Affordable California Markets: How to Live Like a King in CA without Breaking the Bank

Despite recent news of outrageous housing costs across California, living in The “Golden” State doesn’t have to mean draining your bank account.

In fact, as surprising as it may seem, California’s still home to a number of affordable (and desirable) housing markets.

You just have to know where to look.

Are you on the hunt for a California dream home without the equally fantastic price tag? Focus your efforts on these budget-friendly markets:

Tracy / Manteca, California

Homes in the Tracy / Manteca markets typically range from $375K to $500K – a far cry from the $1 million-plus homes just 10 minutes down the road. Tracy’s also home to top-notch schools, and Manteca offers a quick and easy commute to nearby Stockton.

Here’s a great example of a Tracy home. A three-bedroom, two-bath property just seconds from the local park and playground, it’s a steal at $470K.

Modesto / Turlock, California

Located in Central California just east of San Francisco, the Modesto / Turlock area’s another great place to buy. The median home price in Modesto is right around $286K, while those in Turlock aren’t much higher at $307K.

Here’s a snapshot of what you can find in the area:

You won’t find many four-bedroom California properties at this price point. At $290,000, it boasts four bedrooms, two baths and a fully converted in-law suite in the garage.

Tulare / Visalia, California

With a median price point of just $200K, you won’t find many CA markets as affordable as Tulare. Nearby Visalia’s not too shabby either. At a median price of just $230K, Visalia’s homes offer a seriously affordable opportunity for Fresno commuters.

Check out this Visalia home, for example built only 4 years ago. Three bedrooms, two baths and only $297,000, it’s a great option for first-time buyers are anyone sick of the skyrocketing prices of bigger CA cities.

Folsom / Elk Grove, California

Sacramento’s known for its sky-high housing prices, but nearby Folsom and Elk Grove? Commuters can find affordable real estate without too bad of a drive. In Folsom, median prices hover around $500K, while Elk Grove’s are about $430K.

Here’s a gorgeous Elk Grove home available right now for only $399,000. With four bedrooms, two baths and more than 1,800 square feet, gives a great amount of living space.

Salinas / Watsonville, California

In Salinas, home prices clock in just under $500K, on average, and in nearby Watsonville, they’re just slightly higher – around $578K. Salinas is also a great place to find affordable eco-friendly housing. According to a recent study from, homes with green features actually come in 14 percent more affordable than the median home price for the area.

Here’s a Salinas home currently on the market at $499,900. This three bedrooms, three baths home is a move-in-ready with many upgrades. It even has a great fire pit out back and is across the street from a golf course and shopping.

Hollister, California

Homes in Hollister offer some of the most affordable prices in the San Jose area. At just under $500K, Hollister properties are ideal for Silicon Valley professionals who can’t afford the soaring prices of the Palo Alto area.

Take this $379K property, for example. Updated kitchen and move-in ready, it boasts three bedrooms, one bath and private backyard patio.

San Bernardino / Riverside, California

San Bernardino and Riverside also offer some of the most affordable housing prices in the greater Los Angeles area. Riverside’s housing prices come just under $400K, while San Bernardino’s sit at $255K. Compared to the $900,000-plus homes just around the corner in Rancho Cucamonga, these markets offer buyers serious bang for their buck.

Don’t Join the Rat Race

Tired of fighting the uphill affordability battle in California’s biggest cities? Focus on these CA markets instead. With lower prices, easy commutes and great schools, they might just have the dream home you’re looking for. And once you find it? Connect with SnapFi. We’re experts in Cali homebuying, and we’re here to help.

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