Best Sacramento Neighborhoods for First-Time Homebuyers
Farm-to-fork dining, easy access to mountains and rivers, and a revitalized downtown have made Sacramento a popular place to settle down. And while the city’s real estate market has boomed in recent years, it remains affordable for first-time homebuyers, especially when compared to other California metropolises like Los Angeles or the Bay Area. So which Sacramento neighborhoods are best?
Whether you’re moving to Sacramento for the first time or simply deciding to settle down in your hometown, one question remains: where you should you live? Sacramento neighborhoods are plentiful, from traditional suburban developments to newly revitalized downtown. With both affordability and lifestyle in mind, we’ve put together a guide to some of the city’s best neighborhoods for first-time homebuyers.
Average Sale Price: $352,000
For those in search of both a spacious single family home and an easy commute, College Greens could be a good bet. It sits within a quick drive to many of the area’s freeways. A lightrail station provides connections to downtown Sacramento in one direction and Folsom in the other. The private College Green Swim & Racquet Club serves as a neighborhood gathering place and is infused with a vibe straight out of an earlier era.
Average Sale Price: $522,000
One of the most beloved neighborhoods in Sacramento’s downtown, the highlight of this area is the park itself and the mile-long jogging path that wraps around it. The Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association regularly hosts music and other events in the park, while their clubhouse is home to cultural and educational activities that range from Polynesian dance classes to glass mural making. Homes in the area are unique and well-tended, with a historic flavor.
Average Sale Price: $613,000
The heart of East Sacramento is the pricey “Fab Forties” neighborhood made up of sprawling historic homes on large lots. But for those who don’t have the budget for a Fab Forties home, it’s still possible to find a smaller and more accessible house along the neighborhood’s tree-lined streets. Easy access to the dining delights of Midtown has boosted the neighborhood’s profile even further in recent years, and East Sacramento’s McKinley Park is home to Friday night food trucks and musical festivals on summer nights.
Average Sale Price: $403,000
A full-fledged suburban town with several of its own distinctive neighborhoods, Elk Grove currently has a higher rate of millennial homeownership than almost anywhere else in the United States. The area offers up homes that start with small ranchers and size up to ranch estates. The local school district is strong, and the Giant Pumpkin Festival, a Dickens Faire, and a Multicultural Festival provide family-focused entertainment throughout the year.
Average Sale Price: $426,000
Like many of Sacramento’s most charming downtown neighborhoods, Elmhurst is filled with tree-lined streets and has a community center with events at its heart. Bungalows and Craftsman-style homes add a touch of history to the streets. The Julia Morgan House, built by California’s best-known female architect, is the neighborhood’s most famous structure.
Average Sale Price: $502,000
Folsom is all about families. Its highly-ranked schools combined with a lake that’s perfect for boating and swimming make it ideal for both weekdays and weekends. An aquatic center, a miniature steam engine, a zoo sanctuary, and an indoor playland provide endless entertainment for kids, while the historic downtown and American River Bike Trail have things for adults to enjoy, too. Large newer-construction homes push the median home price high, but there are plenty of 3-bedroom starter homes to be found for more affordable prices.
Garden of the Gods
Average Sale Price: $375,000
This corner of the Arden-Arcade region sits just around the block from Arden Oaks, where the average home price has soared above $1 million. Homes in Garden of the Gods are smaller and more affordable than those in its flashy neighbor but still have access to the area’s amenities, like a Whole Foods and Loehmann’s Shopping Center. Most of the houses were built in the 1950s and are designed in the low-slung style of the mid-century. Garden of the Gods is also sometimes known as Arden Oaks Vista.
Average Sale Price: $405,000
If you dream of owning a prime piece of real estate in Land Park but aren’t on board with the sky-high prices, look to Hollywood Park just a hop, skip and jump away. The area might not have as much charm as its more celebrated neighbor, but the park that gives Land Park its name is adjacent to parts of Hollywood Park, and the vibe here is a bit more down-to-earth. Get in soon if you can–this little neighborhood was named one of Redfin’s hottest in the country for real estate in 2017.
Average Sale Price: $869,000
Land Park is one of Sacramento’s signature downtown neighborhoods, and home prices reflect this status. But first-time buyers may still be able to get a toehold on the neighborhood on its northeast stretch that sits away from its namesake park. 3-bedroom cottages can still be found in the $500,000 range. The well-kept yards, charming architecture, and close proximity to bars, restaurants, and Sacramento’s most popular park make the price worthwhile.
Average Sale Price: $624,000
At the heart of Sacramento’s urban renaissance over the past few years, the tree-lined streets of Midtown are booming. While first-time homebuyers may find it tough to snag a large home with a yard in the area, smaller homes and condos are still available for well under the neighborhood’s average sales price. The area is a hub for restaurants, shopping, and farmer’s markets, and it’s one of the few areas of the Sacramento region where nearly everything is truly walkable.
Average Sale Price: $460,000
Oak Park has seen a wave of renewal in recent years, with crime rates falling and families moving in. Although this has sparked worries of gentrification, many long-time residents have celebrated the community’s enduring diversity and the integration of new neighbors with those who have been there for years. Coffee shops, new housing, and a brewery have popped up along the Broadway thoroughfare.
Average Sale Price: $467,000
With views out to the Sierras, a strong school district, and well-manicured streets, Rocklin is the ideal place to raise a family. So ideal, in fact, that back in 2008 it was named one of Family Circle’s best towns for families in the United States. The newly constructed amphitheater at Quarry Park provides a venue for concerts and events during the warm months, and even has a picturesque waterfall. Although it’s a little further from downtown Sacramento than many of the other spots listed here, we couldn’t resist putting Rocklin on our list.
Average Sale Price: $432,000
Like Elk Grove on the southern side of Sacramento, northern-sitting Roseville is a town in its own right and was named one of the top cities for millennial home ownership in 2017. It has grown rapidly since the 1980s, so housing options tend to be newer than many of Sacramento’s historic downtown areas. The Vernon Street Town Square, built just a few years ago as part of a downtown revitalization, hosts concerts, a Saturday farmer’s market, and Friday Flicks.
South Land Park
Average Sale Price: $453,000
Unlike many of Sacramento’s downtown neighborhoods, South Land Park features homes of a distinctly midcentury vibe, with long, low-slung lines. In fact, three streets of the neighborhood were developed by the famed Joseph Eichler, whose homes dot the Bay Area but never really took off in Sacramento outside of South Land Park. The local neighborhood association boasts about the area’s low crime rate, and plans are in the works to convert an old rail line running through the neighborhood into a modern recreational trail.
Average Sale Price: $360,000
Originally developed as a neighborhood to house veterans returning home from World War II, Tahoe Park continues to offer affordable, family-friendly housing surrounding the green space of its namesake park. The park hosts yoga, food trucks, and other events. Although the homes are slightly more cookie cutter than in neighborhoods like Elmhurst or Land Park, they are also significantly more affordable, with single family options readily available for under $400,000.