Ultimate List of 7 Cheapest Places to Live in Southern California

March 16th, 2023  / Author: Zachariah Peterson
Insights / Locations

Southern California is known for its beautiful weather, stunning beaches, and bustling cities. However, living in this region of the United States can also come with a high price tag. The cost of living in cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara can be prohibitively expensive for many people.

Thankfully, there are still affordable places to live in Southern California that offer a high quality of life. In this article, we'll take a look at 7 of the cheapest places to live in Southern California. From small towns to up-and-coming cities, we'll explore the best options for those who want to enjoy all that Southern California offers without breaking the bank.

Whether you're a recent college graduate, a young family, or a retiree on a fixed income, these 10 affordable communities are worth considering as your next home.

1. Brawley

Brawley is a town located in the southern part of California's Imperial County. Known for its strong agricultural economy, Brawley relies heavily on year-round farming and is considered one of the most productive agricultural regions in the United States.

In terms of housing, Brawley has an average home price of $330,000 for a single-family home as of February 2023, making it one of the cheapest places in Southern California. The town offers a range of housing options, from historic homes to newer developments.

Despite its small size, Brawley offers a vibrant community with a variety of local events and attractions. It is a two-hour drive from San Diego, and the Brawley price range is far lower than the San Diego cost of living.

2. Adelanto

Adelanto is a small town located in San Bernardino County, California, with a population of around 36,000 residents. The town is known for its affordable housing and relatively low cost of living compared to other cities in Southern California.

In March 2023, the median home price in Adelanto was around $360,000, significantly lower than many other cities in the area. In terms of utilities, Adelanto's costs are lower than many places in California but higher than the national average.  This makes Adelanto a popular destination for those looking to own a home in Southern California without breaking the bank.

The town is located approximately 2 hours from downtown Los Angeles, making it a popular commuter town for those working in the city. Additionally, the town is located near popular destinations like the Mojave National Preserve and Big Bear Lake. Overall, Adelanto offers affordable living in a scenic desert setting.

3. Oxnard

Oxnard is part of the greater Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura metropolitan area, and it's known for its beautiful beaches, mild climate, and agricultural heritage. One of the most notable aspects of Oxnard is its relatively affordable housing market.

Most neighborhoods in Oxnard have a median home price of around $520,000, which is considered cheap for a coastal town in Southern California. This makes Oxnard an attractive option for those looking to live near the beach without paying the high prices of other coastal cities in the region. The city's proximity to Los Angeles and Thousand Oaks makes it a convenient location for those commuting to work.

Oxnard is also known for its diverse population, which includes a large Latino community. This diversity is reflected in the city's culinary scene, which features a variety of Mexican and Central American cuisine. Overall, this small town is an excellent option for those looking for a coastal lifestyle at a more affordable price point. 

4. San Pedro

San Pedro is a coastal community at the southern end of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. It's known for its historic architecture, diverse population, and bustling port. This means that is is not a regular candidate for this list. Its median home price is around $750K, which is much higher than in other towns on this list.

However, if you take into consideration the proximity to downtown LA and that it has lower food prices than most of the US, San Pedro is an affordable, family-friendly place. Not to mention that this coastal community has an abundance of exciting amenities, such as Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and Battleship USS Iowa Museum.

5. Morro Bay

Morro Bay

Morro Bay is a charming coastal town in San Luis Obispo County, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It's known for its beautiful natural scenery, including Morro Rock, a towering volcanic peak that dominates the coastline.

Morro Bay's cost of living is generally higher than the national average, with a median home price of around $700,000. However, there is a diverse range of homes on the market, with listing prices ranging from $400,000 to more than a million dollars. This means there is a wide range of options for individuals and families looking to buy a home in Morro Bay.

For those who prefer to rent, prices generally range from $1500 to $2000 per month, depending on the size and location of the apartment or house. These prices may seem steep, but they are still lower than many other coastal towns in Southern California.

Overall, while the cost of living in Morro Bay may be higher than in some other towns in the Golden State, it offers a diverse community with a range of housing options and a high quality of life. Whether you're looking for a place to retire, raise a family, or simply enjoy the beach lifestyle, Morro Bay is definitely worth considering.

6. Moreno Valley

Moreno Valley is a city located in Riverside County, California, and is situated approximately 60 miles east of Los Angeles. One of the most notable aspects of Moreno Valley is its low medical costs, which are some of the lowest in California. This is due in part to the city's many healthcare providers and hospitals, which offer competitive pricing for medical services.

The city is surrounded by mountains, which provide a beautiful backdrop for hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities. There are also many parks and recreation areas in the city, which offer opportunities for picnicking, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

Despite its affordable cost of living, the median household income in Moreno Valley is $70,385, which is relatively high compared to other affordable cities in Southern California. This means that residents can enjoy a high quality of life without having to pay a high cost of living.

7. Indio

Indio is a city located in Riverside County, California, and is situated approximately 130 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The city is part of the greater Coachella Valley region, known for its warm climate, golf courses, and vibrant music and arts scene.

Indio has an affordable housing market. The median home price is around $490K, which is relatively affordable compared to many other cities in Southern California. Additionally, for those who prefer to rent, prices go from $1,000 to $1,500, depending on the type of apartment you are looking for.

The city is known for its many golf courses, as well as the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which attracts thousands of music lovers each year. Indio is accessible via Interstate 10, which connects Indio to both Los Angeles and nearby Palm Springs.

Overall, Indio is a great option for those looking for an affordable place to live in Southern California while still being close to major urban centers like Los Angeles. Its warm climate and range of recreational opportunities make it an exciting and dynamic place to call home.

Who Wins the Contest?

In this blog post, we've explored some of the cheapest places to live in Southern California. However, it's important to note that the term "cheap" can mean different things to different people. What may be affordable to one person may not be to another, based on their lifestyle and financial situation.

In addition to affordable housing, many of these towns offer a high quality of life, with access to outdoor activities, community events, and cultural attractions. From hiking and biking to fishing and surfing, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the beautiful Southern California landscape without breaking the bank.

Selling Your Southern California Home?

If you are looking to move from your current location in Southern California and move to some of these places we’ve listed, make sure to contact SleeveUp Homes. We will buy your house for top dollar. Additionally, we will do it without agent fees and repair costs!



If you want to sell fast and are worried about how long the traditional process takes, and the commission and fees involved, consider working with SleeveUp Homes.