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Detailed Guide to Orange County Cost of Living

 In Living Abroad

OC is one of the most beautiful counties in the state of California. Not only does it have some of the best beaches in the US, but it also provides numerous job opportunities, especially in the tech industry. Get acquainted with the Orange County cost of living before deciding to move here since the expenses in some places can be a bit high. Here’s everything you’ll need to know about OC’s costs and where to find affordable housing.

Laguna Beach

Laguna beach is a great place to move to if you can afford it

Moving to Orange County is an excellent choice, but it would be smart to have a job already lined up before you pack your bags. Having a highly paid career means that you’ll eventually afford a life even in the most expensive locations in OC. If you’re currently living overseas, consider getting some international moving services. An overseas moving company should be able to help you with anything you may need when moving abroad. Otherwise, you risk suffering from moving stress, which may hinder your relocation process and make it unnecessarily long and challenging.

What Is the Average Income in Orange County?

Even when moving to another country for love, you need to find out what you’ll be earning potentially after moving internationally. According to BestPlaces (applies to the data further in the text as well), the average resident’s income per year in OC is around $34,400, which is higher than the national $28,500. Household and family incomes are significantly higher at $81,800 and $92,200 compared to $57,650 and $70,850, respectively. Note that the income per person is based on all the residents, including children, meaning it can vary based on the number of workers in an area. PayScale shows that the average income in the OC is about $71k per year, which also varies depending on the profession.

Calculate How Much You Need to Live Comfortably in Orange County

You’re probably wondering, What salary do you need to live in Orange County? The easiest way to assess how much money you will need is to use the Living Wage Calculator. It provides information on how much you’ll need to earn per hour, depending on the number of working family members and children. It also provides info on typical annual salaries for numerous professions in OC. Depending on all these factors, the OC numbers are anywhere from $71,920 to $251,700.

A woman using a computer

You might need to use a wage calculator to summarize all the expenses

What’s the Orange County Cost of Living

If you’re considering moving overseas to OC from one of the best places to live abroad, one of the first things to look up is the average cost of living in Orange County, CA. When you compare the overall county’s expenses to California, they are about 11.87% higher. Housing prices are the most significant contributing factor, with a median home value being 28.8% higher at $712,500 compared to the state’s $552,800. The housing difference might seem big, but it’s not that significant when comparing it to San Francisco, where a median home goes for $1,378,300. Transportation costs are about 13.5% lower than in the state, and you’ll pay slightly less for utilities as well.

Renting Prices in OC Are Somewhat Higher Than California’s

Rent prices in OC are a bit higher than in the state overall. For a studio apartment, you’ll need about $1,400 compared to $1,150. For one, two, and three-bedroom apartments the price goes around $1,600, $2,000, and $2,800, more than California’s $1,300, $1,700, and $2,400. These differences are covered by higher per capita and household incomes.

A couple doing their finances.

Consider the cost of each city you like before signing anything

How Big Are the Tax Rates in California

When learning how to live in another country, one of the most important things you need to figure out is the tax system. Even if you’re already living in the US, you still need to know about the local rates in OC. The base sale tax rate of 7.25% in California might not be the lowest, but real estate taxes will save you a lot of money. Given that you will most likely work, you should know that the state has progressive income rates, meaning you will pay less on a lower income and more on a higher one. California’s income tax system has nine official brackets with rates going from 1-12%, similar to the federal system.

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If you have a higher income in OC, you’ll also pay more in taxes

Other Expenses to Consider When Relocating to OC

Though the most important, housing is not the only thing that increases the overall value of a location. Other factors that may affect the final number include transportation, utilities, and healthcare costs.

You’ll Spend This Much on Transportation

According to Numbeo, the public transportation pass in Irvine, for example, will require you to pay about 105$ a month, with a one-way ticket costing anywhere from $1.50 to $3.50, averaging at $2. If you’re taking a taxi, the standard tariff start is $3.50, with every mile increasing the total price by $2.75. Driving is prevalent in OC, so if you need to move your car, get some auto transport services from an overseas shipping company. Gas is priced at $3.63 per gallon.

You’ll Need This Much for Utilities

Essential utilities in Irvine, like heating, electricity, cooling water, and garbage disposal services, go anywhere from $100-$200. For an internet package with an unlimited amount of data, you’ll pay from $50-$100, which averages at about $67.74.

Basic Healthcare Costs

The healthcare prices in OC are about the same as in the country. A visit to the doctor’s office may cost you about $125, while a dentist’s appointment goes around $110. If you need an optometrist, they charge about $100, while you’ll need to spend about $500 on Lipitor.

A doctor using a calculator.

Healthcare prices are similar to national averages

Which OC Cities Are More Expensive

Some areas might prove too expensive for some, but their prices often represent the high housing market demand and purchasing power of their residents. In case money is not a problem for you, there are a few more expensive options:

  • Laguna Beach will make you feel like you’re moving to the Bahamas. The excellent opportunities in the area are a must for any outdoor enthusiast, but to call this paradise home, you’ll need to cash out big time. The median house value of $2,077,800 is about three times larger than the County. The price is understandable, as residents here earn almost 139% more than the OC overall at $79,340 per year, on average, higher than many household and family incomes in the country. In fact, about 4% of all residents earn over $200,000 per year.
  • Located just north of our previous entry, Newport Beach offers some fantastic sights and outdoor activities. If looking to buy a house here, be ready to empty your account. The median home here costs about $2,119,700, almost four times more when compared to California. Residents here also tend to earn more, with a yearly income of $78,000, with 30.2% earning more than $200,000. The vast open areas make it a great choice when moving with dogs if you can afford it.
  • While it’s still on the more expensive side, Irvine is the cheapest of the bunch, with an $864,400 median home price. Bordering our previous entry, the city features numerous attractions, such as the Orange County Great Park, which has a balloon you can rent for some aerial views. There are many high education institutions in the area, as well. Residents have mostly evenly different pay grades, with the two most prominent groups earning about $100-150k per year (19.2%) and over $200k (16.9%). The average yearly income is approximately $43,500.
A person looking at the sea with open arms.

Having a higher income will allow you to lead a very comfortable life in OC

What Are the Most Affordable Cities in OC

You’re bound to find a suitable new home when relocating to OC. Many cities in the area provide affordable housing options. Even if you don’t have the highest income in the world, you’ll still be able to pick a nice spot to settle. Look up these next few affordable cities:

  • When looking at specific cities, the cost of living in Orange, CA, for example, is slightly lower than the county’s, with the median house value of $689,600. Being a quaint city, it’s not only safe, but it has everything you would need to lead a comfortable life. With many shops, stores, and an impressive historical district, it suits residents of all ages. Renting is also affordable, with one and two-bedroom apartments going for $1,600 and $2,000 a month. Income is averaging at $31,330, with the biggest pay grade group earning about $100-150k a year (19%).
  • Besides bordering Laguna Beach in the west, Aliso Viejo is also less expensive than the OC averages, costing about $636,600. It offers a mix of urban and suburban vibes, with plenty of good schools in the area. Rent for a one and two-bedroom apartment goes for $2,000 and $2,500, slightly higher than OC overall but still affordable. More than 54% of residents earn $100,000 or more each year, with 23.8% earning $100-150k and 16.7% over $200k, averaging at $45,000 a year.
  • Disneyland makes Anaheim one of the happiest places on Earth. If you’re an immigrant moving internationally or a returning expat looking for the best places to live with a family abroad, then Anaheim is the perfect choice for you. The housing value is significantly cheaper than OC and is almost on par with the state averages at $594,000. Renting a one and two-bedroom apartment will cost you about $1,700 and $2,100. Overall you’ll spend about 10% less than anywhere else in the OC.

Check out this video showing what else you can do in Anaheim besides going to Disneyland.

Is Orange County a Good Place to Live?

Living in Orange County offers numerous advantages. There are numerous Tech 500 companies in the area that can provide some fantastic job opportunities. The beautiful weather and outdoor spaces will make you feel like you’re on vacation all the time. If you can find a decent enough job, you won’t have a problem affording a life here. That’s why OC is an excellent place for you to find a new home. Consider hiring an international moving company, as this will allow you to focus on other things while they do all the packing and shipping overseas.

An image of a river and trees in the autumnIs CA too expensive? Stay tuned to find out.