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Where to find affordable homes in Santa Cruz, CA

The median price of houses for sale in Santa Cruz, CA averages around $925,000, according to, almost doubling in the last eight years. And the increase is expected to continue with a forecast of $1,042,097 by 2025. To buy a house in Santa Cruz you will be spending almost double the cost for the rest of the United States and almost 50% more than you would spend in the rest of California.

There is some good news. There are homes for sale in Santa Cruz county that won’t break the bank. Some cities within the county still maintain an equal cost to the rest of California and in some cases even a little less.

Watsonville, CA

Watsonville has a diverse population of around 52,000 people as of the 2010 census. All ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds have come together to form a balanced community.

Located at the southern end of Santa Cruz County on Monterey Bay, the town is home of some of the best-known farms and food processing firms. Martinelli’s Apple Juice is sold throughout the United States in the signature small round glass bottles and large glass jugs, and Driscoll’s strawberries are an item that people throughout the country look forward to every spring. 

Homes in Watsonville average 12% lower than the California average with a median value of $361,000. While you can spend over a million to purchase a home, those same Santa Cruz beach homes for sale would cost up to four times as much.

Boulder Creek, CA

Boulder Creek is the gateway to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California’s oldest State Park. The creek was once the upper logging flume to the railway that took lumber from the forests to Santa Cruz.

Located inland, between Santa Cruz and San Jose, the homes offer large front and back yards as well as picturesque views. With bungalows costing as little as $300,000 and luxury homes around $1,200,000. Boulder Creek has maintained its small town, historical charm.

Ben Lomond, CA

Twelve miles from Santa Cruz, Ben Lomond took its name from a mountain in the area. The unemployment rate in Ben Lomond is 32% lower than the national average and the household income is 24% higher. Much like many of the other towns on our list it is rich with logging history and surrounded by nature.

The cost of a home in Ben Lomond is as low as $160,000 and as high as $1,850,000. The range in style and acreage make it possible to find a nice starter home in Santa Cruz County for a low cost.

Felton, CA

Felton has experienced recent job growth, helping to make it the next place we would recommend that you look at. Previously the lower logging flume of Boulder Creek, it too has a rich history of logging The Felton Covered Bridge is on the national registry. Felton, CA is one of the most promising neighborhoods to consider when looking at Santa Cruz real estate. 

Felton has one of the lowest crime rates in the state, 69% lower than the rest of California and the median home prices are around $510,000. It is also considered to be one of the top 50 best green cities to live in. If you are looking for a quiet home surrounded by nature Felton may well be the place for you. F

Scotts Valley, CA

Tech and Tourism are the attractions of Scotts Valley. The original home of Netflix, as well as the home of Alfred Hitchcock, the town is surrounded by coastal redwood forests and only ten minutes from the beaches of Santa Cruz.

While home values range from $200,000 up to more than $2,000,000, the area is a beautiful place to live and the cost of living for goods and services are on par with the rest of the state. Scotts Valley is in the process of creating more affordable housing developments as well as bringing more retail to the area, making it a growing community to become a part of.

All the communities listed have excellent climates with some ranging from 60 to 70 degrees throughout much of the year. They all offer school systems that have higher than average high school graduation rates compared to the national and state rate. All are within a half an hour to either Santa Cruz or San Jose, making them close to business, employment and amenities. And all of them offer smaller communities to make a home in. It won’t be hard to find your ideal Santa Cruz property.

You can find many fantastic Santa Cruz, CA waterfront homes for sale in your price range, and it is vital to rely on an expert real estate agent to find the best value homes. Feel free to give me a call at 831.661.5591 or send me an email at amber(at)davidlyng(dotted)com and I will get back to you the soonest possible time.