Renting vs Owning a Home in Orange County

From determining the average rent in Orange County to exploring new homes in Orange County —there are a few things to consider when trying to estimate the cost of living in the Orange County area. And while costs are high in some neighborhoods, that doesn’t leave you without options. There are also plenty of nearby areas to consider that will offer you space and the flexibility you need to find the perfect home. 


General Cost of Living in Orange County

Housing is one of many costs that go into factoring in the cost of living in Orange County. You’ll also want to consider groceries, utilities, transportation, health, and of course—funds for going out on the town. That said, in general, the cost of living in Orange County can vary quite a bit for its more than 3 million residents. But housing costs overall, in a city that has the 6th largest population in the US, are high. 


Cost of Renting in Orange County

The average rent in Orange County is just over $2,100 for about 950 square feet. It’s worth noting though that although the rent is high, you’ll get a bit more square footage in California than you would in other expensive and highly populous cities. 


Cost of Home Ownership in Orange County

If you’re contemplating Orange County real estate, you’ll need to prepare yourself for quite the investment. The median price of homes in Orange County is over $800,000—or about three times the national average.


As far as the general cost of living in Orange County goes, health and utility costs are just below the national average, but groceries and transportation are still on the high side. That said, even if the cost of living in Orange County seems too high for you, there are still plenty of nearby options that could help you enjoy the feel of living in Orange County, without the high prices.


Living in Orange County vs. Area Neighborhoods

The good news about California is that it tends to have far more space than a lot of other densely populated urban areas. That means that living in Orange County proper isn’t totally out of the question. And if you have the budget for it, it’s not too late to afford a new construction home in the area. That’s something you can’t do in other popular areas, no matter how large your budget is. Though if Orange County real estate is still too much for you, there are a couple of nearby areas that might also do the trick. 


Irvine, California

If living in Orange County proper is your goal, it’s probably worth it for you to invest in Orange County real estate. That’s at least the case if you want to live in the Irvine area. While Irvine offers some new construction homes starting at just over $740,000—the overall cost of renting is high at about $2,400 for an average of 920 square feet. That’s slightly less square footage for slightly more than the average rent of all of Orange County.


Chino, California

You can do much better on rent in Chino, California where the average cost of rent is about $1,900 for the same 920 square feet that you would get in Irvine. And while the cost of living in Orange County is about the same as it is in Chino, you can afford a new construction home in Chino for as low as $600,000.



Ontario, California

Another alternative to Orange County real estate prices is Ontario, California. The average cost of rent in Ontario is just over $1,900 for about 900 square feet. A new construction home in Ontario starts at just over $700,000, but you’re more likely to find a single-family home there, instead of a townhome or condo. The cost of living in Orange County and Ontario are also comparable, although Ontario is about a 40-minute drive out.


Living in Orange County can be pricey, but there are plenty of reasons that people still decide to make the move there every year—with plenty more investing in Orange County real estate. Those reasons include the vivid downtown areas, created by the cluster of cities that make up Orange County. And there are also plenty of beaches, amusement parks, and unique restaurants to eat at. So, while the cost of living in Orange County might deter you, the endless beaches and sunny weather are likely to draw you in.



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Published 9.29.2021

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