12 Most Expensive Places to Live in California in 2022 - List of Cities & Towns (2023)

  • Most Expensive Cities in California
  • Most Expensive Towns in California

This breakdown can give you a sense of wealth in the big cities as well as pinpointing the richest towns in the state in case you were interested in moving to one of them (or if you are just curious).

Let’s take a look at the most expensive places to live in California so you know where you want to head (or avoid) next.

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Table of Contents

Most Expensive Cities in California in 2022

We will start with the most expensive cities to live in California. Our definition of a “city” is a population area that is above 10,000 people. We used PropertyShark’s latest study on the most expensive zip codes to help us out.

Their definition of “expensive” is based on the median sale price of homes in the past year within a zip code, so that is what we used to sort our cities as well.

1. Santa Monica

Population: 90,401

Median Home Price: $3,750,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Santa Monica tops this list of the most expensive places to live in California. Located right on the Pacific Ocean in western Los Angeles, this coastal city is best known for its relaxed atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and the famed Santa Monica Pier.

Specifically, its North of Montana neighborhood is one of the priciest in all of the U.S., coming in 3rd place overall and making it the most expensive area in California.

2. Beverly Hills

Population: 33,792

Median Home Price: $3,750,000

(Video) 10 Most Expensive Cities in The United States. 2022

Location: Check on Google Maps

Right next to Santa Monica is the legendary Beverly Hills. Also located in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills is world-renowned for its posh mansions, exclusive shopping on Rodeo Drive, and high-end restaurants. It is the home to numerous celebrities like Taylor Swift, Jennifer Aniston, and Mark Wahlberg.

The most expensive area in this city is its famous 90210 zip code.

3. Los Altos

Population: 30,504

Median Home Price: $3,453,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Los Altos is a small suburban city in Northern California that sits right between San Francisco and San Jose. It is highly regarded as one of the best places to live for families in the Bay Area.

We even named it a top place to live in all of California in 2022.

Los Altos offers many picturesque neighborhoods as well as a small commercial district with restaurants and cafes.

Its proximity to both Bay Area cities as well as its neighboring city of Mountain View (the home of Google) also makes it attractive to many families, which in turn makes it one of the most expensive areas in California.

4. Palo Alto

Population: 65,364

Median Home Price: $3,298,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Palo Alto is right up the road from Los Altos and is a sizable city in itself that offers many exclusive neighborhoods as well as a thriving downtown area. It is also the home to Stanford University.

Just like Los Altos, Palo Alto’s strategic location between San Francisco and San Jose make it a highly sought-after community to live in. Specifically, the area of Downtown North and Old Palo Alto are the highest priced within the city.

5. Burlingame

Population: 65,364

Median Home Price: $3,298,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

(Video) 10 Most Expensive Cities in California

Burlingame takes 5th place on our list of the most expensive cities to live in California. It is an affluent city of over 65,000 residents that is just south of San Francisco and next to the airport.

It sits right on the bay, so it offers lots of access to and views of the water.

Burlingame also features a cute, walkable downtown district alongside its numerous residential neighborhoods. It is possible to reach San Francisco by train in about 40 minutes, making it a great city for commuters as well.

6. Santa Barbara

Population: 91,364

Median Home Price: $2,925,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Santa Barbara is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains. It is about 100 miles away from Los Angeles and is actually the largest city on this list of the most expensive cities in California.

It features excellent weather all year round and quick access to the water and the hills, making it an ideal place for outdoorsy people. It is also well-known for being a haven for education, with four universities in the city and some of the top school districts in the area as well.

It even has its own airport.

Most Expensive Towns in California in 2022

To find the most expensive towns in California, we only considered areas that have a population of less than 10,000 residents. We also used the same research data from PropertyShark to help narrow down our list.

1. Atherton

Population: 7,168

Median Home Price: $7,000,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Atherton is a small community in San Mateo County about 30 minutes south of San Francisco. With a median transaction price of $7 million per home last year, Atherton ranked #1 as the most expensive place in all of America.

In fact, it was almost double the value of 2nd place, which is a small town in The Hamptons in New York.

What makes Atherton such a high-priced town? Well, it is centrally located in the Bay Area, just 20 minutes from the headquarters of tech giants like Facebook and Tesla.

Its residential neighborhoods filled with sprawling mansions are beloved by many high-earning executives and celebrities. For example, Stephen Curry bought a $31 million estate in Atherton in 2019.

Meanwhile, the household income for the whole town averaged a staggering $525,000, which is the only community on this list that reached above the half-million mark.

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2. Ross

Population: 2,290

Median Home Price: $3,605,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Ross, California is a small town located just north of San Francisco across the bay in Marin County. This mainly residential community has a more rural feel than most of the other cities and towns on this list, although there is a small main street that offers a handful of restaurants and cafes.

Ross is popular among families who need to work in San Francisco, but want some extra space along with a strong school system.

3. Portola Valley

Population: 4,592

Median Home Price: $3,530,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Portola Valley is a small town nestled in the forested hills of San Mateo County next to Palo Alto in Northern California. It is about a 40 minute drive from San Francisco and is best known for its relaxed, open spaces and the countless number of trails that originate from the town.

Portola Valley’s sprawling residential neighborhoods are popular among tech workers.

Its ideal location in the heart of Silicon Valley has attracted many millionaires and billionaires, making it one of the most expensive towns in California.

4. Newport Coast

Population: 9,741

Median Home Price: $2,998,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Newport Coast is a large town that is part of the Newport Beach community right on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It sits just south of Los Angeles and is about 45 minutes from downtown LA and 1.5 hours from San Diego.

Its prime location right on the shores offer many of its privileged residents sweeping views of the ocean.

Meanwhile, it offers easy access to many hiking trails as well as some of the best beaches in the nation, as neighboring Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach are just minutes away.

5. Belvedere

Population: 2,104

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Median Home Price: $2,964,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Belvedere is a quiet coastal town just across the bay from San Francisco, which offers many of its residents a breathtaking view of the skyline. It is actually made up of 2 islands and a lagoon, giving the community a cool maritime vibe that is unique in the area.

Commuters also have the choice of either driving to San Francisco or taking the ferry from Tiburon to reach downtown in under 30 minutes.

6. Stinson Beach

Population: 632

Median Home Price: $2,770,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Stinson Beach is a tiny community of just over 600 inhabitants that is located in Marin County about a 45 minute drive from San Francisco. It is popular with Bay Area residents and tourists as a quick day trip to the beach.

It’s a truly picturesque beach town that is removed from the rush of modern life. There is even a small little downtown that lines Highway 1, where you can find quaint restaurants, cafes, and a bookstore.

Summary – Most Expensive Places to live in California

There are many wealthy cities and towns across California. The most expensive ones are mainly located near San Francisco in the north and Los Angeles in the south of the state.

These privileged communities offer many great amenities and a standard of living that is through the roof, but also come with eye-watering prices.

If you can afford it, then the cities and towns listed here could be an excellent match for your next move.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most expensive area in California in 2022?

Generally, the most expensive area in California is Northern California in the Bay Area. This area has, on average, the most expensive housing prices and well as the highest cost of living within the whole state.

In fact, the cost of living in San Francisco is approximately 270% higher than the rest of the U.S.

What is the most expensive town in California in 2022?

That honor belongs to Atherton, a small town of 7,000 residents in Northern California that has an average home price of $7,000,000.

That also makes it the most expensive town in all of the U.S. as well.

What is the most expensive city in California in 2022?

The top large city is Santa Monica with average home prices clocking in at almost $4 million and a cost of living that is over 200% higher than the rest of the U.S.

FAQs

What is the most expensive city to live in California 2022? ›

San Francisco, CA

The cost of living in San Francisco is the highest in the country. Jobs in the City by the Bay pay well, with average annual incomes of over $100,000.

What city in California has the most expensive homes? ›

According to a list compiled by Stacker, the city with the most expensive homes in the entire state is Athernon located near San Francisco. The average price of a house in this city is $7,656,846.

Where are the most expensive neighborhoods in California? ›

While Malibu, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica are home to many of L.A. County's most expensive neighborhoods, you'll also find some of West Los Angeles proper's wealthy enclaves near the top of the list. Mansions abound in L.A.'s wealthy Westside neighborhoods.

Where do the wealthy live in California? ›

Much of that wealth is concentrated in the San Francisco Bay Area, where 116 of the state's billionaires reside. That includes the state's richest residents: Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

What are the top 10 most expensive cities to live in California? ›

10 Most Expensive Cities in California (2022 Median Home Prices)
  • Hermosa Beach. Median Home Price: $1.9 million. ...
  • Beverly Hills. Median Home Price: $2.9 million. ...
  • Laguna Beach. Median Home Price: $2.9 million. ...
  • Burlingame. Median Home Price: $2.9 million. ...
  • Manhattan Beach. Median Home Price: $3 million. ...
  • Newport Beach. ...
  • Palo Alto. ...
  • Malibu.
1 Jul 2022

What is the most affordable city in California? ›

Cheapest Places to Live in California
  • Bakersfield. With a median home price of just $254,430, Bakersfield is a surprisingly cheap place to live in California. ...
  • Stockton. The notorious boom and bust town of Stockton, CA continues to offer cheaper house deals. ...
  • Fresno. ...
  • Clovis. ...
  • Sacramento. ...
  • Fontana. ...
  • Chico. ...
  • Eureka.
21 Sept 2022

What is the richest street in California? ›

Nimes Road, CA: $11.445 Million Median Home Value

One of the borders of the original Bel Air Estates, Nimes road is located north of Sunset Boulevard and has a median home value of $11.445 million.

What part of California is the most expensive? ›

San Jose, California is most expensive city for monthly bills: Report. A report by Doxo ranked the most expensive cities in the U.S. for monthly bills and expenses.

What town has the most expensive houses? ›

Most expensive large markets
RankCityOne-year change
1Atherton42.7%
2Water Mill95.1%
3Portola Valley42.5%
4Boca Grande118.9%
21 more rows
11 Jul 2022

What city in California has the most millionaires? ›

What city in California has the most millionaires? With a total of 255,600 individuals with a net worth of at least $1 million, Los Angeles has the highest number of millionaires in California.

Where do most billionaires live in California? ›

Why does the Golden State have so many wealthy people? Forbes reported that half of California's billionaires obtained their fortune through the tech industry. That also means that many of those dollars are in the Bay Area, which is where 116 of the billionaires live. In total, the U.S. has 735 billionaires.

Where in California do most celebrities live? ›

Celebrities can be found in all kinds of places in the US and abroad, but the highest concentration of famous people is still in Hollywood Hills.

Who is the richest family in California? ›

There are other industries represented on the list as well, such as movies, real estate, energy drinks, and private equity. Former CEO of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, Larry Page ranks as the wealthiest person in California, according to Forbes.

Where is the cheapest but nicest place to live in California? ›

Ventura in Los Angeles is an affordable California beach town to live in if you want to be somewhere with beautiful views and charming weather. Some other inexpensive coastal cities to live in California are Long Beach, San Pedro, and Eureka.

What are the 3 most expensive cities to live in? ›

Statistics vary but generally, Hong Kong, New York, Geneva, London and Tokyo are considered some of the most expensive cities to live in the world.

What are the rich parts of California? ›

Top 10 Most Expensive Cities in California
  • Atherton. Located 45 minutes south of San Francisco and 20 minutes away from Silicon Valley, Atherton is an incorporated town in San Mateo County. ...
  • Woodside. ...
  • Hidden Hills. ...
  • Beverly Hills. ...
  • Los Altos Hills. ...
  • Malibu. ...
  • Portola Valley. ...
  • Ross.
13 Jan 2021

What is the safest place to live in California? ›

Here are the 10 Safest Cities in California for 2022
  • Danville.
  • Rancho Santa Margarita.
  • Moorpark.
  • Aliso Viejo.
  • Yorba Linda.
  • Laguna Niguel.
  • Poway.
  • Mission Viejo.

Where are the rich moving too? ›

Where Are The Ultra-Rich Moving?
CountryProjected net inflows of HNWIs (2022)% of HNWI Gained
Australia3,5001%
Singapore2,8001%
​ Israel2,5002%
​​ USA1,5000%
5 more rows
15 Jun 2022

What is the richest zip? ›

Table of Contents
#Zip CodeCity
194027Atherton
202199Boston
311962Sagaponack
494957Ross
5 more rows
12 May 2022

Where do rich people live? ›

Map settings
RankCityBillionaires
1New York, New York78
2Moscow, Russia68
3Hong Kong64
4London, United Kingdom46
16 more rows

What is the most expensive city to rent in California? ›

San Francisco: Renters would need an annual salary of $173,400 to afford the average rent of $4,335. Los Angeles: Renters would need an annual salary of $158,100 to afford the average rent of $3,952. San Diego: Renters would need an annual salary of $156,500 to afford the average rent of $3,913.

What is the least expensive part of California to live in? ›

If you're looking for a cheap place to live in California, the northern part of the state is your best bet as the cost of living in Northern California is much lower than in SoCal. And some of the cheapest places to live in California, like Eureka also offer some of the best quality of life.

What is the most expensive area in Southern California? ›

Corona del Mar, Newport Beach

Combine this with luxury shopping and some of the best fine dining options in Southern California, and it is no surprise that real estate in Corona del Mar beach is more expensive than 99.7% of neighborhoods in the United States.

What is the most expensive city to live in the US 2022? ›

New York City, NY.

What is the cheapest place to buy a house in USA? ›

Tennessee is the cheapest state to buy a house in 2022. Oregon is the most expensive state to buy a house in 2022. $514,568 was the average house price in the United States in Q4 2021.

What is the most Exspensive house? ›

Who has the most expensive house in the world? The most expensive house in the world and the world's biggest house is Buckingham Palace, owned by the King Charles III in right of the United Kingdom Crown with an estimated value of $6.7 billion.

Where are Californians moving to the most? ›

Most Common Places People Migrate from California

Texas is currently the number one destination state for those leaving California.

Where is the best place to live in California for retirees? ›

Best Places for Seniors to Live in California
  • Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa, about 100 miles west of Sacramento, is one of our favorites on the list. ...
  • Walnut Creek. Another great city for wilderness lovers is Walnut Creek. ...
  • Monterey. ...
  • Santa Barbara. ...
  • Pasadena. ...
  • Glendale. ...
  • Santa Monica. ...
  • Palm Springs.

What income is rich in California? ›

To be financially comfortable in Southern California, you'd need a net worth of $1.3 million. Here's what it takes to be considered wealthy in 2022 by city ans ranked by net worth thresholds: San Francisco: $5.1 million. Southern California (includes Los Angeles and San Diego): $3.9 million.

What is America's richest city? ›

New York City — home to more than 345,000 millionaires — is the wealthiest city on Earth, according to a new report.

What community is the richest? ›

Loyola, Los Altos, California

Loyola, California, is the richest neighborhood in America. The average household income in Loyola is $326,069, with the median income a little lower at $246,563. The median listing price is $3,899,000.

What city has the most millionaires? ›

These are the world's top 10 cities with the highest number of...
  • New York. The financial capital of the USA, New York, tops the list with 345,600 millionaires. ...
  • Tokyo. ...
  • San Francisco Bay Area. ...
  • London. ...
  • Singapore. ...
  • Los Angeles. ...
  • Chicago. ...
  • Houston.
20 Sept 2022

Where do the richest people live in LA? ›

Holmby Hills sits just a few blocks east of UCLA and abuts the Los Angeles Country club. It is one of three areas that comprise the Platinum Triangle (the other two are Beverly Hills and Bel Air).

Where do the richest American live? ›

These are the 10 wealthiest cities in the world — and five are in the U.S. The total private wealth held by New York residents was found to exceed $3 trillion. New York City is home to more rich people than any other city in the world, according to a new report by investment migration consultancy Henley & Partners.

What beach do celebrities go to in California? ›

Laguna Beach has been home to many famous Hollywood stars over the years.

What street do most celebrities live on? ›

But by far, the most famous street in Beverly Hills, perhaps in all of LA, is Mulholland Drive. Besides being immortalized in film and music, Mulholland Drive has also been home to Hollywood royalty like Marlon Brando, Warren Beatty, Mary Tyler Moore, and Jack Nicholson.

Where do most successful actors live? ›

8 Best Cities for New Actors to Call Home
  • Los Angeles, CA. LA is another city synonymous with acting. ...
  • Las Vegas, NV. Viva las actors! ...
  • Atlanta, GA. Another unsurprising option, the TV and film industry has been booming in Atlanta thanks to tax incentives. ...
  • San Francisco, CA. ...
  • Chicago, IL. ...
  • Stamford, CT. ...
  • Austin, TX.
18 Jan 2022

What is the richest family name in the world? ›

For the fourth year in a row, the Waltons top the list of the world's richest families with a net worth of $224.5 billion.

Who are the top 5 richest families? ›

The Waltons with $212 billion24. The Mars family with $142 billion. The Kochs with $124 billion. The Hermès family with $112 billion.

Who is the richest family to ever exist? ›

HOUSE OF SAUD

This is the wealthiest family in history.

What is the richest street in LA? ›

No visit to Hollywood is complete without a stroll down the iconic Rodeo Drive. No need to save up your pennies, unless you are a local or incredibly wealthy visitor, this place is window shopping only.

What is the wealthiest county in the Bay Area? ›

Loudoun

What is the richest part of the Bay Area? ›

  • Marina District. All the wealthiest San Francisco neighborhoods have one thing in common: each makes you think it can't get any better. ...
  • Russian Hill. Neighboring Marina District to the East is the home to "the Crookedest Street in the World." ...
  • Pacific Heights. ...
  • Nob Hill. ...
  • Seacliff. ...
  • Presidio Heights. ...
  • Haight Ashbury. ...
  • Noe Valley.
13 Jun 2022

What is the most expensive city to live in America 2022? ›

New York City, NY.

What is the cheapest city to live in California 2022? ›

Sacramento. Sacramento is the cheapest large city to live in California. It's also the capital of California and one of the state's most diverse cities. It has its own funky local culture and also features easy access to popular destinations like San Francisco and Lake Tahoe.

Is it expensive to live in California 2022? ›

Average Cost of Living in California: $46,636 per year.

What town has the highest cost of living? ›

1. Manhattan (New York City) As of July 2022, the city's unemployment was 6.6%, a slight increase from the previous month and a drop from July 2021's unemployment rate of 10.1%. 6 That compares with a national unemployment rate of 3.5%.

What cities have the highest cost of living? ›

RankCITYCOUNTRY
1HONG KONGHONG KONG (SAR)
2ZURICHSWITZERLAND
3GENEVASWITZERLAND
4BASELSWITZERLAND
96 more rows
29 Jun 2022

Where is the cheapest but safest place to live in California? ›

Sacramento: one of the safest places to live in California

As the state capital city, Sacramento is also surprisingly one of the cheapest places to live in California. Downtown Sacramento is not that cheap, however, there are lots of smaller surrounding suburbs that have affordable rent and real estate prices.

What salary do you need to live comfortably in California? ›

According to BEA statistics, you'll need an income with at least $46,636 per year of take-home pay just to meet the average cost of living in California. That works out to about $3,886 per month. Things like savings and extras would be above and beyond that.

What salary do I need to live in California? ›

Typical Expenses
1 ADULT2 ADULTS (BOTH WORKING)
0 Children2 Children
Required annual income after taxes$36,328$97,513
Annual taxes$9,054$29,540
Required annual income before taxes$45,382$127,052
7 more rows

How much does a single person making $50000 get taxed in California? ›

If you make $50,000 a year living in the region of California, USA, you will be taxed $7,917. Your average tax rate is 8.59% and your marginal tax rate is 12%.

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