It’s no secret that many people dream of living in California. This comes at the cost of an average statewide house price over twice the national average, for a number of reasons. Despite its size, California is limited in amount of vacant land available, as a result of both the high population and topographical constraints. Many areas in the state are unbuildable due to factors such as high variance in elevation and bodies of water. Construction is also expensive, and local government has until recently had little incentive to approve new construction projects.
These high prices mean a large percentage of buyers, especially those from out of state, need to look in less expensive areas far away from major cities. At the same time, the majority of business opportunities are in large cities. So new buyers are needing to purchase homes quite a distance from their workplace, leading to longer commutes. Rising house prices, especially in coastal areas, are only exacerbating the problem. Not only that, but the areas where people are able to afford to live are experiencing relatively slow growth in value, so selling often isn’t viable.
Overall, areas with higher property values correlate with higher commute times to the area, and you’ll need to pay more than the average to shorten your commute, while areas with lower property values correlate with lower commute times to the area. Prospective buyers will need to weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a particular property and be aware of areas prone to natural hazards such as fires, earthquakes, floods, and landslides, which are often expensive to insure despite being cheaper to buy.