With its relatively mild climate, hundreds of miles of coastline, sports, entertainment, and top-tier higher education, it’s no wonder that California is a desirable place to live.
But living here comes with a price, especially if you want to own a home near the coast.
The latest data released by the California Association of Realtors shows the median single-family home price in the Golden State was $791,490 in March 2023. If you want to live in one of these seven counties, you can expect to pay $1 million or more.
7. Santa Cruz County. Median Home Price = $1,205,000
Santa Cruz, home to the famous boardwalk, university, picturesque coastline and laid back vibe, isn’t one of California’s most populated counties. But it can be expensive. The median price of a single-family home here is $1.2 million.
6. Alameda County. Median Home Price = $1,225,000
Encompassing the city of Oakland in the San Francisco Bay Area, Alameda County is the 7th-most populated in California. According to the California Association of Realtors, typical single-family homes here are selling for around $1.22 million.
5. Orange County. Median Home Price = $1,250,000
While Los Angeles might be known for its expensive mansions in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Hollywood and Malibu, data shows its smaller neighbor to the south, Orange County, is actually more expensive. The median cost of a single-family home here is $1.25 million.
4. Marin County. Median Home Price = $1,600,000
The rest of this list stays firmly in California’s pricey San Francisco Bay Area. Marin County, directly north of the Golden Gate Straight (and the Golden Gate Bridge) has a median home price of $1.6 million.
3. San Francisco. Median Home Price = $1,700,000
San Francisco, which is both a city and county, might be small geographically, but its home prices are super-sized. Living on the peninsula among the seven hills, cable cars, and skyscrapers will cost you around $1.7 million.
2. Santa Clara County. Median Home Price = $1,700,000
On the south end of the Bay Area, Santa Clara County is home to Silicon Valley – and all that tech money has translated into high real estate prices. A median single-family home is $1.7 million.
1. San Mateo County. Median Home Price = $1,860,000
San Mateo County, just south of San Francisco, boasts the most expensive median single-family home prices in the Bay Area and, likewise, all of California. This county encompasses communities on both the Bay and the Pacific coast, including Half Moon Bay, Daly City, Pacifica, Redwood City and Menlo Park. The median single-family home price is $1.86 million.
See the full list of median California home prices by region
Least expensive homes
To find the most affordable homes in California, you have to travel to the far northernmost part of the state. Siskiyou County, which straddles the border with Oregon, has a median single-family home price of $240,000, according to CAR.