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Best Cities for Homeownership in California

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by on July 29, 2014

Although California’s economy has recovered from the recession, housing is a problem that persists. The Golden State’s housing shortage, coupled with stricter credit standards, has made homes in California among the most expensive in the nation. According to a 2014 report by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, 4 out of 5 of the least affordable U.S. metropolitan areas are in California. As well, the state has the largest share of households that pay more than 50 percent of their income toward housing costs.

Despite high housing costs, California remains a popular place to live with a 34-month population growth of 2.9%, compared with the national average of 2.4%. These conditions mean finding affordable housing in the state is more difficult than ever. NerdWallet, your trusted financial friend, crunched the data and found the top places in California for homeownership. Our analysis answered three main questions:

1. Are homes available? We looked at an area’s homeownership rate to determine the availability of homes. A low homeownership rate is likely a signal of competitive inventory, more options for renters rather than buyers and expensive housing. Areas with a high homeownership rate led to a higher overall score.

2. Can you afford to live there? We looked at median household income, monthly homeowner costs and median home value to assess affordability and determine whether residents could live comfortably in the area. We used monthly homeowner costs to measure cost of living. Areas with high median incomes and low cost of living scored higher. Are you thinking about buying a home? Learn more about current mortgage rates and mortgage refinancing options in our mortgage guide, as well as whether it’s best to rent or buy.

3. Is the area growing? We measured population growth to ensure that the area is attracting new residents and showing signs of solid growth. This is likely a signal of a robust local economy, which is another attractive characteristic for homebuyers.

For more details on our methodology, please see the section at the end of the report.

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Here’s what the top places in California all had in common:

  • Californians are comfortable living in suburbs, with only three places in our top 10 located close (under 30 miles) to major cities.
  • Our top locations are all seeing rapid growth in population, and all 10 have seen population increases of at least 5% or more from 2010 to 2012.
  • Homeownership costs take up a large portion of Californians’ income, with residents in none of our top 10 cities paying less than a third of their income toward housing costs (this amount is considered the standard of affordability by the Department of Housing and Urban Development).

For more information on these and other places, check out NerdWallet Cities. For a full ranking of all 178 places analyzed in California for this study, click here.

Top 10 Cities for Homeownership in California

1. Brentwood

Once known as primarily a farming town, Brentwood has transformed itself into a residential community. With the highest population growth rate on our list (9.7% from 2010 to 2012), and a homeownership rate of 75.7%, Brentwood exhibits some of the healthiest signs of homeownership in the state. The city’s growing popularity is no wonder, given its proximity to the natural beauty at Mount Diablo State Park, Morgan Territory Regional Preserve and Sherman Island. Residents can also indulge in Brentwood’s agricultural sector by picking cherries or strawberries at local farms or they can take a break to enjoy one of Brentwood’s free Friday summer concerts. For those feeling guilty after enjoying the city’s sedentary and sweet comforts, don’t fret: Brentwood is one of 51 communities in California recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as “Bicycle Friendly.”

2. Elk Grove

A suburb of Sacramento, Elk Grove makes our list as a family oriented community, with its affordable homeownership costs and high accessibility. The city is the second largest in Sacramento County (after Sacramento), and has easy access to Interstate 5 and Highway 99, as well as the Sacramento International Airport. The community of over 150,000 has a wide array of events and attractions, including the annual Strauss Festival, summer’s Multicultural Festival and the unique Elk Grove Rain Garden, an outdoor public space that was designed to attract wildlife and educate residents about water conservation. Elk Grove has also received high praise for its public education, with seven local schools in the past five years recognized as a California Distinguished School by the California Department of Education.

3. Menifee 

Located only 9 miles from Diamond Valley Lake, and with median homeowner costs of just $1,888 a month, Menifee joins our list as a city where affordability meets fun. As one of Southern California’s largest reservoirs, Diamond Valley Lake is world renowned for its diversity of fish, which residents are allowed to catch as long as they comply with the strict rules and inspection standards to prevent the spread of an invasive mussel. The lake boasts a visitor and science center, too, and spectacular wildflower blooms. Other favorite locations for activities include the Menifee Lakes Country Club, North Golf Course and the nearby Limestone Canyon Regional Park.

4. Murrieta

Next door to Menifee, Murrieta is another city that benefits from the natural beauty of Riverside County. With 12 trails in the city limits, and its close proximity to the Rancho Santa Rosa Historic Area and Lake Skinner County Park, Murrieta has a lot to offer. The city, which saw a strong population growth of 7%, has become a commuter community, with eight express buses serving residents traveling in every direction.

 5. Lake Elsinore

Lake Elsinore, located on the banks of the lake that bears the city’s name, has grown from a small resort town into a suburban community. The 3,000-acre lake is home to the Elm Grove Beach, Seaport and La Laguna boat launches and two R.V. parks. Lake Elsinore residents also live on the border of the Santa Ana Mountains, with a multitude of trails and the 5,689-foot Santiago Peak. Beyond the scenic beauty, the city has the claim to fame of hosting Elsinore Grand Pix, a nationally famous dirt-bike race that has lured competitors such as legendary actor Steve McQueen. If this isn’t enough excitement, there’s Lake Elsinore Diamond Stadium, where residents can watch the Lake Elsinore Storm play and see concerts, too.

6. Hacienda Heights 

Hacienda Heights, in the Puente Hills in Los Angeles County, joins our list with a 79.3% homeownership rate, the highest of our top 10. While Hacienda Heights has a number of features to be proud of — including top-rated elementary schools and close proximity to the 650,000-acre Angeles National Forest — it is best known for the Hsi Lai Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in North America. The temple, which showcases traditional Chinese architecture and draws visitors from the Los Angeles area and beyond, is free and open to the public. Hacienda Heights also has the benefit of being surrounded on three sides by nature reserves at Turnbull Canyon, Powder Canyon and Rose Hills Memorial Park.

7.  Victorville

Joining the list from San Bernardino County is Victorville, a highly affordable city about 85 miles east of Los Angeles. In Victorville, residents pay homeownership costs of  $1,641, the lowest on our list, while also benefiting from quick access to Riverside County via Interstate 15. The area also has quite a few educational and cultural attractions, with the Victor Valley Museum, California Route 66 Museum, Lewis Center for Educational Research and Victor Valley College all located in the county. Residents seeking live entertainment will find options on stage at the Victor Valley College Performing Arts Center and the nearby San Manuel Amphitheater.

8. Perris

Perris is a city with the perfect ingredients for a high return on home investment: low homeowner costs coupled with strong population expansion. Monthly median homeowner costs are the second lowest of our top 10 at $1,693, and the median home value is just $162,100, which is about half of the median in the state. However, cheap home prices don’t mean residents have to settle: Perris locals sit on top of Lake Perris State Recreation Area, a hot spot for boating, swimming, camping and horseback riding. Perris also has other excitement at the fairgrounds, auto speedway and at the airport, which is the site of skydiving expeditions.

9. San Ramon

Located in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, San Ramon has a reputation as a wealthy suburb with an easy commute to San Francisco. A high median home value of $704,000 is balanced by median monthly household incomes of over $10,000, which means homeownership costs in San Ramon are among the lowest percentage of household income of our top 10 cities. For families, San Ramon is worth the price: Public schools in the city have an average rating of 9.3 out of 10, according to greatschools.org. Workers have the option of commuting to downtown San Francisco in under an hour via BART trains, although San Ramon has a strong economy supported by the world headquarters of Chevron Corp. and a regional AT&T office.

10. Temecula

The last, and most southern of our cities in Riverside County, Temecula is a destination both for homeownership and tourism. Hundreds of award-winning wines, produced by 31 wineries in Temecula Valley, fuel tourism and local fame. The fun doesn’t stop there, as the city also hosts the annual Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival and an international film festival. And for those not entertained by wine and movies, Temecula is a short drive to Pala Casino Resort and Spa in northern San Diego County.

Does the data tell the truth? Let us know what you think the comments section below.

Check out the interactive map for our top 10 cities in California. The darker the color of of the point, the more affordable it is according to our affordability score. Click on points to view more information.

Rank City Home Ownership Rate Median Selected Monthly Homeowner Costs Median Monthly Household Income Homeowner costs as a percentage of household income Median Home Values 2010-2012 Population Growth Overall Score for Homeownership
1 Brentwood 75.7% $2,888 $7,359 39.2% $360,800 9.7% 87.0
2 Elk Grove 73.8% $2,236 $6,630 33.7% $275,400 7.4% 83.8
3 Menifee 78.1% $1,888 $4,451 42.4% $203,800 6.8% 81.5
4 Murrieta 70.5% $2,405 $6,290 38.2% $286,600 7.0% 78.2
5 Lake Elsinore 67.1% $2,215 $5,203 42.6% $216,200 7.3% 76.4
6 Hacienda Heights 79.3% $2,286 $6,343 36.0% $465,200 5.0% 75.4
7 Victorville 61.4% $1,641 $4,347 37.7% $148,800 6.5% 74.3
8 Perris 63.5% $1,693 $3,870 43.8% $162,100 7.0% 73.6
9 San Ramon 70.9% $3,568 $10,377 34.4% $704,000 6.6% 71.3
10 Temecula 67.2% $2,435 $6,556 37.1% $311,200 5.0% 70.7
11 Rocklin 67.2% $2,430 $6,441 37.7% $333,200 5.0% 70.1
12 Folsom 69.9% $2,554 $7,969 32.1% $398,200 3.8% 69.8
13 Roseville 65.7% $2,336 $6,215 37.6% $326,700 5.0% 69.4
14 Yorba Linda 84.0% $3,320 $9,740 34.1% $696,500 2.8% 68.5
15 Clovis 62.6% $1,981 $5,332 37.2% $259,000 4.7% 68.1
16 Hesperia 65.9% $1,560 $3,836 40.7% $158,800 3.8% 67.7
17 Fontana 68.9% $2,136 $5,350 39.9% $258,100 3.5% 67.0
18 Yucaipa 75.2% $2,000 $4,952 40.4% $240,500 2.2% 66.9
19 Tracy 66.1% $2,448 $6,272 39.0% $272,600 3.9% 66.6
20 Visalia 61.2% $1,663 $4,477 37.1% $190,500 3.8% 66.3

Methodology

The overall score for each city was derived from these measures:

1. Homeownership rate made up 33.3% of the total score. A higher rate earned a higher score. The rate comes from the U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year Estimates for all places in the state, Table DP 04.

2. Selected monthly owner costs as a percentage of median household income made up 16.7% of the total score. A lower percentage earned a higher score. Monthly homeowner costs as a percentage of median household income made up one-half of the affordability score. Median household income comes from the U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year Estimates for all places in the state, Table DP 03. The figure for monthly homeowner costs comes from the U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year Estimates for all places in the state, Table DP 04.

3. Median home value made up 16.7% of the total score. A lower value earned a higher score. Median home value made up one-half of the affordability score. Median home value comes from the U.S. Census American Community Survey 5-year Estimates for all places in the state, Table DP 04.

4. Population change from 2010 to 2012 made up 33.3% of the total score. A higher percent change earned a higher score. The 2010 population comes from the 2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates for all places in the state, Table DP 05. The 2012 population data comes from the 2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates for all places in the state, Table DP 05. NerdWallet calculated the percent change.

This study analyzed 178 communities in California with a population of 50,000 or more.

 Best Cities for Homeownership in California (Full Rankings) 

Rank City Home Ownership Rate Median Selected Monthly Homeowner Costs Median Monthly Household Income Homeowner costs as a percentage of household income Median Home Values 2010-2012 Population Growth Overall Score for Home Owners
1 Brentwood 75.7% $2,888 $7,359 39.2% $360,800 9.7% 87.0
2 Elk Grove 73.8% $2,236 $6,630 33.7% $275,400 7.4% 83.8
3 Menifee 78.1% $1,888 $4,451 42.4% $203,800 6.8% 81.5
4 Murrieta 70.5% $2,405 $6,290 38.2% $286,600 7.0% 78.2
5 Lake Elsinore 67.1% $2,215 $5,203 42.6% $216,200 7.3% 76.4
6 Hacienda Heights 79.3% $2,286 $6,343 36.0% $465,200 5.0% 75.4
7 Victorville 61.4% $1,641 $4,347 37.7% $148,800 6.5% 74.3
8 Perris 63.5% $1,693 $3,870 43.8% $162,100 7.0% 73.6
9 San Ramon 70.9% $3,568 $10,377 34.4% $704,000 6.6% 71.3
10 Temecula 67.2% $2,435 $6,556 37.1% $311,200 5.0% 70.7
11 Rocklin 67.2% $2,430 $6,441 37.7% $333,200 5.0% 70.1
12 Folsom 69.9% $2,554 $7,969 32.1% $398,200 3.8% 69.8
13 Roseville 65.7% $2,336 $6,215 37.6% $326,700 5.0% 69.4
14 Yorba Linda 84.0% $3,320 $9,740 34.1% $696,500 2.8% 68.5
15 Clovis 62.6% $1,981 $5,332 37.2% $259,000 4.7% 68.1
16 Hesperia 65.9% $1,560 $3,836 40.7% $158,800 3.8% 67.7
17 Fontana 68.9% $2,136 $5,350 39.9% $258,100 3.5% 67.0
18 Yucaipa 75.2% $2,000 $4,952 40.4% $240,500 2.2% 66.9
19 Tracy 66.1% $2,448 $6,272 39.0% $272,600 3.9% 66.6
20 Visalia 61.2% $1,663 $4,477 37.1% $190,500 3.8% 66.3
21 Palmdale 65.7% $1,924 $4,523 42.5% $187,200 3.9% 66.2
22 Bakersfield 58.1% $1,718 $4,522 38.0% $191,600 4.6% 66.1
23 Indio 63.2% $1,903 $4,211 45.2% $211,900 5.0% 66.1
24 Manteca 61.5% $2,027 $5,201 39.0% $225,700 4.3% 66.0
25 Chino Hills 81.0% $2,694 $8,089 33.3% $491,800 1.1% 66.0
26 Livermore 71.2% $2,877 $8,115 35.5% $490,800 3.3% 65.5
27 Tulare 59.3% $1,442 $3,833 37.6% $168,800 3.8% 65.3
28 Apple Valley 68.9% $1,658 $4,041 41.0% $191,500 2.6% 65.1
29 Florin 55.3% $1,513 $3,468 43.6% $150,200 5.5% 65.0
30 Moreno Valley 62.9% $1,817 $4,656 39.0% $194,700 3.4% 64.8
31 Lancaster 61.3% $1,795 $4,310 41.6% $174,900 3.9% 64.3
32 Simi Valley 74.2% $2,588 $7,325 35.3% $448,500 1.9% 64.1
33 Santa Clarita 70.3% $2,535 $7,024 36.1% $390,100 2.1% 63.3
34 Diamond Bar 81.6% $2,520 $7,515 33.5% $531,400 0.2% 63.0
35 Rancho Cucamonga 65.8% $2,439 $6,444 37.8% $374,100 3.1% 62.9
36 Mission Viejo 77.6% $2,687 $8,007 33.6% $558,000 1.2% 62.9
37 Corona 68.2% $2,418 $6,582 36.7% $341,600 2.1% 62.6
38 Carson 75.7% $2,214 $5,971 37.1% $357,200 0.7% 62.5
39 Santee 70.3% $2,262 $5,770 39.2% $330,500 1.8% 61.9
40 Chula Vista 59.8% $2,575 $5,447 47.3% $366,200 5.6% 61.9
41 Carlsbad 64.3% $2,948 $6,990 42.2% $617,200 5.4% 61.6
42 Camarillo 70.8% $2,650 $6,991 37.9% $473,300 2.1% 61.1
43 Antioch 63.6% $2,318 $5,458 42.5% $251,900 2.9% 60.9
44 Porterville 57.8% $1,328 $3,552 37.4% $156,100 2.4% 60.7
45 South Whittier 64.5% $2,085 $5,485 38.0% $355,900 2.5% 60.7
46 Milpitas 66.6% $2,792 $8,287 33.7% $538,400 2.5% 60.7
47 Irvine 50.3% $2,995 $7,722 38.8% $646,500 7.4% 60.6
48 Hanford 57.0% $1,691 $4,564 37.1% $197,600 2.6% 60.3
49 Lake Forest 71.0% $2,574 $7,761 33.2% $505,600 1.1% 60.3
50 Chino 71.2% $2,394 $5,973 40.1% $344,300 1.3% 60.2
51 Pleasanton 68.6% $3,325 $9,844 33.8% $723,300 3.1% 60.0
52 Thousand Oaks 73.3% $2,922 $8,346 35.0% $611,900 1.5% 59.7
53 San Marcos 61.2% $2,577 $4,566 56.4% $375,800 6.3% 59.6
54 Union City 68.2% $2,769 $6,922 40.0% $493,300 2.6% 59.3
55 Lakewood 71.9% $2,314 $6,573 35.2% $430,100 0.4% 59.1
56 Madera 52.0% $1,471 $3,603 40.8% $165,700 3.6% 58.9
57 Rancho Cordova 56.3% $1,807 $4,443 40.7% $204,000 2.9% 58.6
58 Pittsburg 59.8% $2,147 $4,839 44.4% $237,200 3.1% 58.5
59 Petaluma 66.9% $2,520 $6,409 39.3% $442,700 2.1% 58.5
60 Fremont 63.5% $2,841 $8,264 34.4% $605,100 2.8% 58.3
61 Vacaville 63.5% $2,185 $6,085 35.9% $292,000 0.8% 57.6
62 Hemet 59.7% $1,419 $2,788 50.9% $125,400 3.2% 57.6
63 Delano 54.9% $1,244 $2,959 42.0% $144,900 2.5% 57.2
64 Yuba City 58.2% $1,679 $4,168 40.3% $198,900 1.9% 57.2
65 Highland 64.0% $2,065 $4,776 43.2% $265,200 1.6% 56.9
66 Laguna Niguel 73.9% $3,085 $8,382 36.8% $679,500 1.2% 56.8
67 Novato 67.4% $2,868 $6,639 43.2% $588,700 3.0% 56.6
68 Santa Maria 51.1% $1,926 $4,306 44.7% $267,200 4.3% 56.3
69 Pico Rivera 70.0% $1,922 $4,754 40.4% $344,900 0.2% 56.2
70 Placentia 66.7% $2,598 $6,308 41.2% $515,400 2.1% 56.2
71 Fountain Valley 71.7% $2,582 $6,768 38.2% $607,600 1.2% 56.1
72 Glendora 69.9% $2,487 $6,218 40.0% $465,200 0.7% 55.6
73 Norwalk 65.6% $1,992 $5,040 39.5% $326,200 0.5% 55.3
74 Rialto 62.4% $1,745 $4,119 42.4% $194,700 0.7% 55.2
75 Cathedral City 63.0% $1,832 $3,730 49.1% $194,000 1.8% 55.1
76 Riverside 57.4% $1,958 $4,700 41.7% $251,700 1.9% 54.8
77 Fairfield 60.3% $2,374 $5,530 42.9% $288,200 1.6% 54.6
78 San Clemente 65.2% $3,294 $7,265 45.3% $735,600 4.0% 54.3
79 West Covina 64.5% $2,261 $5,723 39.5% $389,100 0.7% 54.1
80 Turlock 54.8% $1,844 $4,415 41.8% $214,600 1.8% 53.8
81 Castro Valley 68.1% $2,687 $6,888 39.0% $561,500 0.6% 52.9
82 Oxnard 55.3% $2,252 $5,061 44.5% $344,700 2.6% 52.4
83 San Jose 58.7% $2,918 $6,779 43.0% $575,100 3.1% 52.4
84 Redlands 60.7% $2,207 $5,575 39.6% $308,200 0.3% 52.4
85 Woodland 55.6% $1,938 $4,595 42.2% $271,900 1.5% 52.0
86 Santa Rosa 54.8% $2,265 $5,044 44.9% $377,000 2.8% 52.0
87 Encinitas 65.1% $2,915 $7,572 38.5% $703,800 1.7% 52.0
88 San Leandro 56.5% $2,346 $5,183 45.3% $386,800 2.6% 52.0
89 Concord 61.2% $2,358 $5,488 43.0% $373,900 1.1% 51.9
90 Cupertino 64.6% $3,900 $10,628 36.7% $1,000,000 3.4% 51.7
91 Walnut Creek 66.9% $2,910 $6,952 41.9% $587,200 1.1% 51.7
92 Baldwin Park 60.6% $1,783 $4,270 41.8% $291,900 0.3% 51.6
93 Hayward 53.5% $2,316 $5,193 44.6% $336,300 2.6% 51.6
94 Orange 60.9% $2,698 $6,557 41.2% $524,700 1.7% 51.6
95 Vallejo 59.3% $2,131 $5,064 42.1% $241,900 0.3% 51.6
96 Oceanside 58.0% $2,312 $5,098 45.3% $356,500 1.9% 51.3
97 Stockton 51.9% $1,741 $3,937 44.2% $178,900 1.7% 51.3
98 Citrus Heights 56.9% $1,779 $4,520 39.4% $204,100 (0.3%) 50.5
99 Fresno 48.4% $1,617 $3,523 45.9% $195,900 2.4% 50.2
100 Ontario 57.5% $1,876 $4,583 40.9% $262,800 0.0% 49.8
101 Buena Park 57.5% $2,345 $5,350 43.8% $405,300 1.3% 49.3
102 South San Francisco 59.2% $2,863 $6,131 46.7% $603,700 2.8% 49.2
103 Modesto 55.3% $1,761 $4,100 42.9% $186,000 0.0% 49.0
104 Garden Grove 56.2% $2,181 $4,999 43.6% $412,000 1.4% 48.8
105 Sacramento 49.1% $1,873 $4,222 44.4% $244,100 1.7% 48.4
106 Merced 44.2% $1,487 $3,188 46.6% $150,200 2.4% 48.2
107 Redding 55.6% $1,719 $3,639 47.2% $240,200 0.8% 48.1
108 Napa 57.6% $2,419 $5,209 46.4% $430,300 1.5% 48.0
109 Santa Clara 46.2% $2,920 $7,683 38.0% $618,600 3.4% 47.8
110 Huntington Beach 60.1% $2,828 $6,821 41.5% $638,100 1.3% 47.6
111 Sunnyvale 47.4% $2,963 $8,074 36.7% $703,800 3.4% 47.5
112 Upland 58.2% $2,325 $5,400 43.1% $419,200 0.4% 47.3
113 La Habra 55.0% $2,289 $5,080 45.1% $392,600 1.2% 47.1
114 San Buenaventura (Ventura) 54.8% $2,334 $5,549 42.1% $445,900 1.0% 47.0
115 Richmond 50.5% $2,167 $4,555 47.6% $303,200 1.9% 47.0
116 Daly City 57.0% $2,716 $6,064 44.8% $566,400 1.7% 46.6
117 Colton 51.7% $1,615 $3,458 46.7% $168,700 0.5% 46.5
118 Tustin 51.1% $2,839 $6,168 46.0% $509,700 2.7% 46.4
119 Pomona 54.8% $1,896 $4,072 46.6% $272,600 0.4% 46.4
120 Whittier 56.6% $2,452 $5,618 43.6% $435,800 0.5% 46.0
121 Palo Alto 57.5% $4,000 $10,207 39.2% $1,000,000 3.2% 45.9
122 Lodi 54.1% $1,941 $4,086 47.5% $249,300 0.4% 45.8
123 San Bernardino 50.7% $1,582 $3,258 48.6% $166,100 0.7% 45.7
124 Escondido 51.9% $2,195 $4,149 52.9% $335,200 2.3% 45.6
125 Fullerton 54.0% $2,663 $5,635 47.3% $493,200 1.9% 45.5
126 San Mateo 53.8% $3,215 $7,305 44.0% $719,700 2.7% 45.1
127 Compton 53.9% $1,800 $3,528 51.0% $253,800 0.8% 45.0
128 Torrance 56.9% $2,717 $6,340 42.9% $622,100 1.0% 44.5
129 Carmichael 56.5% $1,973 $4,496 43.9% $299,000 (0.9%) 44.5
130 Salinas 43.8% $2,085 $4,216 49.5% $279,000 2.4% 44.0
131 San Diego 48.3% $2,458 $5,333 46.1% $451,800 2.0% 43.9
132 La Mesa 47.2% $2,178 $4,645 46.9% $378,500 1.7% 43.3
133 Arcadia 61.1% $3,042 $6,445 47.2% $776,200 1.4% 42.9
134 Westminster 54.9% $2,307 $4,565 50.5% $462,100 1.2% 42.8
135 Vista 50.4% $2,211 $4,056 54.5% $349,200 1.8% 42.1
136 Downey 50.9% $2,360 $5,011 47.1% $430,300 0.8% 41.8
137 Chico 44.1% $1,766 $3,575 49.4% $276,900 1.5% 41.6
138 Anaheim 48.4% $2,416 $4,969 48.6% $415,900 1.3% 41.4
139 Redondo Beach 52.3% $3,351 $8,235 40.7% $720,500 1.1% 41.4
140 Santa Ana 47.2% $2,041 $4,532 45.0% $343,200 0.4% 41.4
141 Rowland Heights 65.5% $2,402 $5,110 47.0% $486,600 (2.0%) 41.3
142 Alameda 48.2% $2,977 $6,437 46.2% $628,600 2.1% 40.6
143 Watsonville 44.6% $2,223 $3,884 57.2% $333,500 2.8% 40.4
144 Gardena 48.2% $2,032 $4,179 48.6% $354,600 0.5% 40.1
145 Monterey Park 53.0% $2,324 $4,650 50.0% $478,200 0.4% 39.5
146 Newport Beach 55.1% $4,000 $9,140 43.8% $1,000,000 2.1% 38.9
147 Redwood City 52.4% $3,316 $6,457 51.4% $770,500 2.5% 38.7
148 Santa Cruz 43.9% $2,779 $5,230 53.1% $666,300 3.5% 37.9
149 Arden-Arcade 46.9% $1,943 $3,721 52.2% $288,200 0.2% 37.9
150 Montebello 46.8% $2,082 $4,215 49.4% $404,500 0.5% 37.8
151 Mountain View 41.3% $3,264 $7,749 42.1% $773,200 2.7% 37.7
152 Paramount 42.5% $1,803 $3,681 49.0% $269,700 0.1% 37.1
153 Lynwood 46.9% $1,906 $3,560 53.5% $294,500 0.1% 36.8
154 Davis 45.4% $2,570 $5,128 50.1% $538,000 1.2% 36.2
155 El Cajon 40.5% $2,119 $3,813 55.6% $333,400 1.8% 36.1
156 South Gate 46.1% $1,884 $3,488 54.0% $304,400 0.0% 35.6
157 San Rafael 51.8% $3,273 $6,100 53.7% $719,600 1.5% 35.5
158 East Los Angeles 34.2% $1,770 $3,063 57.8% $307,200 2.9% 35.1
159 Burbank 44.0% $2,678 $5,641 47.5% $570,500 0.7% 34.7
160 Bellflower 38.2% $2,120 $4,230 50.1% $355,000 0.9% 34.6
161 Rosemead 48.3% $2,179 $3,898 55.9% $444,900 0.4% 34.4
162 Florence-Graham 37.6% $1,645 $3,070 53.6% $259,300 0.9% 34.3
163 Berkeley 42.7% $2,904 $5,292 54.9% $707,700 3.0% 34.0
164 National City 35.6% $1,868 $3,233 57.8% $281,700 2.0% 33.8
165 Pasadena 44.6% $2,823 $5,693 49.6% $620,600 0.6% 32.8
166 Alhambra 41.3% $2,215 $4,493 49.3% $484,900 0.1% 32.3
167 El Monte 40.8% $1,880 $3,488 53.9% $352,800 0.1% 32.0
168 Costa Mesa 40.8% $2,715 $5,448 49.8% $592,400 0.9% 31.9
169 Oakland 41.0% $2,553 $4,307 59.3% $449,800 1.5% 31.6
170 Long Beach 40.8% $2,379 $4,408 54.0% $441,600 0.4% 31.0
171 San Francisco 36.9% $3,229 $6,150 52.5% $750,900 2.4% 29.3
172 Inglewood 35.2% $2,147 $3,713 57.8% $342,700 0.2% 27.0
173 Los Angeles 38.0% $2,633 $4,145 63.5% $470,000 0.8% 25.2
174 Santa Barbara 40.8% $2,967 $5,313 55.8% $880,500 0.8% 22.9
175 Glendale 39.2% $2,764 $4,531 61.0% $597,000 0.2% 22.9
176 Hawthorne 26.2% $2,300 $3,742 61.5% $412,800 0.5% 19.7
177 Huntington Park 28.1% $1,955 $3,052 64.1% $307,700 (0.4%) 18.8
178 Santa Monica 28.7% $3,646 $6,023 60.5% $992,100 1.5% 13.3

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  • Ken Galliher

    The scoring for these cities does not take into account categories such as crime, air quality, government solvency and climate. Perris is, mostly, a dump. Crime is high, air quality is poor and it’s always hot. The same can be said for Menifee who owns a lower crime rate but shares the same climate and air quality as they are neighbors. Lake Elsinore, also with an above average crime rate is best known for a polluted lake drug crimes. Victorville, with a very high and steadily rising crime rate is notorious for its methamphetamine labs, gang activity and air pollution.

    While it is tough to quantify, we should also consider why many of the Southern California cities in the top 10 are experiencing rapid population growth. Temecula, Murrieta, Perris, Lake Elsinore and Victorville are surrounded by L.A., Orange and San Diego counties. All of which are becoming increasingly less affordable for lower to middle income home buyers and renters.

    Its also worth mentioning that many of these cities are now under strict water restrictions and we’re always under the looming threat of running out of water.

    Just sayin’

    • kristen

      For Brentwood being #1, have to find out its the Brentwood in northern california. They should point that out with the name for the city in bold print hehe.

      • PokerRay

        Definitely Northern CA! Article mentions Mt. Diablo and Sherman Island both NorCal

  • Kevin Murray

    Elk Grove? I think the high rate of home ownership might more accurately be attributed to the demand for meth cook labs. Victorville: the city that most resembles life on the surface of Mars. Fascinating top-ten there.

  • Lynne M. Waite

    I moved to Brentwood 2 years ago, and love it. The Brentwood in Southern CA is not a city. It has no Zip Code. When asked if we live in the SoCal Brentwood we always say, “No, that’s the OJ Brentwood”. Sad to say that’s it’s claim to fame. I grew up is the Bay Area and as a child we made the “long” trip to Brentwood to pick fruit from it’s many orchards. Today it is a thriving bedroom community. The City Fathers have said they plan to continue the agricultural aspects (sweet Brentwood corn, fruit orchards, etc) A couple of years ago Brentwood set a Guiness World Record for the most people shucking corn at the same time during its annual Corn Fest. It’s now a Harvest Festival to celebrate all the crops grown surrounding the city. Let’s hope the City Planners keep their pledge and not ruin the rural aspects of Brentwood.

  • jalo12

    TEMUCLA REALLTY