According to MarketWatch, some of the most affordable places in California as of 2012 include San Luis Obispo, San Diego, Eureka and Palm Springs. MarketWatch rates the affordability of these cities based upon population, the median home price, the cost of living and the unemployment rate. In 2009, Forbes rated the most affordable city in California as Modesto, which it listed as the 91st most affordable city in the country.
San Luis Obispo, located north of Santa Barbara, is rated as affordable by MarketWatch due to the $463,800 median home price as of 2012. The city had a population of 45,119 in 2012, during which time it also had an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent. The cost of living in San Luis Obispo was rated as 65.3 percent higher than the national average in 2012.
Considerably larger than San Luis Obispo, the southern California city of San Diego is also listed as affordable by MarketWatch due to its 2012 median home price of $361,600 and its cost of living rating as 43.3 percent higher than the national average. Also in 2012, the small town of Eureka had a median home price of $207,300 with a cost of living at 16.9 percent higher than the national average, while Palm Springs had a median home cost of $198,800 and a cost of living at 14.4 percent higher than the national average.