Sacramento, CA homebuyer’s guide
The Big Tomato. River City. America’s Farm-to-Fork capital. California’s sixth-largest city has plenty of nicknames—and plenty of things to do.
11/4/2022 · 9 min read
Curious what your home is worth?
Get an offer in minutes, sell in a matter of days.Find out
When people think of California, they often think about the Los Angeles’ Hollywood Hills or San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge. But the state’s capital, Sacramento, is a gem all its own, with neighborhoods brimming with culture and plenty of food and fun.
The city’s history dates back to the 1830s, when John Sutter established Sutter’s Fort at the place where the Sacramento River meets the American River. He originally intended for it to be an agricultural hub—and he would be proud of its new reputation as America’s Farm-to-Fork capital. With plenty of farm-to-table restaurants, farmers’ markets, and home grown breweries that depend on local agriculture, Sacramento is a bit of a farmer’s paradise. It also happens to be one of the more affordable cities in California, which might explain the ever-growing population. For those looking to settle in the Golden State, don’t sleep on Sacramento. It has plenty of shine to offer.
Latest homes for sale in Sacramento, CA
- 3 br
- 2 ba
- 1466 sqft
- 4 br
- 2 ba
- 1614 sqft
- 3 br
- 2 ba
- 1314 sqft
- 4 br
- 3 ba
- 2041 sqft
- 2 br
- 1 ba
- 1234 sqft
- 3 br
- 2.5 ba
- 1638 sqft
- 4 br
- 3 ba
- 1630 sqft
- 4 br
- 2.5 ba
- 1818 sqft
Look & feel of Sacramento
The Sacramento housing market
Median Home Price
Median Price per Sq. Ft
Average Monthly Home Sales
The market is cooling down
After two years of what many in Sacramento have called the “most aggressive market ever,” the housing market might finally be taking a breath. As of June 2022, the number of homes for sale has reached a level of inventory that will take some of the burden off homebuyers who often paid above asking price in order to purchase a home. Some houses are even staying on the market as long as 50 days, indicating a dip in the market frenzy.
An affordable option in an expensive state
It’s no secret that housing in California is more expensive than most parts of the country. However, within California, there are more affordable areas—and Sacramento is one of them. Los Angeles’ housing costs are 110% more expensive than housing costs in Sacramento. Add to that the overall cost of living, and the choice between Los Angeles and Sacramento becomes that much easier, especially for those homebuyers looking to stretch their budget.
Cost of living in Sacramento, CA
Rent Affordability Index
Affordable for California, but still above the U.S. average
While it is still more expensive to live in Sacramento than in other parts of the United States, the cost of living in California’s capital city is still significantly lower than other parts of the state. Transportation, groceries, and housing are the biggest expenses for Sacramento residents, while health care costs are actually lower than in other parts of the country.
Where you live in Sacramento plays a role in expenses
Sacramento’s various neighborhoods are clearly divided by living expenses. Communities west of the city, such as Pocket and Woodland, tend to be less expensive, while neighborhoods in the northern part of the city, such as Fair Oaks, Folsom, and Arden Woods, tend to be a bit pricier.
The job market
As of June 2022, the job market in Sacramento is going strong. With unemployment at 3.1 percent in Sacramento County and 4,400 new jobs added between the months of April 2022 and May 2022, the city and its surrounding areas show definite promise for those looking to start or continue a career in sunny Sacramento.
Average Salary per Year
Opportunities in the leisure and hospitality industry
Leisure and hospitality is a robust industry in Sacramento, with 13,100 new jobs added to the sector between May 2021 and May 2022. Accommodation and food services also saw an increase, with 9,500 new jobs, and education and health services came in a close third, with 7,900 new jobs added between the two industries.
Services offered in Sacramento
Light rail: SacRT
EV charging: City of Sacramento
Gold, Blue, and Green will get you where you need to go
For those living inside the city limits, Sacramento’s Light Rail system offers easy access to multiple areas. Riders can choose between the Gold Line, which runs from Downtown and terminates at Historic Folsom, the Blue Line, which runs from Watt/I-80 to Cosumnes River College, and the Green Line, which runs from Downtown to 7th and Richards/the Township 9.
Abundant options for EV drivers
The City of Sacramento has several EV charging stations available. As a greener city with a focus on farm-to-table businesses, it’s clear that Sacramento is doing their part to help the environment. However, charging stations become a bit more scarce the further out from Downtown you get, so commuters should charge up on their way home.
Family Median Income
Evenly divided along generational lines
Between zoomers, millennials, and Gen X’ers, Sacramento is pretty evenly divided. Around 15% of Sacramento residents are between the ages of 25 and 34. 14% are between the ages of 35 and 44, and 12% are between the ages of 45 and 54. Baby boomers aren’t far behind, with nearly 11% of the population between the ages of 55 and 64.
Crime & safety
Like any major city, Sacramento sees its fair share of crime. However, most instances of crime are non-violent, with theft and vandalism ranking high among the reported crimes in the city. The northwest part of the city tends to see the least amount of crime, while the southwest tends to experience more crime.
Sacramento is a sprawling metropolis, with a wide variety of communities located within the city limits. Peruse the list of neighborhoods below to see which part of the city best suits your needs.
East Sacramento— Walk along famous tree-lined streets
Spend a day in "East Sac," as the locals call it, and you’re bound to recognize a few things. Fans of Greta Gerwig’s 2017 film Lady Bird will remember the titular character’s fascination with the Fabulous Forties, a neighborhood featuring tree-lined streets and luxurious houses. Local coffee shops and plenty of biking and jogging trails make East Sac a cozy, albeit pricey, place to call home.
North Sacramento - An artist’s and golfer’s delight
North Sacramento is a bit quieter when compared to neighborhoods like Downtown and South Sacramento, but it still has plenty to offer. The Del Paso Boulevard arts scene is thriving, according to Visit Sacramento. What’s more, golfing is a popular activity in this particular neighborhood, thanks to nearby courses like Haggin Oaks.
Land Park - Family-friendly fun south of the city
Land Park’s quaint and quiet streets aren’t the only thing to love about the area. Home to both the Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town, a children’s outdoor play park and museum, Land Park offers families plenty to do outside the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Downtown-Midtown - Always something to do
Like any major city, Sacramento’s Downtown and Midtown neighborhoods are brimming with bars, restaurants, museums, and all kinds of other attractions. Enjoy the colorful nightlife and forever be at the center of the city’s major events. Entertainment is never more than a few blocks away.
South Sacramento - The city’s cultural hub
Often referred to as the “cultural mecca” of Sacramento, the South Sacramento neighborhood is full of international supermarkets and home-grown ethnic restaurants. Areas such as Little Saigon offer goods and services from throughout Asia, including Vietnam, China, the Philippines, and more. You can also visit Sacramento’s oldest winery, Frasinetti Winery, which opened in 1837 and still exists today.
3 things to know before buying a home in Sacramento, according to locals
1. The heat’s dry, so be prepared to hydrate
While you won’t face soupy humidity in Sacramento, the dry heat can be just as dangerous. Wear sunscreen and prepare to hydrate, especially during the summer months, when temperatures can climb into the high 90s. In dryer weather, it might not be as easy to tell when you need a sip of water, so take care to drink plenty when out and about.
2. Sacramento is crazy about its tomatoes
Sacramentans know a thing or two about tomatoes. Throughout the region, you’ll find a plethora of fresh tomato growers who contribute produce to the city’s many farm-to-table restaurants. This might be a reason why so many Sacramento residents are also crazy about their pizza. Whether served thin crust or deep dish style, you know you’re getting fresh tomato sauce.
3. Be prepared for traffic - and allergies
Residents often comment on two things about Sacramento: the traffic and the allergies. When it comes to commute times, some lifelong residents say to prepare for some serious traffic. As the capital city, Sacramento’s population is high, and the congestion shouldn’t be underestimated, even if it’s not as infamous as Los Angeles’ gridlock. Residents also warn that the valley is full of a variety of plant species that like to bloom throughout the different seasons, so expect to battle pollen and grass allergies year-round.
The top 4 things to do in Sacramento
1. Explore the Old Sacramento Waterfront
Sacramento and its citizens are proud of the city’s historic district. Exploring the Old Sacramento Waterfront is a fun-filled way to spend the day. Take a peek inside the various shops, wine and dine at the delicious restaurants, or check out one of the many attractions located in the district, like the Sacramento History Museum, city river cruises, and so much more.
2. Enjoy good eats and unique brews
With its year-round growing season, it’s no wonder that Sacramento has become the Farm-to-Fork capital of the country. 1.5 million acres of farm and ranch land exist throughout the region—and nearly every local restaurant uses locally-grown produce. Visit popular local spots like Beast + Bounty or Pangaea Bier Cafe, or enjoy locally-sourced beer at one of the many breweries throughout the city. Don’t forget that Sacramento is smack in the middle of wine country. Enjoy a glass—or a bottle—at tasting rooms like Acheson Wine Company.
3. Step back in time aboard the Delta King
Sacramento’s historic paddlewheel riverboat, the Delta King, offers visitors a one-of-a-kind experience. Spend a night in one of the former state rooms on board, dine at the Pilothouse Restaurant, or enjoy one of the many holiday events hosted aboard the riverboat. Looking for a unique place to tie the knot? The Delta King also hosts weddings on board.
4. Bike the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail
Nature fanatics will go wild for the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, a 32-mile long bike trail that runs parallel to the American River. Starting at Discovery Park, the trail can be accessed through most parks located in the American River Parkway and ends at Beals Point. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the natural landscapes, and bikers will particularly enjoy the long, flat ride.
Continue exploring the Sacramento area
Sacramento, CA homebuyer’s guide
November 4, 2022
Folsom, CA homebuyer’s guide
Galt, CA homebuyer’s guide
Taylor Hartley is a Charlotte-area resident and proud UNC-Chapel Hill graduate with more than 10 years of creative writing experience. A former English teacher, she spends most of her time plotting out fantasy novels and tackling the books on her to-be-read list.
Jessica Wright is a photographer and travel blogger who calls Sacramento home. She shares her adventures across the globe on her blog, Bon Traveler. When she is not traveling, she’s exploring the best of her city, Sacramento, from neighborhood coffee shops like Temple to weekend farmer’s markets.