SoCal vs. NorCal: Which One is Right for You?

  • Norcal
  • 02/24/21
If you’re considering a move to the golden state, here’s what you need to know to choose between north and south.

Considering a move to California this year? If you’re ready to check out homes for sale in San Francisco or Los Angeles real estate, you need to make a decision: SoCal or NorCal? Both parts of the state have pros and cons, and your decision will likely be based on your unique wants, needs, and personality. Knowing the pros and cons of each area will help you make a choice that is perfect for you and your family.

Benefits of Living in SoCal

Southern California has almost a mythical reputation — and for a reason. There are plenty of reasons to love SoCal. Here are just a few:
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  • Year-round sunshine. If you love the warm temps and don’t mind forgoing snow on Christmas or crisp fall weather, SoCal is a perfect choice. With highs in the mid-80s in summer and high 60s to low 70s in winter, Southern California is a summer lover’s dream come true. Pair this with an average of 284 sunny days each year and you’ve got a tropical paradise.

  • Beach and resort-style amenities. If being a beach bum is high on your to-do list, there’s no better place than SoCal. Malibu and Laguna Beach are two of the hottest spots for sun and surf in the nation.

  • The amount of space. Los Angeles is one of the largest metropolitan cities in the world by population, but that population is spread over 503 square miles. If you don’t like living on top of your neighbors, this sprawl is a definite pro.

  • Support for creativity. Known as the city of dreamers, L.A. is a beacon for those who want to create in any form. From art to acting to performing, this city is perfect for those who want to be immersed in a world of innovation and culture.

Drawbacks of Living in SoCal

Of course, not every geographical area is perfect. If you’re planning to consider Los Angeles real estate, here’s what you should know about the cons of living in the city.

  • Transportation. If L.A. is your southern California city of choice, you’ll likely need a vehicle to get around the sprawling city. You’ll also be in for long commutes and plenty of traffic jams. Searching for parking can also be a problem.

  • Cost of living. It’s quite expensive to live in and around Los Angeles, which is the hub of SoCal. Living in L.A. will cost you around 41% more than the national average. However, the average worker in L.A. makes 12% more than the national average, which makes it a tad easier on the bank account.

  • Competition for jobs. The best and the brightest in many industries flock to L.A., which means competition for certain types of jobs can be fierce. Manufacturing, technology, start-ups, and, of course, entertainment are all popular industries in SoCal and could be difficult to break into if you don’t have experience.

  • Crime. When it comes to crime, L.A. doesn’t boast the strongest safety stats. The city has 1.12 times more crime than the California average and 1.25 times more crime than the national average. Violent crimes average 1.66 times higher than the California average and 1.93 times more than the national average.

Benefits of Living in NorCal

Think you’d rather avoid the glitz and glamour of SoCal and look for homes for sale in San Francisco instead? Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Higher education. If a college degree is on your radar, NorCal has two stellar options: Stanford University and the University of California Berkeley. Both are top-rated schools for those interested in the tech, business, entrepreneur industries.

  • Outdoor activities. Northern California has a wide variety when it comes to outdoor sports due to its proximity to both mountains and bodies of water. Hiking, camping, and snow-skiing are just a few sports you can indulge in, and Lake Tahoe and Mammoth are favorites for outdoor enthusiasts.

  • Environmentally friendly. The first-ever Earth Day celebration took place in Santa Barbara, and being green has become the norm in NorCal. From eco-friendly hotels to an abundance of green communities, those who are conscious of their environmental footprint will love Northern California.

  • Wine lovers’ paradise. There isn’t a wine lover out there who hasn’t been to (or who doesn’t want to go to) Napa Valley. This famous wine region is not only the home of some of the most renowned wineries in the world, but it is also breathtakingly beautiful.

  • Range of activities. Where else can you taste wine at a famous winery for lunch, hit the beach in the afternoon, and stay at a mountain resort that night? If you want more variety than just hitting the beach or soaking in the sun every day, you’ll prefer NorCal.

Drawbacks of Living in NorCal

Northern California also has its drawbacks, some of which are similar to SoCal and some unique. Here are some you should be aware of:

  • Homeless rates. San Francisco, the hub of NorCal, has a more visible homeless problem than almost any other major city. That’s due to the sheer number of homeless without shelter, the lack of square footage, and the mild climate.

  • Traffic. Just like L.A., the Bay Area has some of the worst traffic in the nation. Drivers spend an average of 79 hours per year in traffic and have to pay dearly for it: gas prices are generally around $1 more expensive per gallon here than in other parts of the country.

  • Less space. Northern California generally has less space than the southern parts of the state. Though this may bother those who don’t like living, working, and playing near crowds of people, it also means travel time is cut down. 
Whether you plan to consider homes for sale in San Francisco or Los Angeles real estate, you’ll benefit from California’s laid-back lifestyle, abundant entertainment options, and plenty of beautiful scenery. Though it may cost a bit more to take advantage of these opportunities, Californians will tell you it’s well worth it.

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