Top 10 Most Affordable Places To Buy In Orange County

Orange County is an amazing place to call home. With nearly perfect weather year-round, beautiful beach communities, and an unbeatable mix of suburban and urban cities, it’s no wonder it’s a highly sought after – and expensive – place to call home. That’s why we looked specifically at all of our amazing cities to find the top 10 most affordable places to buy in Orange County. 

To help you decide where to start your home search, here’s a list of the top communities with the most affordable real estate markets according to our Orange County Market Report, based on CRMLS (California Regional Multiple Listing Service) data. 

What is the median home price in Orange County?

The current median sale price of single-family homes within Orange County has jumped up to $1,080,000. Since the pandemic, home prices have continued to hit record highs across Southern California. This July in Orange County, the median sales price rose 16.6%. 

Among the most expensive places to live in Orange County are Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and Coto de Caza. 

How much do you need to make to buy a house in Orange County? 

According to the Housing Affordability Index from CAR, Orange County has a median home price of $1,109,500 making the minimum qualifying income $204,400 to be able to afford a monthly payment of $5,110 (including taxes and insurance). 

California townhomes and condos however have a median home price of only $585,000 making the minimum qualifying income $108,000.

What is the cheapest city in Orange County?

The following cities have the lowest average sales prices across Orange County, making them the cheapest places to live in Orange County. Home prices in any given city depend on tons of factors including square footage,lot size, local school districts, amenities, and more. The most affordable homes are condos and townhomes which are perfect for first-time homebuyers looking to start building equity and wealth. 

Calculations of area sale prices are based on single-family homes only, but these cities all have plenty of affordable condos and townhomes to choose from as well. While you may not find the home of your dreams in these cities, they’re the perfect places to begin. 

1. Anaheim

Average Sale Price: $769,870
View Anaheim Real Estate

Obviously, the biggest attraction in the city of Anaheim is the Disneyland Resort, but the city has so much more to offer residents – not just tourists. The diversity and convenience are a great draw for homeowners, with a wide array of real estate to choose from. Besides all the freeways you could ever need, there are tons of places to eat and quite a few local breweries popping up as well. 

Anaheim real estate is a great investment because, with so many things to do nearby, rental and buyer demand is always high. Anaheim, CA is also one of the most popular places for homebuyers with a budget of $500K –  $600K to search for a home along with Corona in Riverside County, and Long Beach in LA County. 

The city is home to Angel Stadium with several new urban condos and apartments surrounding the area, creating mixed-use streets and new communities. The real estate agents in our Anaheim Hills office are a great resource if you have any questions about local housing inventory and more. 

2. Buena Park

Average Sale Price: $831,664
View Buena Park Real Estate

Home to Knott’s Berry Farm, Medieval Times, Pirate Dinner Adventure and more, Buena Park is certainly an entertaining city to live in! The selection of food has continued to grow in the area in addition to a brand new mall. 

Located next to Anaheim and just a few short miles from Downtown Santa Ana, Buena Park is also known as the “Center of the Southland”. Real estate in Buena Park tends to be older, but the city offers a wide variety of single-level properties and great starter homes. 

3. Santa Ana

Average Sale Price: $845,221
View Santa Ana Real Estate

The city of Santa Ana continues to grow and change with an eclectic mix of real estate and micro-communities. The city includes several historic neighborhoods like Floral Park, Washington Square and Historic French Park, favored for period homes, spacious lots, tree-lined streets, vintage lampposts, and friendly neighbors. 

However, keep in mind that zip code matters when finding the most affordable homes. Floral Park and French Park have more expensive homes than neighborhoods like Riverview West or Santa Anita. 

The Downtown area or the Artists Village is constantly seeing new businesses including the 4th Street Market, escape rooms, sushi, and more. Santa Ana is a great spot for first-time buyers to browse! There are also tons of condos available for sale near South Coast Plaza. Nearby Tustin is another great option as well for homebuyers looking for affordable homes with a charming downtown as well. 

4. Garden Grove

Average Sale Price: $867,283
View Garden Grove Real Estate

If you like affordable homes with larger yards, we suggest starting your real estate search in Garden Grove. A diverse community located next to Westminster, Santa Ana, and Anaheim, Garden Grove is a vibrant and progressive city. 

This bustling city offers residents employment assistance, educational programs, recreational programs, and family entertainment, as well as the highest number of churches and places of worship per capita in California, including the world-famous Crystal Cathedral. 

5. La Habra

Average Sale Price: $828,986
View La Habra Real Estate

A quiet bedroom community located in the northernmost corner of Orange County, La Habra is known for its Children’s Museum and friendly environment. The public schools in La Habra are above average and the city offers a well-rounded program of civic, recreational, social and cultural services to its residents. 

The community has a family-friendly, rural feel, and even hosts an annual Corn Festival every August. 

6. Westminster

Average Sale Price: $882,904
View Westminster Real Estate

Having won the All-America City Award in 1996, Westminster is admired for its rich heritage and diversity of the population. The city is probably best known for its Little Saigon neighborhood where a large number of Vietnamese refugees settled in the 1970s. Amazing food, cultural events, and strong economic development make Westminster a great place to live in Orange County. 

Located just inland of Huntington Beach, Westminster is quickly becoming a foodie hot spot with tons of highly new restaurants popping up regularly. 

7. Cypress

Average Sale Price: $984,212
View Cypress Real Estate

Located in the northwestern portion of Orange County, Cypress borders Long Beach. The suburban community offers great schools, an abundance of parks, and is a very diverse community. Overall the community has relatively has low unemployment and a high number of local amenities and homeownership among residents. 

While the city doesn’t offer much in the way of nightlife, it is nearby plenty of exciting attractions such as Knott’s Berry Farm, Disneyland, theaters, and more. 

8. San Juan Capistrano

Average Sale Price: $1,478,735
View San Juan Capistrano Real Estate

Highlighting historical roots, the city was built around Mission San Juan Capistrano. It is home to the widest variety of homes in Orange County, with upscale and gated communities, working ranches in its foothills, and homes built prior to 1900 in its central district, including adobes from the 18th century. 

One of the oldest residential streets in California, with its adobe’s and European structures, is Los Rios Street, a favorite spot for locals and visitors lined with shops, galleries and restaurants, which help maintain its small-town charm and preserve the city’s rich history. 

9. Brea

Average Sale Price: $1,076,440
View Brea Real Estate

The Brea real estate housing market is booming with new developments and the city offers a wide range of cultural services for the growing community, from maintaining parks and planning annual community events, to hosting youth and adult sports, and more. The city is bordered by a significant natural wildlife corridor that serves as a rare scenic break within the area’s urban sprawl. 

Brea is also proud of its bustling downtown popularly known as Birch Street, a new, village-style promenade with pedestrian-oriented shopping and entertainment. 

10. Placentia

Average Sale Price: $967,077
View Placentia Real Estate

A quiet small town nestled between Yorba Linda and Fullerton, Placentia is a safe and diverse community. Rich with beautiful suburban homes, good schools, stately churches, and wholesome recreation, Placentia is a great place to call home. Events such as the annual Heritage Festival and Street Faire showcase the city’s assets as well as its small-town warmth.

Housing Market Trends in Orange County

Is it a good time to buy a house in Orange County?

Despite the high sales prices, it is a great time to buy a house in Orange County since mortgage rates are still at historic lows according to our Mortgage Watch. The lower your mortgage rate, the lower your monthly payment will be making homeownership more affordable. In fact, low rates make the cost of a home today more affordable than just a few years ago. Rent prices will continue to rise, but as you purchase a home, your mortgage payment will remain the same.

If you can afford it, purchasing a home in Orange County is always a good idea because homes hold their value well and appreciate faster than most of the country. According to Attom Data Solutions, California is one of the highest equity-rich states, with 53.8% of mortgaged residential properties currently considered equity-rich. 

If you need help figuring out how much you can afford, check out a mortgage calculator from our partners at Homeowners First Mortgage. Home-buying decisions should always be based on what you can afford. 

Is the housing market going to crash in 2021?

There is no crash in sight for the housing market right now. We’re in a booming seller’s market thanks to low inventory and high demand, and the housing shortage we’re up against isn’t expected to be over for at least another 6 years. While some are worried about a crash, Southern California is not in another housing bubble that will burst. COVID-19 hasn’t killed the housing market, if anything, it has made it stronger. 

What is the cheapest city to live in California?

If you’re looking for the cheapest place to live in California, you’ll have to look outside of Orange County. Currently, some of the cheapest cities in California are: Bakersfield, Stockton, Chino, Fontana, Eureka, and Clovis. 

Now that you know the most affordable places to buy in Orange County, it’s time to start your home search and check out all the new listings that have hit the market!

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