July 3rd, 2023 at 3:45 pm

What type of neighborhood is best for you?

When it comes to real estate, it’s no secret that location is king. The right neighborhood can add value to your home independent of the house itself. But there’s more to location than just monetary value. You want to find the perfect place for you to live, a place that meets all your needs and immediately feels like home.

So what type of neighborhood is best for you?

Every person could have a different answer to that question. Thankfully, Southern California has options. So let’s look closer at some of the different types of neighborhoods in Southern California to figure out which ones might be the most attractive for your situation.

Types of neighborhoods

Before you start looking for a new home base, it can be helpful to understand the types of neighborhoods that are out there. 

Factors to consider when finding the right type of neighborhood

No matter where you’re looking to move, there are a few universal factors worth considering as you try to find the best neighborhood for you and your family. 


Are you a young professional excited to take on a new location? Are you starting a family? Are you looking for a bit of calm and relaxation in your future home? It can help to figure out what lifestyle you’re looking for before seeking out a neighborhood. 

For example…

House type 

Sometimes, you have your heart set on a particular kind of home. Maybe it’s a farmhouse with room in the back for planters and maybe a few chickens. Maybe it’s a sleek condo with an incredible view of the skyline. Whatever you’re looking for, different home types are more available in various kinds of neighborhoods.

Here’s what you’ll find in these neighborhood types:


Finances should always play a role in big decisions, such as the decision to move to a new neighborhood. Certain neighborhoods are more amenable to certain budgets. 

Higher-priced neighborhoods may include:

Moderately priced neighborhoods may fall under the following categories:

Cheaper neighborhoods can also be found in the neighborhood types below:

Keep in mind that prices can vary by county or even city, especially in Southern California. If you’re looking to live a more urban lifestyle but have a moderate budget, you may be able to find more affordable urban homes in smaller cities or counties. 

Top Southern California counties

In a state as large and diverse as California, choosing the right type of neighborhood can be a daunting task. Where do you even start? 

It can often help by looking at some of the major areas to see what they offer. These larger counties are often hubs for work and entertainment, so even if you choose to live outside the city, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the closest metropolitan area as you’re likely to be spending plenty of time there.

What are the best areas in Southern California? The answer will come down to personal preference, but here are our favorite counties in SoCal:

1. San Diego County

San Diego County tops the list when it comes to Southern California areas, and why not? Beautiful weather year-round and plenty of work opportunities have San Diego ranking high in desire, quality of life, and job outlook. And with a median age of 36 for its residents, it’s perfect for young families.

The one downside when it comes to San Diego is the price. Median home prices in San Diego hover at nearly $900,000, meaning if you’re cost-conscious, this may not be the neighborhood for you.

2. Los Angeles County

Glitz! Glamor! And, yes, the occasional traffic jam, but where else can you start your day at the beach, end it in the mountains, and meet some celebrities in between? Los Angeles scores very high in desirability. It also has a high quality of life score and a respectable job outlook. As with many major SoCal cities, LA can be tough in affordability.

However, it’s worth keeping in mind that while Los Angeles can be expensive, it’s also a massively large county with many different cities, from Santa Monica to Culver City. That means there are deals to be found. To find these deals you’ll want an expert at your side. To find that expert, look no further than the agents at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties.

3. Orange County

Snug between LA and San Diego Counties, Orange County has something for everyone. Whether you’re a beach-loving bum or a young professional launching their career, you can find a little bit of everything in the OC, including:

Looking to the suburbs

To understand the neighborhoods within cities, it’s worth consulting detailed city guides, but there are still the suburbs to take into account. After all, when you’re buying a house, you may want to be slightly outside the city center. Suburbs offer quieter, slower-paced living that is still conveniently close to the work and entertainment options of the city.

Best overall suburbs in SoCal

The following list of SoCal suburbs all come in with an A+ overall Niche grade, showing that they are some of the most desirable locations to live:

As you can see, this list zooms out to include areas around Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego without specifically being in the middle of the major cities. This can help somewhat with affordability concerns while still putting a premium on the quality of life. However, places like Santa Monica may be more desirable to renters as the housing market can be limited.

Best suburbs if you’re looking to buy

Especially when you’re young and just getting to know an area, renting an apartment may be the preferable option over buying a house. But for many of us, there comes a time when we want more stability, and we want to start building equity. 

Niche has another list for homebuyers that weights their housing criteria higher than other quality of life factors. That list shows us the suburbs you should start considering if you’re looking to buy instead of rent. Some of these favorite SoCal suburbs include:

This list may not be full of household names like Santa Monica or Pasadena, but, by looking at smaller areas like this, you can find more affordable options that still give you the best of California living at a fraction of the price. If you don’t mind a slightly longer commute, that could mean more house for your money.

First-time buyer considerations

This guide has been focused on the type of neighborhood you may want to consider when purchasing a house in Southern California. For first-time buyers, the neighborhood is just one of many things you will have to weigh when purchasing a home. 

Since it’s your first time, it’s understandable that you may not know what to expect. So, while you’re considering the type of neighborhood that best suits you and your family as well as the benefits of owning your own home, there are some other things you may want to keep in mind:

California Properties is here to help

Buying a home is a big decision, but it’s one that doesn’t have to be overwhelming. From wondering what to look for when buying a house, choosing the best neighborhood, deciding whether it’s the right time to move from renting to buying, needing help buying a house for sale by owner, to determining how much home you can afford, our team at California Properties is here to help you in every aspect of your home-buying journey.

When making a big purchase like buying a house, you want the best team by your side. You want people who know Southern California. You want people who know the housing market. You want people who will get to know you and work for you. You want Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties.

Sources: US News and World Report 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Niche 1, 2, 3

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