“Million-dollar cities” in California now include working-class towns

Rising home values add suburbs such as San Gabriel and Tustin to the seven-figure list

“Million-Dollar Cities” in California Now Include Working-Class Towns
eXP Realty of Southern California's Tor Black and the City of Tustin (Getty, LinkedIn)

Million-dollar listings were once confined to such cities as Beverly Hills, Palos Verdes Estates and Newport Beach. The Million Dollar Club now includes working-class bergs from San Gabriel to Tustin.

As home values rise across the state, cities that once were known for their “working-class modesty” have joined municipalities with typical home values of $1 million or more, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing figures from Zillow.

The newest additions include San Gabriel and Cerritos in Los Angeles County; Placentia, Orange and Tustin in Orange County; and Thousand Oaks in Ventura County. Bonita in San Diego County and Tustin had the highest growth with home values jumping nearly 12 percent in a year.

The Golden State has 210 cities where the median home value is more than $1 million. That constitutes 38 percent of the 550 “million-dollar cities” in the nation, according to Zillow. Most of them are along the coast.

California has more million-dollar cities than the next five states combined.

This year, the state added 12 more cities to its list, surpassed only by New Jersey, which added 14 million-dollar cities.

The new cities include Bonita, Tustin, Brea, San Gabriel, Cerritos, Orange, San Luis Obispo, Placentia, Cambria, Thousand Oaks, Pala, Pleasant Hill, Arroyo Grande, Bonsall and Cypress.

Tor Black, a real estate agent with eXP Realty, and his wife, Iris, bought their “forever home” in Tustin Meadows for $800,000. It’s now worth $1.3 million, an increase of more than 60 percent.

“People always idolize SoCal,” Black told the Times.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

California now has 15 cities with typical homes in the seven-figure range. 

And three cities were booted from the Million Dollar Club after their home values fell below $1 million — including Tomales, Carnelian Bay and Vernalis.

Five cities already on the million-dollar list had bigger growth, all in Southern California, according to the Times. They include La Cañada Flintridge, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills and Poway, where growth ranged from 12 percent to 17 percent.

A typical home in California last year was valued at $789,000, a 3.1 percent increase from 2022 and a 33.5 percent jump in five years.

Southern California buyers flush with cash have pushed home prices to an all-time record.

The price for a typical home across the six-county region in March was $869,082, a 9 percent increase from a year earlier, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing figures from Zillow. 

The average home in Tustin is worth 10 times the median household income of more than $100,000, according to Census figures. The ratio is about the same in Bonita, an unincorporated area that’s home to 13,000 people, where restrictions on building new homes has led to a 65 percent rise in home values in  five years.

Nationally, homes are worth five to six times household earnings, up from a 4-to-1 ratio in 2019. In California, that ratio is now 10-to-1, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

— Dana Bartholomew

Read more