California became the Golden because of the gold mining activities in the late 1840s, but it’s also home to some of the richest in the US today. While the whole state is generally costly to live in, there are some cities that only the richest in California can afford to live in. So, where do the rich live in California?
California’s most expensive cities are Atherton, Woodside, Hidden Hills, Beverly Hills, Los Altos, Hillsborough, Los Altos Hills, Portola Valley, Malibu, Ross, and Palo Alto. The average home price in these cities is at least $4 million, and the average household income here is usually over $200k.
One thing that all these cities have in common is the small population. They’re mostly residential, with a population not exceeding a few tens of thousands. Only Palo Alto has a population that’s over 50,000. Here, we discuss where the rich live in California.
The Most Expensive Cities in California
The richest people in California are a diverse group of tech founders and executives, sports stars, Hollywood celebrities, artists, and business tycoons. These groups live in the most expensive cities in the state. Here are some of those cities:
This city is only a 20-minute drive from Silicon Valley and 45 minutes away from San Francisco. It’s one of the most expensive places to live in California and the whole US. The average cost of homes here is $8,165,725.
The average household income here is above $500k, making it the first city to cross that mark since Bloomberg started compiling the index in 2017. Atherton is home to several mega-mansions and has housed some of the richest people in the world, including Google ex-chairman Eric Schmidt and late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. It’s rare to find sidewalks here to prevent tourists and visitors from infringing on the residents’ privacy.
Woodside is a small town with a population of around 6,000 and one of the most expensive in the country. The cost of homes here is $4,782,669, which is substantially above the California average. The town has been home to several of the richest in the world, including Steve Jobs, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Bill Walsh. With a small-town vibe, horses are a common sight in this city, and nature plays an integral role here. The town is close to several county parks.
3. Hidden Hills
This city is also a gated community next to Calabasas, California. With only a population of less than 3,000, it’s safe to say Hidden Hills is an exclusive community. Homes here cost $4,598,616 on average. The city has been home to several Hollywood stars, including Kanye West, Drake, Miley Cyrus, the Kardashians-Jenners, Jennifer Lopez, and more.
Homes here are very big with lots of space between them. The city is designed to be equestrian-friendly, and there’s a lot of space between homes to accommodate stables. This is another city in California where the sight of people on horses is normal. It’s mostly residential, and people here usually need to go to Calabasas for dining and shopping.
This is the second most expensive city in California and the third in the US. The average household income here is $430,681, which is significant. With a population of over 11,000, the average home price here is $5,722,252. It’s home to some of the most popular and wealthiest in the world, including Elon Musk, Bing Crosby, and Jimmy Kennel.
5. Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills started as a Lima beans ranch, but it’s now one of the most expensive cities to live in the country. The typical cost of homes here is $4,097,344, which makes it more affordable than the three previous cities on this list. But it’s still far beyond the reach of over 90% of Californians.
One thing about Beverly Hills is that there are several exclusive neighborhoods within the city. Areas such as Beverly Park, Mulholland Estate, Beverly Hills Flat, Beverly Hills Gateway, and Trousdale Estates make this city very expensive.
6. Los Altos Hills
The list of most expensive cities in California isn’t complete without the Los Altos hills. The city is part of the Silicon Valley tech hub, and like every other community in this area, it costs more than an arm or leg to live there. The typical value of homes here is $5,749,689. This makes it unaffordable for most tech workers in Silicon Valley.
The city sits at the Santa Cruz Mountains’ foothills, making it an ideal location for nature lovers. While the average tech worker won’t be able to live here, some of the richest in the tech industry, such as Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, stay here.
You’ve probably heard of Malibu because you saw it in a movie or someone mentioned it in a song. This scenic getaway is on the pacific coast Highway to Los Angeles. It boasts of rugged beaches and amazing coastlines. With a wonderful Mediterranean climate also helping its reputation, the average cost of homes here is $4,222,004.
Malibu is Expensive partially because of some of its Neighborhoods. Places such as Malibu colony, Paradise Cove Bluffs, and Serra retreat have some of the most expensive homes in the state. You’ll find homes in nine figures at paradise cove bluffs.
8. Portola Valley
This city is in the central part of Silicon Valley, which makes it a prime spot. Stanford University is 14 minutes away, and Google headquarters is less than half an hour. San Francisco and San Jose airports are equally close. All these contribute to making the cost of homes here a whopping $4,503,087 on average.
Central location aside, Portola Valley is a charming city that balances modern development with the natural environment. Palo Alto is close by.
Another city in California where you can expect to spend millions on homes is Ross. Houses here cost an average of $4,624,737, which is no doubt expensive. But living here is worth it. The town has a rural vibe, and lakes, hills, and parks surround the city. Marin Art and Garden Center is one of the best spots in the city.
10. Los Altos
The typical home value in Los Altos is $4,480,897, and the city is home to several of those working in Silicon Valley. The is mostly residential, with key areas such as Palo Alto, Stanford, and Mountain View close by. It’s close to other tertiary institutions such as Santa Clara University, De Anza College, and Foothill College. This is a very beautiful and serene city.
11. Palo Alto
The last city on this list is also the least expensive. The cost of homes in Palo Alto is $3,981,878, making it the most affordable. Silicon Valley started here and is home to several of the most popular tech companies. The city is incredible, with serene neighborhoods lined with trees.
Living in California is expensive, but the richest in California have select areas they prefer. The price of homes in all these cities is usually multimillion dollars. This isn’t surprising given that California has the highest millionaire households in the US.