It should come as no surprise to anyone to learn that California cities are some of the wealthiest cities in the entire world.  Given this fact, it should also come as no surprise to you that some cities in California are also the most expensive.

California is home to everything from the most famous military bases to popular reality TV shows in West Hollywood.  However, if there’s one thing that can be said about the state as a whole, it’s that the cost of living is exponentially higher than other states.

What Is The Median Home Price In California?

The median home price in the United States is around $291,700, while the median home price in the state of California is $686,800.  Housing prices make the cost of living in California exponentially higher than the national average.

But which city in California is the most expensive?  Let’s find out.  Depending on the source, several different cities can be considered the most expensive.  Here we will look at various aspects of several.  Many of them will undoubtedly call.

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How Many Billionaires Live In California?

According to Forbes’ 2022 list of the world’s billionaires, 186 billionaires live in California, up from 189 a year ago, but far more than any other state, even New York (135 billionaires) and Texas (67).

The slight decline comes from a few high-profile billionaires who actually moved out of the state: Luminar founder Austin Russell, private equity executive Orlando Bravo and Slack CEO Stuart Butterfield.  Russell and Bravo left for Florida, and Butterfield for Colorado.

Why Is California A Wealthy State?  

Thank the booming technology industry; nearly half of the state’s billionaires come from tech.  Much of that wealth is concentrated in the San Francisco Bay Area, home to 116 of the state’s billionaires. 

This includes the state’s richest residents: Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.  Sixty-seven billionaires live in Southern California, including 45 in Los Angeles, newcomer Rihanna and Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel.


What Is The Best Place To Live In California?

The Hollywood Hills is one of the best places to live in California, many celebrities also love the secluded roads and suburbs that make you feel far away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. 

Another reason celebrities continue to buy homes in the area is because of other celebrities!  Who wouldn’t want to have Jack Nicholson or even Madonna as neighbors!  Great communication features allow celebrities to simply visit each other and discuss a new movie or joint album.

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Most Expensive Cities In California 2022


Located 45 minutes south of San Francisco and 20 minutes from Silicon Valley, Atherton is a city in San Mateo County.  Atherton is not only the most expensive city in California, but also holds the title of the most expensive in the United States. 

Atherton’s median household income has passed the half-million mark for the first time since the Bloomberg Index began in 2017, according to Bloomberg Index research.

Atherton’s residential streets are lined with mega-mansions, several of which are owned by the country’s leading tech billionaires, such as the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Google chairman Eric Schmidt. 

While tall hedges and gates guard each home, the large towering houses are still visible from the street.  Sidewalks are also relatively rare in Atherton, which prevents visitors and tourists from intruding on the privacy of Atherton residents.


For decades, pop culture fantasized about Malibu as a dreamland fit only for celebrities and the rich.  It is located along the Pacific Coast Highway and has a rocky coastline and beautiful beaches.

Malibu boasts sprawling beaches, such as Zuma Beach, that are located near popular shopping and fine dining.  For those looking to get more in touch with nature, Point Doom State Beach and Preserve offers easy hiking and diving spots.

With a national average of 100, BestPlaces ranks Malibu at 483.9.  To illustrate, and using the same national average ratio of 100, Malibu’s home value is a whopping 1,303.8 with a median home price of about $3.7 million.



Woodside, another affluent community adjacent to Silicon Valley, is one of the most expensive cities in California.  Woodside has been home to Steve Jobs, Bill Walsh and Michelle Pfeiffer, to name just a few of its famous residents.  Woodside has retained much of its small-town charm.

  Nature is an integral part of everyday life for Woodside residents, given its proximity to several county parks and preserves.  Hikers venture into the stunning redwoods of Wunderlich County and Huddart Parks or enjoy the scenic trails at Teague Hill or Thornewood Nature Reserves. 

Woodside is also known for having the densest horse population in the United States.  Many trails are easily accessible from Highway 280. Visitors can also see residents riding around town on horseback.

Visitors can get to know Woodside by heading to its downtown area, which is small but quaint, with many of the city’s top shops and restaurants located within a block of each other.

San Francisco

This is probably a given.  Most people are familiar with the costs associated with San Francisco.  San Francisco is probably one of the most beautiful cities in the United States and perhaps even in the world. 

The city is located on the hills and boasts magnificent architecture and an equally stunning culture.  San Francisco has always been expensive and therefore one of the most expensive cities in California. 

The cost of living here is estimated to be at least 60% higher than the national average.  Unless you’re making a lot of money, you’re probably better off living outside the city to work and play in San Francisco.  Otherwise, your life may end in bankruptcy.

Hidden Hills

Hidden Hills is a gated community located northwest of Los Angeles.  Once prized by homebuyers for its relative remoteness — which inspired its eponymous nickname and boosted its value in the eyes of its new residents.

It has grown in popularity in recent years as a neighborhood for Hollywood celebrities.  Kanye West, the Kardashian-Jenners, Drake, Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Lopez, Jaden Smith and Britney Spears are among the many stars who have made Hidden Hills home.

Developed in the 1950s, Hidden Hills is an equestrian-friendly community, and each home must set aside 600 square feet of space for stables.  Then, as now, seeing Hidden Hills residents on horseback is a common sight.  Hidden Hills has over 25 miles of equestrian trails as well as designated riding areas within the community.


Los Altos Hills

Located between San Jose and San Francisco, Los Altos Hills is known as one of the best family destinations in the Bay Area and one of the most expensive cities in California. 

It’s close to the Bay Area as well as Mountainview, where Google is headquartered, making it convenient to get away from the hustle and bustle but still close enough for a short commute.  This makes it attractive to families and high earners at nearby tech companies.

The BestPlaces ratings for Los Altos amaze others.  The median home price in Los Altos is around $4.8 million.  Tenants pay an average of more than $7,000 per month to rent four rooms.  With a national average of 100, BestPlaces gives Los Altos Hills a whopping 667.9.

Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills is one of the most famous cities in the world, so I don’t think there is anything strange here.  Rodeo Drive’s world-class shopping and some of the finest homes in the Los Angeles area attract celebrities and business people.

Although its name is similar to the hit TV show, it is actually one of the most exclusive and expensive neighborhoods in Beverly Hills, full of gorgeous mansions and high-end shops.

Beverly Hills, located in Los Angeles County, has a population of approximately 33,792.  The median home price is about $3.75 million. Surprisingly, the top fifth of income earners in Beverly Hills bring in a whopping median income of $661,000, while the bottom fifth earns just $14,500.

Downtown Beverly Hills is known for its luxury designer stores.  In fact, it was the center of high fashion in the Los Angeles area as it overtook Hollywood in the mid-1900s.

Santa Barbara

About 100 from Los Angeles is Santa Barbara, one of the largest and most expensive cities in California.  The weather here is fantastic and the views are to die for.  Over the years, this has led to a significant increase in the cost of living in this area.

Here you have easy access to the water and the hills.  The city is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, making it the perfect outdoor city in California.  Another good thing about the city is that it is home to four universities and several top school districts.

Some of the most expensive areas of California also have some of the most interesting and fun places to visit.  It would be helpful if you weighed the cost before jumping into any of these areas. 


Based on the information we evaluated, the battle for the most expensive city in California is between the sleeping giant of the North, Los Altos Hills, and the world famous Beverly Hills of Southern California.  When comparing cost-of-living categories such as housing, groceries, and transportation, both cities consistently outperform the others in average price.

The main indicator is the average cost of housing.  The median home values ​​in Los Altos Hills and Beverly Hills are $4.8 million and $3.75 million, respectively.  Even though this is the average home price, there are homes in both cities that are selling for much more than the listed average.

In my opinion, the winner of this debate is Beverly Hills.  Upscale shopping, endless gourmet restaurants, and extravagant accommodations in the Beverly Hills area put this zip code at the top of the list.  As mentioned above, while the median home price in Beverly Hills is $3.75 million, there is no shortage of homes selling for many times that price.



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