15 Most Expensive Cities in California

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California, renowned for its stunning landscapes and booming industries, is also home to some of the most expensive cities in the United States. From the tech-driven economies of Silicon Valley to the glamorous streets of Los Angeles, the cost of living in these cities reflects their desirability and the high-quality lifestyle they offer. In this article, we explore the top 15 most expensive cities in California, where the combination of high real estate prices, cost of amenities, and the allure of coastal living come with a hefty price tag. Whether you’re considering moving or just curious about where the high rollers live and work, these cities exemplify luxury and high cost.

San Francisco

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As a cultural, commercial, and financial epicenter of Northern California, San Francisco boasts some of the highest living costs in the world. The average home price in this iconic city hovers around $1.3 million, reflecting its status as a highly desirable place to live despite the limited space and high demand.

San Jose

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Nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose is a hub for innovation and wealth, with a median household income of approximately $115,000. This economic prosperity is mirrored in its real estate prices, with average homes costing around $1 million, catering to a high-earning tech community.

Los Angeles

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Known for its entertainment industry and sprawling metropolis, Los Angeles offers a diverse range of living experiences. The city sees a wide variation in housing costs, with an average home price of about $850,000, which can soar much higher in rich neighborhoods like Bel Air and Beverly Hills.

San Diego

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Famous for its beaches and mild climate, San Diego attracts a mix of professionals and retirees. The average home price here stands at approximately $800,000, a testament to its popularity and the high quality of life residents enjoy.

Santa Barbara

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Often referred to as the “American Riviera,” Santa Barbara is picturesque and rich, with median home prices around $1.2 million. This city is favored by those seeking a quieter, more scenic lifestyle along the California coast.

Santa Monica

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With its famous pier and attractive beaches, Santa Monica is a sought-after locale for residents and tourists alike. The average home price in this vibrant coastal city is about $1.7 million, reflecting its popularity and prime location.

Palo Alto

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Home to Stanford University and a number of high-tech companies, Palo Alto supports a very high cost of living with median home prices reaching $3 million. Its educational and professional opportunities make it a prime location for those in academia and tech.

Mountain View

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Known for being the headquarters of Google and other tech giants, Mountain View boasts a median home price of around $1.6 million. The city’s economy is strongly tied to the tech industry, driving up both wages and real estate costs.


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Another core part of Silicon Valley, Sunnyvale offers a robust tech-driven job market, which pushes the median home price to about $1.5 million. Residents here enjoy high incomes along with high living costs.

Newport Beach

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Renowned for its luxurious oceanfront homes and upscale living, Newport Beach sees average home prices of around $2.8 million. This city is synonymous with a wealthy lifestyle, offering exclusive shopping, dining, and marina facilities.


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Known for its academic roots and progressive spirit, Berkeley has a diverse urban feel with average home prices around $1.2 million. The presence of the University of California, Berkeley, adds to its cultural richness and appeal.


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As a vibrant and diverse city across the bay from San Francisco, Oakland has witnessed a surge in housing costs, with average home prices around $800,000. The city’s cultural diversity and burgeoning arts scene make it a popular choice for many.


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Integral to Silicon Valley, Cupertino is famously the headquarters of Apple Inc., and the city reflects this with high median household incomes and home prices around $2.3 million. The local schools are highly rated, adding to its appeal for families.


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Saratoga boasts an average home price of $2.5 million. It is known for its high quality of life, small-town feel, and excellent schools – favored by those looking for a quieter lifestyle while still being close to Silicon Valley.

Menlo Park

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With Facebook and other tech companies nearby, Menlo Park features a rich population and a median home price of about $2.4 million. Its close proximity to Silicon Valley and San Francisco makes it a strategic location for tech professionals.

This article originally appeared on Rarest.org.

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