Top 10 Most Affordable Places To Buy In The Inland Empire

The Inland Empire is a nickname for the metropolitan area located to the east of Los Angeles. This is a popular area to settle for Southern California residents searching to buy because affordable Inland Empire real estate provides a place to live just outside of Los Angeles and Orange County but still within close proximity to everything that makes SoCal so fun. With such high real estate prices compared to the rest of the U.S. it’s hard to afford a home in Southern California, but if you know where to look and you’re flexible, it’s possible. For reference, here’s what $350,000 can get you in Riverside County.

To help you decide where you can settle within the Inland Empire, we looked at the cities within San Bernardino and Riverside Counties and identified which communities have the most affordable real estate markets according to MLS data. For more affordable real estate in Southern California check out our list of the most affordable and safe cities in LA and the most affordable places to buy in Orange County

Twentynine Palms San Bernardino County California First Team Real Estate

1. 29 Palms

Located in the southern portion of the Mojave Desert in San Berardino County, the city of 29 Palms is home to popular Southern California camping destination Joshua Tree National Park and the world’s largest Marine Corps training base, the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. Joshua Tree is known for its rock climbing, hiking, and offers tons of off-roading and dirt biking trails. Other popular and quirky attractions include Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum, the World Famous Crochet Museum which is free and open 24/7, and the Scott Lloyd Doten ShangriLa Studio and Joshua Tree Drive-In Alien Invasion, a car museum-meets-art installation featuring a 1950s drive-in being invaded by aliens.

The city offers mountain views and beautiful star-filled desert nights making it popular among artists. Downtown features murals and public art and the surrounding areas are commonly used as a location for photography and film. View 29 Palms Real Estate

Blythe Riverside County California First Team Real Estate

2. Blythe

Blythe is part of Riverside County, located in the Palo Verde Valley near the California/Arizona border. Many people flock to town during the summer months to enjoy water sports along the nearby Colorado River, the town’s revenue based mainly on tourism and travelers.

One of the many remarkable and quirky landmarks that you will find in Blythe is the Intaglios, located in the Colorado Desert. Also known as the Blythe Geoglyphs, these massive figures on the ground are in fact man-made, but they certainly look like a work of art created by aliens. No one quite knows why they were created but the imagery carved on the rocky part of the soil includes roughly 600 markings. Blythe also hosts an Annual Bluegrass Music Festival every January attracting over 13,000 people both fans and performers. View Blythe Real Estate

3. Adelanto

Adelanto is a part of San Bernardino County and has a population of 32,039. Formerly fruit tree orchards, the town is now is neighbor to Victorville and the city’s army airfield named George Air Force Base. A unique must-visit attraction is the Elmer Bottle Tree Ranch along Route 66. The ranch encompasses one man’s passion for creating and sharing his passion for the oddly beautiful.

The city is popular among outdoor enthusiasts because it’s near several lakes and recreational areas including El Mirage Dry Lake where people bring their off-road vehicles and land yachts. Adelanto Stadium is another attraction in town, now hosting a variety of events and concerts throughout the year. View Adelanto Real Estate

Needles San Bernardino County California First Team Real Estate

4. Needles

One of the oldest cities in San Bernardino County, Needles is located along the Colorado River. Thanks to the classic Route 66 which through downtown, Needles is becoming a destination stop.

The main street, located on Highway 40, is lined in stores including everything any traveler may need with the stunning backdrop of the Colorado River. Across the river is the state of Arizona, and the city is just a three-hour drive from Palm Springs.

The city gets its name from the Mohave Mountain peaks in Topock and offers several parks, recreation centers and facilities. In total, Needles has 9 parks including rodeo grounds, a community use recreation center, golf course and senior citizens center. Popular parks and attractions nearby include the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge and Moabi Regional Park. View Needles Real Estate

5. Barstow

Barstow is a major transportation hub in the Inland Empire located where Interstate 15, 40 and Highway 58 converge. Once a small mining town, Barstow is now a thriving community. The city has several classic drive-in movie theaters, museums and is home to the Mohave River Valley Museum.

Barstow has an Outlet Mall and several of nearby attractions to enjoy including the Rainbow Basin Natural Area, NASA Goldstone Visitors Center, painted rocks, and Route 66 Mother Road Museum. Among affordable Inland Empire real estate, Barstow is a great bet! View Barstow Real Estate

Desert Landscape In Yucca Valley, Ca

6. Yucca Valley

Located between 29 Palms and Desert Hot Springs, Yucca Valley sits at the gateway to Joshua Tree National Park. Yucca Valley is a prime location for outdoor sports lovers because it is close to hiking and equestrian trails around Joshua Tree as well as rock climbing, water sport along the Colorado River, snow sports in Big Bear and breathtaking starry nights all year long. 

Yucca Valley also offers plenty of potential for vacation homes and short-term rentals. In fact, there are several extremely popular and wacky AirBnbs in the area including the Area 55 Futuro House shaped like a UFO,  this oasis with a hot tub, and this farmhouse with over 100 Joshua trees on the property. The properties book up months – sometimes even years – in advance because so many people want to experience the one-of-a-kind locations. View Yucca Valley Real Estate

Desert Hot Springs Riverside County California First Team Real Estate

7. Desert Hot Springs

Desert Hot Springs is one of the fastest-growing communities in Southern California thanks to its location near Palm Springs and all of the conveniences and amenities of the area. With optimal views of the Coachella Valley and thousands of acres of open space, it’s no wonder so many people are drawn to the area. Conveniently located near an international airport, the city welcomes visitors and business developers with attractions all its own.

Located less than 30 minutes from luxury spas, resorts, world-class golfing and some of the most coveted recreational spots in SoCal, Desert Hot Springs is prime Riverside County real estate. Residents enjoy majestic mountain vistas and an elevated view of the Coachella Valley. View Desert Hot Springs Real Estate

Victorville San Bernardino County California First Team Real Estate

8. Victorville

Tucked into the southwestern portion of San Bernardino County, Victorville has a population of 131,409 and ranked as one of the Top 100 places to live in 2019. Although the city was hit hard in the last few years of the recession, things are starting to turn around. Several businesses have been relocating to the area as it is one of the most cost-effective locations within the state to do business, the mall recently having undergone a multi-million dollar renovation.

You can visit Restaurant Row for a night out, and their Fall Festival held the first weekend of October draws up to 30,000 people annually. Some of the most popular and safe neighborhoods in Victorville include Spring Valley Lake, Mountain View Acres, and El Rio Road/Dos Palmas Road. If you have any questions about the Victor Valley area, contact the First Team experts at our High Desert office for advice on residential as well as commercial real estate. View Victorville Real Estate

San Bernardino San Bernardino County California First Team Real Estate

9. San Bernardino

Also ranking on’s list of top places to live in the U.S., San Bernardino is a large city with a population of 242,661. The city is divided into several informal districts including a business district in the southern portion of town, Downtown, and the University District which supports the California State University including centralized shopping, dining, and residential space.

Minor League Baseball’s Inland Empire 66ers play at the local San Manuel Stadium and the Deep Creek Hot Springs hidden nearby in the northern Mojave desert is a can’t miss. There are also several ultra-affluent neighborhoods in town with million-dollar homes: Del Rosa, Muscoy, and Verdemont. View San Berardino Real Estate

10. Hemet

Nestled within the valley, Hemet is surrounded by the San Jacinto Mountains and located north of Diamond Valley Lake which is open for recreational activities as well as supplies the city water.

Affordable Inland Empire real estate in this city is a great investment because Hemet has a great location with the Temecula Valley. The city maintains the area’s natural beauty, named a Tree City USA for the past 20 years for its commitment to the local forest. View Hemet Real Estate

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