When it’s time to buy a new home, one of the most important things to find is an affordable place to live. Orange County real estate is highly coveted and that’s why it comes with a hefty price tag. To help you find a great place to live that will fit your budget, we’ve identified 5 up-and-coming areas in the area where you can still find a great deal.

 

Santa Ana

The largest and most populated city in Orange County, Santa Ana is also one of the most walkable cities in the county. This community offers numerous local attractions and several unique and historical features. This includes downtown Santa Ana, the Artist’s Village, the Science Discovery Center, the Heritage Museum of Orange County and over 150 restaurants, coffee shops and bars.

Near the artist’s village you can find a buzz of activity and infectious passion happening all over. The areas around the coast have always gotten a lot of attention, but Santa Ana is the underdog that’s seen major improvement over the past year. It was once considered more of a rough area with a long road ahead, but the turn-around has been dramatic and fast. Young people have put a lot of energy into turning this section of the area around, and the ripple effect has been seen across the city. Its additions of hip, new restaurants and pubs and, especially, their contributions to the community with their artistic endeavors will continue to make this area popular for both students and young professionals for years to come.

The median home value in Santa Ana is $533,723. Santa Ana home values have gone up 10.2% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 4.4% within the next year.

Fullerton

One of the largest cities in Orange County, Fullerton is renowned for its mix of residential, commercial, industrial, educational and cultural environments, which provides a unique and exciting quality of life. In Fullerton you will find some vintage real estate, an exciting downtown district, Cal State Fullerton College, two regional parks and so much more.

California State Fullerton students give the town life, and they definitely infuse enthusiasm into the local hangouts. College towns carry a risk that they’ll go the party school route that no neighbor wants, but this is a suburb that manages to take the good and leave the bad. Students here are generally friendly and well mannered, and there are a variety of families here who just want their children to have access to good schools. You can find relatively affordable housing in a city that places an emphasis on education in the arts and has a lot of cultural influences to offer.

The median home value in Fullerton is $641,750. Fullerton home values have gone up 6.7% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 3.5% within the next year.

 

Stanton

Stanton is an up-and-coming community in Orange County that has undergone several upgrades and renovations within the last few. Recent renovations and upgrades include 3 new parks, Veterans Memorial Park, Pocket Park and Harry M. Dotson Park, making the community more family friendly. Centrally located within Orange County, Stanton is also just minutes from tons of fun like Adventure City and Knott’s Berry Farm theme parks.

The small city of Stanton is often overlooked, but the homes are significantly lower than their surrounding cities. While there may not be too much happening in Stanton itself, you can head to nearby Anaheim for an Angels game or take the kids to Disneyland for the day. The location itself makes it valuable, and extremely likely to attract the right kind of people to the area. The homes here have already seen significant gains over the past year. This is definitely an area to get in on before everything is taken.

The median home value in Stanton is $498,787. Stanton home values have gone up 9.6% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 4.5% within the next year.

 

Aliso Viejo

Surrounded by Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Laguna Niguel and Laguna Hills, Aliso Viejo is a very nice neighborhood with a very nice price tag. The city borders on Aliso and Wood Canyons Regional Park, a lush regional park and wildlife sanctuary, providing residents with some local natural beauty to enjoy. There are also tons of restaurants, retail shopping and service businesses scattered throughout and surrounding the city.

To be classified as an up-and comer, you need to have the right people drawn to your area so their collective efforts start turning into real gain across the market. Aliso Viejo has the right formula, right now, with cheaper homes in a great location to make it happen. With newer homes for sale featuring interesting architecture and plenty of space, there’s a lot of potential for growth.

The median home value in Aliso Viejo is $632,229. Aliso Viejo home values have gone up 6.6% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 3.4% within the next year.

 

Seal Beach

Nestled on the border of Orange County and Long Beach, Seal Beach is an often forgotten beach city in Southern California. The city is home to 920 acres of national wildlife refuge, the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station, the second largest wooden pier in the United States and has a quaint small town beach village to enjoy. Residents love Seal Beach for its temperate coastal weather and laid back atmosphere making it popular with retirees.

This community here may be older now, but its coastal location and existing infrastructure could mean big things ahead for this city. Currently, it’s rather sleepy but with the expansion of Orange County real estate, it may not stay that way for long. It has a beautiful, clean section of the Pacific Ocean all to itself, which will continue to attract people of all ages and talents. With restaurants and shops that cover a wide range of tastes and interests, it could easily become a tourist destination or a smart place to invest in real estate for the future. Property near the ocean obviously doesn’t come cheap, and nearby towns are going into the millions.

The median home value in Seal Beach is $937,528. Seal Beach home values have gone up 0.2% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 1.4% within the next year.