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Southern California real estate is expensive. So if you want to buy a home for $300,000 to $400,000, your options are limited – but still very real. Based on your first-time buyer price range, here are the five most popular cities in Southern California for you to find your next home. For more ideas on where to purchase with a tight homebuyer budget, check out the top 10 most affordable places to buy in the Inland Empire

Homes for sale in Riverside, CA

Riverside, CA is located just outside of Orange County and Los Angeles backing up to the San Bernardino Mountains. A thriving and diverse community, Riverside is one of the first places buyers will search for affordable Southern California real estate. Complete with a picturesque and walkable downtown district, the city offers tons of family-friendly neighborhoods and fun things to do. With a wide range of affordable homes for sale, condos, and even grand estates, Riverside real estate provides options for nearly any home buyer budget. 

Things to do in Riverside: 

  • Visit the famous Mission Inn Hotel – With past guests including U.S. Presidents, Hollywood stars, and royalty, this local landmark is well known among locals and visitors. The best time to visit is for the holidays when they put on their impressive Festival of Lights. 
  • Take a walk in the UCR Botanical Gardens – The University of Riverside helps keep the city fun and youthful. Even if you’re not a student, you can enjoy the 39 acres of gardens and outdoor wonders. There is also the UCR California Museum of Photography in downtown to visit as well. 
  • Explore downtown Riverside – Visit the farmer’s market on Saturdays, join in the First Thursday Art Walks, pop in for a special event, or grab a bite to eat at any of the local eateries. There’s never a dull moment! 

Riverside real estate trends

Graph showing Riverside real estate statistics on for sale, sold and pending properties over the last 12 months

In November there were 564 homes for sale in Riverside according to data from Trendgraphix. Inventory has dropped 35.9% over the past year, but demand (judged by pending sales) is up 14.2% from this time last year. The average sold price is currently $554,000 for the city. 

For sale in Riverside for $300-$400K

Home exterior with lush front yard, white picket fence, driveway and attached garage.

Offered at: $377,000
3 Beds | 2.5 Baths | 1,325 sqft.
7108 Rutland Ave, Riverside 

This adorable abode features tons of mature fruit trees in the front yard and lots of shade. Inside you’ll find a brick fireplace and a modern kitchen with views of the backyard. The large backyard has more fruit trees and a covered patio.  Just down the street from Rutland park, this is a perfect SoCal starter home. 

Homes for sale in Menifee, CA

Also located within Riverside County, homes for sale in Menifee are popular among first-time home buyers searching for an opportunity to break into the Southern California real estate market. Located next to Temecula, the city has undergone tons of growth in the last few years with even more developments to come including new master-planned communities. According to Gina Gonzalez, economic development director with the City of Menifee, California, the city’s population is projected to grow by 8% by 2021, reaching more than 106,000 residents.

Things to do in Menifee: 

  • Splash around the DropZone Waterpark – This seasonal waterpark allows you to learn to surf or bodyboard on the FlowRider, features a lazy river, kids play zone and more. When things get hot in the summers, residents head to DropZone. 
  • Give in to your bookworm tendencies at the Sun City Library – This public library has gone through several expansions over the years to meet the city’s growing needs. Starting out as a weekly bookmobile service, the library is now a pillar in the community. 
  • Visit Menifee Lakes Country Club – Golf on the lush grass and enjoy the serene soundings. It is a public course with affordable prices and friendly staff!

Menifee real estate stats

Graph showing Menifee real estate statistics on for sale, sold and pending properties over the last 12 months

The average sold price for Menifee real estate in November 2019 was $363,000, up 1.7% from this time last year. There are currently 351 homes for sale on the market with 157 sold this month. Compared to this time last year, demand is up 67.3%! 

For sale in Menifee for $300-$400K

Home exterior with large tree, driveway and lush landscaping.

Offered at: $350,000
3 Beds | 3 Baths | 1,554 sqft. 
25754 Dorval Court, Menifee

Featuring a new driveway and space for an RV with hookups, this Menifee home is a great opportunity for first-time buyers and investors alike. Including a spacious kitchen, shed for extra storage, and attached 2-car garage, there’s plenty of space for the whole family. 

Homes for sale in Long Beach, CA

Long Beach is a vibrant city with dozens of different unique neighborhoods and pockets of real estate. From high-end luxury communities like Naples Island and Bixby Knolls to affordable neighborhoods and condos further inland, Long Beach real estate is inclusive and varied. Technically located within LA County just past Orange County, Long Beach is a world all its own with seemingly endless local attractions to keep you entertained every day of the year. Long Beach is also one of the most popular places to buy in SoCal with a budget of $500-$600K

Things to do in Long Beach: 

  • Browse Retro Row on 4th Street – Stretching between Cherry and Junipero, Retro Row is home to over 40 kitchy, hip, independent merchants. It’s bike-friendly, hosts tons of unique events and full of the creative spirit that makes Long Beach such a cool place to live.
  • Grab a craft beer – Long Beach’s craft beer scene has been steadily growing over the past decade, so you’ve got a lot of options when it comes to grabbing a local pint. Some of the best breweries in town include Beachwood, Trademark Brewing, Liberation Brewing Co., and newcomer Ambitious Ales.  
  • Check out a local event at the Queen Mary – For Halloween they host a Dark Harbor haunted event with mazes and ghouls. For Christmas, the village and boat are decked out in holiday lights with ice skating, snow play, and carolers. Every February there is a ScotsFestival and International Highland Games. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. No matter what time of the year, there’s always something fun happening! 

Long Beach Real Estate Stats

Graph showing Long Beach real estate statistics on for sale, sold and pending properties over the last 12 months

There are currently 449 homes for sale in Long Beach with an average sale price of $641,000. While inventory has dropped 24.3% year-over-year, demand is up 20.9%. 

For sale in Long Beach for $300-$400K

Living room with TV stand, ceiling fan, red accent wall, and couch.

Offered at: $349,900
2 Beds | 1 Bath | 934 sqft.
3452 Elm Avenue #302, Long Beach

Located in the highly coveted Bixby Knolls neighborhood, this starter condo is a top floor end unit with a personal balcony. The community includes a picnic area on the first floor, secured entrance and it’s within walking distance of all the charm and entertainment Bixby Knolls has to offer. 

Homes for sale in Moreno Valley, CA 

Thanks to a wide range of housing options including affordable single-family homes, condos, and executive estates, Moreno Valley is one of the fastest-growing cities in California and the second-most populous in Riverside County. With a comfortable suburban feel, Moreno Valley real estate offers homeowners tons of parks throughout the city and all the essentials you need. The area is popular among commuters heading into Los Angeles and Orange County as well. 

Things to do in Moreno Valley: 

  • Geek out at the Western Science Center – Dedicated to all things natural history, you will find a variety of artifacts and fossils here. From wolves and saber-toothed cats to a Columbian mammoth named “Xena”, discover what Southern California treasures have been hidden from the Ice Age and beyond. 
  • Enjoy the great outdoors at Lake Perris – From birdwatching to boating, Lake Perris is full of natural beauty to enjoy. Swimming, picnicking, camping, and fishing keep locals busy during the spring and summer months. 
  • Take a hike at Diamond Valley Lake – Offering more beautiful vistas, Diamond Valley Lake has tons of hiking and biking trails in the surrounding hills around the water. 

Moreno Valley real estate stats

Graph showing Moreno Valley real estate statistics on for sale, sold and pending properties over the last 12 months

Pending sales are down over the last month in Moreno Valley, but that is to be expected during the slower holiday season on the market. Inventory is down to just 284 homes for sale and the average sold price within the city is $345,000 for the month of November 2019. 

For sale in Moreno Valley for $300-$400K

Blue home exterior with driveway and attached garage.

Offered at: $315,000
3 Beds | 2.5 Baths | 1,468 sqft.
11789 Carlisle Court, Moreno Valley

Ideally situated on a cul-de-sac street, this Moreno Valley home features vaulted ceilings, tons of light, and a formal living and dining room. Upgrades include a new roof, new paint inside and out, and a new dishwasher. 

Homes for sale in Lake Elsinore, CA

Surrounded by majestic mountains, Lake Elsinore is the perfect place to settle if you’re in search of some extra space and the great outdoors. The suburb offers plenty of affordable housing and a small-town vibe. Very much a growing community, the city is diverse and continually expanding. Thanks to affordable real estate, future growth, and quality schools, Lake Elsinore is a top pick for homebuyers on a budget. 

Things to do in Lake Elsinore: 

  • Hike Walker Canyon – Lake Elsinore has its 15 minutes of fame whenever Southern California experiences a super bloom, and Walker Canyon is the absolute best place to check it out. Blanketed in poppies after a year of good rain, Walker Canyon is a must-visit during the super bloom and an easy hike to enjoy year-round. 
  • Explore Ortega Falls – The best time to visit any waterfall is after the rains, and Ortega Falls is no exception. A great hike with lots to look at, get ready to climb over some rocks to get to your final destination. 
  • Catch a minor league game at Storm Stadium – The Lake Elsinore Storm minor league baseball team plays at The Diamond and it’s a great way to spend an affordable night out with the family. The venue also hosts concerts, holiday events and more for residents to enjoy throughout the year. 

Lake Elsinore real estate stats

Graph showing Lake Elsinore real estate statistics on for sale, sold and pending properties over the last 12 months

The average sold price in Lake Elsinore for November 2019 was $367,000, up 2.5% year-over-year. With a total of 255 homes for sale currently, sold properties are on the rise over the last year as demand increases for this community. 

For sale in Lake Elsinore for $300-$400K

Home exterior with desert landscaping.

Offered at: $329,000
3 Beds | 2.5 Baths | 1,631 sqft. 
34193 Telma Drive, Lake Elsinore 

Located in the coveted Canyon Hills community, this home enjoys views of the neighborhood and surrounding hills. The open concept great room is perfect for entertaining and the HOA includes natural parks, recreation areas, hiking trails, a pool, spa, splash pad and more. 

Homes for sale $300,000 – $400,000

Where you decide the purchase with a budget of $300,000 – $400,000 is up to you, but there are plenty of options to choose from in Riverside, Long Beach, Menifee, Moreno Valley, Lake Elsinore and beyond. Click here to search for homes in your price range or browse below.