Fremont: The Silicon Valley City with a Suburban Charm
If you’re evaluating Fremont for livability, we’ve got good news. This California city is ranked extremely highly for education, childcare, socioeconomics, and even divorce. For those reasons and a slew of others, it’s a brilliant place to call home.
For some, Fremont CA is expensive, despite the amenities and quality of life it offers. We’ll cover all the important aspects of living in Fremont here. You’ll hear a summary of the city, information about home prices, the average income of residents, and plenty of other valuable insights. This guide will be essential for anyone looking at Fremont from a home-buying perspective.
Fremont California - via Franco Folini/Flickr
Fremont: Silicon Valley City Formed in 1956
Living in Fremont CA comes with many perks, but you should always know a city’s backstory.
- Pre-1796: A group called the Ohlone People had villages all over the area we call Mission San Jose. The Ohlone built villages all over the Bay Area, speaking the Costanoan languages.
- 1797: A Spanish Father built and founded the Mission San Jose, the 14th in California.
- 1846: John C. Frémont created a trail network through Mission Pass, bringing settlers to the Bay Area.
- 1853: Washington Township was formed, merging several communities under a single political and social epicenter for several years.
- 1956: The City of Fremont forms by bringing together Misson San Jose, Centerville, Niles, Irvington, and Warm Springs.
After a boom in the 1980s, Fremont attracted tech companies to its tree-lined streets, especially in the Warm Springs District. Semiconductor and telecommunication firms moved to the area, as well as the first Apple Mac computer manufacturing facility.
Over the next 20 years, over 750 tech companies made Fremont their home or produced products there. At the time, this included 15% of the fastest-growing companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. The trend continued with Tesla opening a flagship plant in 2010.
Let’s fast-forward for a moment. What is Fremont Silicon Valley like today?
The historic areas of Fremont are gorgeous, like the Niles district - via Charlie Day
What is Fremont CA like These Days?
Fremont has a unique culture and the locals feel a certain separation from the Silicon Valley crowd (despite being part of the Silicon Valley region). These days, Fremont is modern with a nod to the historic. Sure, Tesla’s factory may be down the road, but you’ll see relics from Fremont’s past just as often.
The Niles district is the site of some of the first silent films in America, featuring the legendary funnyman Charlie Chaplin. The Essanay Film Company shot over 350 films at their Fremont location, which was converted into a museum for the public. The entire district has taken Chaplin as their unofficial mascot.
Niles Boulevard and Bronco Billy’s Pizza - via Charlie Day
Living in Fremont CA means choosing charm over ultra-convenience. Living in Downtown San Jose, you might have more eateries and shopping centers at your doorstep, but there’s a clear downside.
Urban traffic and hubbub are both things that you can avoid in Fremont. Locals seem to enjoy the sparseness and under-development of their slice of Silicon Valley real estate, but Fremont isn’t a retail dead zone. Especially in Warm Springs, there are diverse amenities (more about that later in the article).
A Fremont street - via Ken Lund
Homes in Fremont Silicon Valley and Median Prices
By putting distance between their home and expensive real estate areas like San Jose, Fremont residents can find more affordability.
Most Fremont homes for sale are single-family properties of one or two stories. It’s impossible to sum up the architecture in one sentence
A lovely two-story Fremont home on a hillside - via Felix Wong
Home Prices in Fremont CA
Since the start of 2023, Fremont home prices have slowly increased. The estimated median sale price is up a substantial 25% when comparing October 2023 to the previous year.
The number of homes being sold has decreased significantly, down around 35% when comparing October 2023 to the previous year.
In January 2023, homes were spending much longer on the market, but Fremont properties are back to their normal timeframe. The median number of days on the market is about 11 at the time of writing.
The Fremont market is quite hot, but you’ll discover affordability without looking hard. Our Fremont listings show plenty of homes below $500,000 and over 100 different properties.
Suburban Fremont from a birds-eye view via Pi.1415926535
What is the Cost of Living in Fremont?
It’s the cost of living in Fremont California that is most vital to know. You should always spend time creating a very detailed budget, long before arriving at your new Fremont doorstep.
Compared to the cost of living in Silicon Valley areas like the Los Altos Hills or West Atherton, Fremont is far more budget-friendly. However, it still has housing costs above the national average, while median rent is just under $4,000. The cost of utilities, transportation, and groceries are all estimated to be 30% more costly than the national average.
Most people living in Fremont appear to have healthcare coverage from their employers, which helps cut down on the cost of living.
What’s the Median Income for Fremont Residents?
Fremont doesn’t require the same household or individual income as more affluent cities, but this is still California. It’s no secret that you’ll need to maintain a certain income to afford the cost of living here.
- For individuals, the median income in Fremont is around $59,000.
- For a Fremont household, the median income is just over $153,000.
According to 2021 Census Bureau data, over 30% of the households in Fremont generate income above $200,000.
The Fremont Lifestyle You Can Expect
Fremont is just far enough away from the sky-high rent and home prices of Silicon Valley. If you speak to a local, they’ll probably say they’re happy to be away from the big businesses and traffic jams. You usually hear a local say they’re from Fremont, not San Jose or San Francisco.
There are some affectionate Fremont stereotypes that you should know about. Firstly, the area has a reputation for being slightly artsy, and almost every local seems to have an artist friend or two.
Education Choices for Young Fremont Residents
Fremont has two main school districts; Fremont Unified School District (42 schools) and Mission Valley Roc P School District, which has just one school. The total number of schools in Fremont, including private and public institutions, is 169 at the time of writing.
- Preschools: 104
- Elementary Schools: 74
- Middle Schools: 31
- High Schools: 20
- Public District Schools: 42
- Private Schools: 126
Washington High School in Fremont - via Kelvin Chan
Universities and Colleges in the Fremont Area
Universities in Fremont hand out thousands of degrees each year, with mostly female students filling the institutions. Unitek College, Ohlone College, and Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Fremont were the three institutions that gave out the most degrees in 2021.
Here’s what Fremont students are taking in university:
- The most common 2 to 4-year degree awarded in Fremont is in Airframe Mechanics & Aircraft Maintenance Technology, which is a trend continuing since 2015.
- The most common Bachelor’s Degrees are in Registered Nursing and Computer Science.
- The most common Master’s Degree majors are in Computer Science, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and Business Administration Management, & Operations.
Ways to Exercise and Enjoy Nature in Fremont
Central Park is a gargantuan patch of green space near (you guessed it) central Fremont. It’s large enough to have a fishable lake and several smaller lakes in the east to challenge golfers. Along with the golf course, there are 18 tennis courts, a cricket pitch, a skatepark, and even a water park.
Living in Fremont CA gives locals direct access to Mission Peak Reserve to the east and the lush Baylands waterfront to the west. The green spaces are a dog walker’s paradise. Humans will enjoy walking themselves too, and the trails along the main hills and ridges of the Diablo Range have enough hiking to last a lifetime. When you stumble across Mission Peak Wine or Nella Terra Cellars around lunchtime, stay hydrated with local wines.
Snow-covered hills near Fremont - via Vadim Zaliva
Restaurants, Shopping, and Other Fun Things to Do
Local favorites include Sushi Ken, Melting Wok, and Country Way, which serves comfort food in a diner setting. Fremont is culturally diverse when it comes to its residents and the local restaurants are no different. Curry is especially beloved here and there’s a large Indian population keeping this culinary romance alive. Yelp shows more than 50 unique Indian restaurants in the city, like the Veg N Chaat Cuisine or Chaat Bhavan.
Bronco Billy’s Pizza Palace is a 30+ year-old Fremont fixture named after one of the silent film directors from Chaplin’s days. It’s surely a must-visit for locals and sells an impressive number of cheesy pies every day.
Bronco Billy’s Pizza Palace - via Brave Heart
Anyone living in Fremont CA will have a shopping center nearby. The Fremont Times Square and Pacific Commons Center are great retail spots, but luxury shoppers usually drive to Santana Row for boutiques. Stanford Center and the Fremont Hub are nearby spots with a good range of high-end and mid-tier shopping.
Fremont might not be Downtown San Jose, but locals have plenty of nightlife options. Niles Boulevard is the place to go in the evenings for lounges, clubs, and classic spots like Florence Bar. If you want to skip the cocktails and craft beers, head to the Made Up Theatre for improv shows instead.
Working and Commuting in Fremont
The cost of living in Silicon Valley can be alleviated by the great job offerings. Specifically in Fremont, there are plenty of options for tech prodigies and IT geniuses. That’s unsurprising, considering the first Apple Mac factory was here.
The Tesla factory near the waterfront is one of the largest employers in the area. Fremont is home to semiconductor businesses and anything else high-tech or advanced that comes to your mind. Companies working on biotechnology, solar power, and AI systems also contribute to Fremont’s healthy economy.
A new Tesla Model S rolling through the Fremont Tesla factory - via Steve Jurvetson
Some of the top tech companies in Fremont CA:
- Pony.AI: an autonomous vehicle tech company.
- GlassPoint Solar: creates solar steam generators.
- Think Surgical: A company developing robotic surgical systems.
- Solaria Corp: a company making crystalline solar modules.
- Enovix Corporation: an energy storage company creating lithium-based batteries.
Around 20%-24% of Fremonters work from home, a figure that might surprise some. Most Fremont residents seem to drive to work alone, but around 8% of residents carpool. The average commute time is an estimated 34 minutes.
The Fremont area is well-connected to the rest of Silicon Valley by interstates 880 and 680. Locals who want to avoid parking or gas costs can take any number of public transportation options. The BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is one of them, taking Fremonters wherever they need to go, quickly.
The BART system via Pi.1415926535
Is Fremont Family Friendly?
How is living in the Silicon Valley and Fremont for families with young children or teens?
Fremont was ranked as the best place to raise a family in America, edging out neighbors like San Jose and San Francisco. 182 cities were named in the study, including the 150 largest cities in terms of population.
Here is that news report, which goes on to say that Fremont ranked:
- No.1 for the lowest divorce rate.
- No.3 for the lowest poverty rate.
- No.1 in education.
- No.1 in childcare.
- No.1 in socioeconomics.
Fremont ticks the important boxes, such as education, sports facilities, and clean mountain air. Parents will find the distance from Central San Jose a relief, without sacrificing any of the things families look for. Speaking of the mountains and fresh air, the Air Quality Index (AQI) for Fremont is always in the Good range, with low pollens and pollutants.
Hopefully, we shed some light on living in Fremont CA, and all the perks that come with it. Team up with a local realtor, work out a budget, and start enjoying life as a Fremonter.
We can help you lower the cost of moving, or make it completely free with our moving program. Anytime you want to talk about your options, reach out to our Bay Area real estate offices.
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