The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In California For 2022


We used science and data to determine which cities in California that will put a big dent in your wallet.

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the most expensive places to live in California.

Beverly Hills, Santa Barbara, and Glendale all moved up HomeSnacks list of the top ten most expensive places to live in California for 2022; and surprisingly, none of these places hold the number one spot. So, the million dollar question, what California place earned this title? HomeSnacks knows and we've listed it below.

But, before you click that down arrow, you should probably know how we calculated this list. Yes, in order to determine the top ten most expensive places in California, we looked at the American Community Survey for data on cost of living in The Golden State: specifically, home to income ratio and rent to income ratio. And, folks, if you want to live in California's most expensive places, you're going to have to make at least $70,596/year. And if you want to live in the number one most expensive place, you might want to think about renting before you buy because its median home price is off the charts.

But, it's worth it. Many of the most expensive places on this list are some of Califonia's best places and that's because these places have the funds to keep its residents happy, safe, and living their best life.

To see a list of the California places where the boulevards are paved in gold and you have to make Mark Zuckerberg's salary to survive, keep reading.

Here are the 10 most expensive places to live in California for 2022:

  1. Coronado
  2. Beverly Hills
  3. Sausalito
  4. Millbrae
  5. Santa Barbara
  6. Solana Beach
  7. Glendale
  8. Rolling Hills Estates
  9. Santa Cruz
  10. San Marino

What's the most expensive place to live in California? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Coronado is the most expensive place to live in California.

So hopefully Ridgecrest (the cheapest place to live in California) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about California and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In California For 2022

1. Coronado

Coronado, CA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 24,526
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 15.2x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 41.6x (43rd most expensive)
More on Coronado: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Coronado comes in at $108,992 and the median home value is $1,656,800 for 2022.

2. Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 33,709
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 19.8x (most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 44.8x (94th most expensive)
More on Beverly Hills: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Beverly Hills comes in at $101,241 and the median home value is $2,000,001 for 2022.

3. Sausalito

Sausalito, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 7,177
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 12.0x (14th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 44.4x (83rd most expensive)
More on Sausalito: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Sausalito comes in at $120,920 and the median home value is $1,451,800 for 2022.

4. Millbrae

Millbrae, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7.5
/10

Population: 22,998
Rank Last Year: 33 (Up 29)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 12.1x (13th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 44.6x (89th most expensive)
More on Millbrae: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Millbrae comes in at $126,319 and the median home value is $1,528,900 for 2022.

5. Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 90,911
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 13.3x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 43.6x (73rd most expensive)
More on Santa Barbara: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Santa Barbara comes in at $81,618 and the median home value is $1,082,300 for 2022.

6. Solana Beach

Solana Beach, CA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 13,301
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 10)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 12.5x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 45.1x (99th most expensive)
More on Solana Beach: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Solana Beach comes in at $106,904 and the median home value is $1,333,200 for 2022.

7. Glendale

Glendale, CA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 199,357
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 11.6x (17th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 41.3x (40th most expensive)
More on Glendale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Glendale comes in at $70,596 and the median home value is $821,500 for 2022.

8. Rolling Hills Estates

Rolling Hills Estates, CA

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 8,025
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 9.1x (66th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 42.7x (60th most expensive)
More on Rolling Hills Estates: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Rolling Hills Estates comes in at $149,632 and the median home value is $1,362,900 for 2022.

9. Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, CA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 65,011
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 10.3x (30th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 42.5x (56th most expensive)
More on Santa Cruz: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Santa Cruz comes in at $86,618 and the median home value is $895,800 for 2022.

10. San Marino

San Marino, CA

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 13,020
Rank Last Year: 22 (Up 12)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 12.2x (12th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 47.0x (145th most expensive)
More on San Marino: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in San Marino comes in at $164,423 and the median home value is $2,000,001 for 2022.

Methodology: How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Golden State For 2022

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In California
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2016-2020 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in California to figure out which is the most expensive.

What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 426 places in California that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in California according to the data is Coronado. You can download the data here.

Summary: Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In California For 2022

Well there you have it, the places in California that have the highest cost of living, with Coronado ranking as the most expensive city in the Golden State.

Here's a look at the most affordable cities in California according to the data:

  1. Ridgecrest
  2. Coalinga
  3. Imperial

For more California reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In California

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Coronado 22.33 24,526 15.2x 41.6x
2 Beverly Hills 34.33 33,709 19.8x 44.8x
3 Sausalito 42.67 7,177 12.0x 44.4x
4 Millbrae 43.33 22,998 12.1x 44.6x
5 Santa Barbara 44.67 90,911 13.3x 43.6x
6 Solana Beach 48.0 13,301 12.5x 45.1x
7 Glendale 49.0 199,357 11.6x 41.3x
8 Rolling Hills Estates 53.67 8,025 9.1x 42.7x
9 Santa Cruz 54.67 65,011 10.3x 42.5x
10 San Marino 55.0 13,020 12.2x 47.0x
11 San Luis Obispo 57.67 47,402 11.3x 36.3x
12 West Hollywood 60.33 35,506 10.4x 41.1x
13 Carpinteria 62.0 13,449 9.5x 36.9x
14 Monterey 68.0 28,575 10.1x 43.6x
15 Ojai 69.0 7,613 9.8x 42.1x
16 Pacific Grove 75.0 15,471 10.1x 45.6x
17 Los Angeles 76.67 3,973,278 10.3x 42.9x
18 Sonoma 77.0 11,082 9.7x 44.9x
19 Monterey Park 77.33 60,597 10.1x 42.1x
20 Westminster 79.67 90,857 9.3x 39.8x
21 Burbank 80.67 103,411 10.0x 44.9x
22 East Palo Alto 81.0 29,448 11.3x 47.3x
23 Imperial Beach 83.0 27,334 9.9x 40.2x
24 Fountain Valley 84.0 56,118 8.6x 42.8x
25 Capitola 85.0 10,090 8.7x 42.2x
26 San Mateo 85.67 103,619 9.4x 47.4x
27 San Rafael 87.0 59,178 10.1x 47.6x
28 Hawthorne 88.33 85,410 10.4x 43.3x
29 Daly City 88.33 107,197 8.5x 44.6x
30 Culver City 91.33 38,913 9.4x 47.1x
31 San Bruno 92.33 44,663 8.5x 46.0x
32 San Gabriel 93.67 40,108 10.0x 45.9x
33 Inglewood 95.67 109,309 9.5x 41.4x
34 Redwood City 97.0 84,518 11.6x 50.8x
35 Alhambra 97.33 84,509 9.5x 44.5x
36 Santa Monica 97.67 91,600 14.8x 51.7x
37 South San Francisco 98.33 66,878 8.6x 46.5x
38 Irvine 98.67 272,694 8.0x 44.7x
39 Rosemead 99.33 53,850 9.6x 42.9x
40 Pasadena 99.67 142,017 9.7x 47.6x
41 Larkspur 101.67 12,363 11.3x 51.2x
42 Dana Point 101.67 33,782 8.8x 47.4x
43 Davis 103.0 68,640 9.0x 45.4x
44 Costa Mesa 103.67 112,958 8.9x 46.9x
45 Laguna Beach 104.0 22,991 14.6x 53.4x
46 Walnut 104.0 29,764 7.5x 43.0x
47 Foster City 107.0 33,056 8.6x 49.4x
48 El Monte 108.67 113,917 8.9x 39.9x
49 Los Alamitos 109.67 11,521 8.6x 46.6x
50 Berkeley 110.67 123,065 11.6x 51.6x
51 Bell 112.0 35,301 9.1x 39.3x
52 Cudahy 112.33 23,606 9.1x 34.1x
53 Seaside 112.67 34,063 7.9x 36.4x
54 Lawndale 113.33 32,533 8.4x 42.2x
55 Newport Beach 113.67 86,694 14.8x 55.6x
56 Artesia 113.67 16,456 8.1x 42.6x
57 National City 118.83 61,342 8.7x 38.8x
58 Bell Gardens 119.0 41,770 8.9x 34.9x
59 Morro Bay 119.67 10,592 8.8x 46.8x
60 Watsonville 121.33 52,398 8.1x 40.9x
61 El Cajon 121.33 103,249 8.4x 40.3x
62 Huntington Park 121.67 57,761 9.1x 40.9x
63 Cupertino 123.0 59,799 10.2x 55.4x
64 South El Monte 123.33 20,791 8.4x 39.8x
65 Anaheim 125.0 353,085 7.9x 44.0x
66 Malibu 125.33 12,280 12.3x 59.3x
67 Arcata 126.0 18,266 9.2x 37.6x
68 Manhattan Beach 126.0 35,064 13.0x 59.6x
69 Campbell 126.33 42,891 9.4x 52.8x
70 Grover Beach 126.67 13,481 8.1x 43.0x
71 Burlingame 127.67 30,071 14.5x 60.0x
72 Montebello 128.5 62,697 8.3x 43.5x
73 Monrovia 130.67 37,636 8.5x 48.3x
74 Arcadia 131.0 57,053 11.9x 56.3x
75 La Mesa 131.33 60,208 7.9x 44.4x
76 St. Helena 131.33 6,049 12.4x 58.2x
77 Mountain View 131.67 80,104 10.8x 57.9x
78 Rancho Palos Verdes 132.67 41,635 8.3x 51.5x
79 Temple City 135.0 35,699 8.7x 49.6x
80 Tustin 135.0 80,815 7.8x 46.9x
81 Garden Grove 136.67 172,800 7.9x 45.1x
82 Oceanside 136.67 175,694 7.1x 41.8x
83 Huntington Beach 138.0 199,778 8.2x 49.6x
84 El Segundo 138.0 16,575 10.2x 57.3x
85 Cerritos 138.0 49,388 6.6x 44.5x
86 Petaluma 138.33 60,865 7.2x 45.8x
87 Walnut Creek 138.67 69,836 7.5x 48.4x
88 Laguna Hills 139.0 31,613 7.3x 47.3x
89 Sunnyvale 139.0 152,569 9.3x 55.7x
90 Goleta 139.33 32,142 8.3x 50.1x
91 Long Beach 139.33 462,081 8.8x 47.7x
92 Menlo Park 140.67 35,211 11.9x 66.2x
93 Saratoga 141.0 31,084 9.9x 60.2x
94 Palo Alto 141.33 67,973 11.5x 65.0x
95 Los Gatos 143.0 31,943 11.4x 63.0x
96 Pismo Beach 143.67 8,042 8.4x 50.3x
97 Hermosa Beach 144.0 19,147 11.6x 63.4x
98 Escondido 144.67 150,396 7.3x 42.1x
99 Maywood 145.33 27,127 8.4x 44.2x
100 Fort Bragg 145.33 7,279 8.2x 39.2x

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About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.