Understanding the Cost of Living in Santa Clara County: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding the costs of living in Santa Clara County

For anyone looking to move, the cost of living is a major consideration. Santa Clara is a county in California, one of the most sought-after places to live in America. All of that natural beauty and world-class amenities can affect the Santa Clara cost of living, so it’s good that you’re researching. 

Santa Clara County CA real estate is more expensive than most in the U.S. and new homebuyers will notice right away. It’s quite possible to discover affordable neighborhoods here and there, but the market is competitive. 

Everyone has a different lifestyle they want to lead. This article should help you find out if Santa Clara cost of living is within your budget.

A View from pleasant hill in Santa Clara County

A view from Pleasant Hill in Santa Clara County - via John Morgan

The Typical Cost of Buying a Home in Santa Clara County

Living in Santa Clara County starts with buying a home. There are 15 cities in Santa Clara County, each one with several distinct neighborhoods. Home prices rise and fall based on location, nearby education, and a slew of other factors. 

The median sale price for a home in Santa Clara County is around $1.5 million, up several percent year over year. Compare that to around $730,000 for the state of California and about $330,000 for the country.

This is a hot market and most sellers expect to get multiple offers early on, with occasional non-contingency offers. Santa Clara homes are selling for above listing price quite often, about 6% above, according to some estimates.

A Santa Clara Home Interior

A Santa Clara County home interior - via Dept of Energy Solar Decathlon

3 Expensive Places to Buy Homes in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County CA real estate can reach exorbitant prices, especially in historic or exclusive neighborhoods. For example, you’d expect higher listing prices near Stanford University or Apple Campus. Similarly, the vineyard-covered hills overlooking San Jose are full of high-ticket homes. 

Here are three of the most expensive places to buy a home in Santa Clara County, where multi-million dollar listing prices are no shock.

1. Los Altos and Los Altos Hills

All of the essentials of Bay Area living, without traffic or noise. When you’re living in Los Altos, or above in the Los Altos Hills, you’ll enjoy the peace of tree-lined winding streets and minimal traffic. Homes often have very large plots, especially in the hills, where mega-mansions are a common sight. This is a fantastic place for families looking for nearby education options or retirees seeking relaxation away from the city (but not too far).

A Home in Los Altos Hills

A home in the Los Altos hills - via Ben Freedman

2. Palo Alto

The birthplace of Silicon Valley commands high real estate prices, but also, some of the best job opportunities and schools in the country. Stanford University is just one of the above-average options that make Palo Alto an ideal spot to raise a family. The area is noticeably upscale and has a fantastic range of cuisine, both international and local.  

3. Cupertino

Home of the spaceship-like Apple Campus, Cupertino is one of the most expensive living spots in the county for a good reason. This Bay Area city is full of green spaces and ranks highly in all the areas homebuyers look at, including education, amenities, and overall quality of life.

3 Affordable Places to Buy Homes in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County is one of the largest in California and there are around 1.9 million residents. With such a size, there’s a huge range of home prices, and some neighborhoods will fall nicely into your budget.

Take a look at these three affordable places to live in Santa Clara County:

1. Gilroy

Gilroy sits 30 miles south of San Jose and has about 60,000 residents. The Garlic Capital of the World has a few cloves in its logo and garlic-themed events run annually. Other fruits and vegetables still grow here, including wine grapes. Gilroy is also one of the most affordable places to buy a home in Santa Clara, with median listing prices around $1 million. 

2. Morgan Hill

Around 48,000 residents live in Morgan Hill, which sits just 10 miles from San Jose. Despite the beauty and quality of life, prices remain affordable. The Bay Area city is flanked by grassy hills, which look especially stunning in the mornings and evenings. Locals can hike, have small fishing trips, or savor lunch in a hillside winery. Morgan Hill also has a high-tech side, and is home to Apple and Google, just to name a few.

A View of El toro Mountain in Morgan Hill CA

A view of El Toro Mountain in Morgan Hill CA - via smartindill

3. Milpitas

With 70,000 residents, Milpitas is the largest of the affordable communities on this shortlist. Anyone employed in Silicon Valley can use Milpitas’ location to live conveniently close, but not too close. The quality of education, surrounding nature, and access to the interstates are all feathers in this city’s cap. Young professionals and families can find affordability here by keenly monitoring the listings.

Annual Income of Santa Clara County Residents

When you’re wondering, “How expensive is living in Santa Clara County going to be?”, you’ve got to factor in so many different costs. Having the right level of income is vital. Ideally, your annual income matches the cost of living in your city, without creating financial stresses.

In Santa Clara County, the median household income is around $150,000. The 2021 census data also showed that Santa Clara County households made more median income than those in San Mateo and Marin County.

The level of unemployment is around 3.8% in Santa Clara County, according to the state’s data.

Which Careers Employ the Most Santa Clara County Residents?

Looking at an overview of Santa Clara, the county has large tech, IT, and administrative sectors. Two of the largest employers are Management and Computer/Mathematical occupations, each with around 13% of the workforce. 

Office and administrative roles employ around 8% of Santa Clara’s workforce. Sales, architecture, and financial operations each employ about 7% of the total workforce. 

Which Careers Pay Santa Clara County Residents the Most?

For women, the best median earnings back in 2021 were in the Information sector, with around $140,000 annually. Manufacturing offered a median annual earning of just over $87,000. Other industries like Professional, Scientific, Management, and Administrative & Waste Management Services, carried a very similar number.

For the median earnings of men in Santa Clara County, the top industries are almost exactly the same as the ones for women. Information came with median earnings of around $171,000, while Manufacturing came in at around $127,000. Professional, Scientific, Management, and Administrative & Waste Management Services carried median earnings of about $129,000 annually.

Google Company in Santa Clara County

One of the largest employers in Santa Clara County - via Jimmy Baikovicius

Is Santa Clara County a Good Choice for Families?

Around two-thirds of the homes in Santa Clara County are owned by families. With the right budget, living in Santa Clara County can become a reality. In terms of education, this might be one of the best areas in the entire country. From K-12 up to university, Santa Clara cities always have above-average options.

Then there’s healthy living, important to any family, regardless of age. Santa Clara County promotes this and gives you access to things a healthy family needs, like green spaces, sports teams, lakes, and athletic facilities. The mountain ranges that run through Santa Clara County are a playground for anyone who likes to explore and get their heart beating. 

That being said, Santa Clara County is undeniably priced for top earners. In many expense categories, this county is well above national averages. 

Important Statistics on Santa Clara County Cost of Living:

  • Utility prices are roughly 9% above the national average
  • Transportation expenses, like the money spent on bus fare or gas, are around 24% higher than the national average.
  • The cost of groceries in Santa Clara County is over 40% higher than the national average.
  • Healthcare is estimated to be around 33% more expensive in Santa Clara County than the national average.
  • A doctor’s visit costs around $166 in Santa Clara County.

Street in Santa Clara

A quiet street in Santa Clara County- via JKehoe_Photos

What Do You Think of Santa Clara County Cost of Living? 

The house prices in Santa Clara County CA might be an obstacle for some families, but they don’t have to be. Experienced realtors are aware of new homes for sale as soon as they get listed - and sometimes long before. If you share some useful information, they’ll find a home that fits your needs. 

Realtors who are living in Santa Clara County are the best ones to ask. Since 2008, Bob and Sandy of the Jamison Team have been helping clients smoothly buy and sell homes. With unique programs like the Buyer Satisfaction Guarantee, the stress is taken out of the home-buying process. For anyone moving on and away, the Sellers Guarantee offers the same peace of mind, except in a different direction.

More Questions? Follow-up With Us!

If you have more questions about what to expect from the markets around the Bay Area, don’t be afraid to reach out to us today. Our experts are experienced in all property types and the entire San Francisco Bay Area, and we can help you to find what you need to know today.

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