Creek 122.33 68,516 8.1x 48.2x
64 Sebastopol 122.67 7,653 8.8x 47.1x
65 Walnut 123.0 30,062 7.2x 45.5x
66 Albany 124.0 19,682 8.7x 50.4x
67 Watsonville 124.33 53,452 7.7x 38.9x
68 Seaside 124.33 34,259 7.2x 36.1x
69 Daly City 124.33 106,480 7.5x 45.5x
70 Cudahy 126.33 24,146 8.2x 33.4x
71 El Cajon 126.33 103,314 8.2x 41.7x
72 Lomita 126.67 20,707 9.0x 47.9x
73 Lawndale 127.33 33,191 7.6x 40.4x
74 Pismo Beach 131.33 8,060 8.5x 49.7x
75 Fountain Valley 131.67 56,640 7.6x 47.3x
76 Santa Ana 131.67 334,493 7.4x 40.4x
77 Gardena 132.0 60,096 8.0x 42.4x
78 Rancho Palos Verdes 132.17 42,463 8.4x 52.1x
79 Palo Alto 133.33 67,082 13.5x 62.0x
80 Burlingame 133.33 30,401 13.4x 60.4x
81 La Mesa 133.67 59,479 7.6x 43.4x
82 Pasadena 134.5 141,231 9.0x 51.0x
83 Hawaiian Gardens 134.67 14,465 8.0x 30.5x
84 Cupertino 135.33 60,687 8.9x 54.2x
85 Oceanside 135.67 174,811 6.8x 40.0x
86 Commerce 136.0 12,998 8.4x 42.1x
87 Garden Grove 136.33 174,812 7.6x 44.1x
88 National City 136.67 60,715 8.0x 39.7x
89 Anaheim 137.0 349,007 7.5x 44.5x
90 Menlo Park 137.0 33,661 13.3x 63.0x
91 Novato 137.67 55,378 7.5x 48.2x
92 Fullerton 138.0 139,976 8.2x 48.5x
93 Vista 138.67 99,496 7.1x 41.5x
94 Tiburon 139.0 9,205 12.7x 64.5x
95 Manhattan Beach 139.67 35,698 11.4x 62.2x
96 Cerritos 139.67 50,145 6.5x 44.7x
97 Laguna Niguel 139.67 65,429 7.4x 49.5x
98 Bellflower 141.0 77,852 7.5x 41.9x
99 El Segundo 143.0 16,929 9.4x 55.3x
100 Los Gatos 143.0 30,709 11.1x 62.8x

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