Best places to buy rental properties in California

January 6, 2022
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Investing in California

The Golden State is home to Silicon Valley, Hollywood, elite universities, and thousands of technology companies. With over $3.4 trillion dollar in GDP, California would be squarely ranked as the 5th largest in the world if it was a country. Investing in California real estate, however, may feel daunting as it contains many of the most expensive markets. But, with California's healthy jobs ecosystem and, arguably, America's best weather, it's no surprise why people flock to the state.

The Nophin team crunched the numbers and found the five best places to invest in California rental properties.

Statewide vacancy rates

CA Rental Vacancy Rate via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles is known for its glitz and glamour as it's the movie capital of the world. The "City of Angels" has a vibrant community of creators, actors, musicians, and entreprenuers.

  • Population: 3,898,747
  • Median household income: $65,290
  • Median 1-bedroom monthly rent: $2,374
  • Median listing home price: $1,000,000

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco is known for its close proximity to the technology industry and Silicon Valley.

  • Population: 873,965
  • Median household income: $119,136
  • Median 1-bedroom monthly rent: $2,995
  • Median listing home price: $1,300,000

San Diego, CA

San Diego is known for its beatiful year-round weather and its beaches.

  • Population: 1,386,932
  • Median household income: $83,454
  • Median 1-bedroom monthly rent: $2,200
  • Median listing home price: $925,000

Sacramento, CA

Sacremento is the state capital of California and the city's history traces back to the Gold Rush.

  • Population: 524,943
  • Median household income: $65,847
  • Median 1-bedroom monthly rent: $1,595
  • Median listing home price: $499,000

Oakland, CA

Oakland, known for the Oak trees decorating the city, has an active and vibrant art scene.

  • Population: 440,646
  • Median household income: $80,143
  • Median 1-bedroom monthly rent: $2,147
  • Median listing home price: $789,000

A bonus city!

We couldn't decide on only five cities to write about so we decided to write about a bonus city popular with property investors: Irvine!

Irvine, CA

Irvine, located in Orange County, is consistently rated one of the safest cities in America. It's a popular tourist destination, owing to the fact that it's just a few miles southeast of Disneyland.

  • Population: 307,670
  • Median household income: $108,318
  • Median 1-bedroom monthly rent: $2,915
  • Median listing home price: $1,500,000

Nophin is landlord banking and software for rental properties

With FDIC-insured bank accounts and cards that seamlessly integrate with easy-to-use software, Nophin helps landlords increase returns and automate rental property finances. Check out what we offer on the Nophin homepage!


To help us determine the five best cities in all states, the Nophin team used data from several sources including the 2020 United States Census, the Department of Housing & Urban Development, Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED), the National Association of REALTORS®, Zumper, internal data, and other reputable sources.

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Please note: Nothing above should be construed as legal, investment, tax, nor financial advice. This content is for informational purposes only. Consult a lawyer and/or an accountant if the above is right for your personal situation.

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