What is The Cheapest City in California to Buy a Car

What is the cheapest city in California to buy a car? Buying a car in California has never been more expensive, with prices reaching as high as $15,000 in some places.

The good news is that there are still several cities in California where you can buy a used car that costs less than $5,000.

This means significant savings when you compare it to the cost of buying a new one or even renting one instead. Here are our top 10 picks for the cheapest city in California to buy a car.

Top 10 Cheapest City in California to Buy a Car

1. Los Angeles

Despite what it might look like, Los Angeles is actually ranked as one of the most affordable cities in California when it comes to buying a car.

According to data from Kelley Blue Book and AutoNews, buying an average-priced car — $23,610, will set you back around $370 per month in payments if you live and drive in Los Angeles.

For context, that same monthly payment would cost more than $1,000 for drivers living outside of L.A., making Southern Californians better off than those trying to make ends meet on either coast.

On top of its affordability factor, Southern California is also home to some of the most competitive auto financing institutions.

Including Honda Financial Services and Toyota Financial Services, with an equally competitive inventory of available vehicles at local dealerships.

2. San Diego

If you’re looking to buy a car in California, San Diego is actually the cheapest city of all. A recent analysis conducted by the personal finance site WalletHub found that San Diego is the most cost-effective city for buyers and dealers.

Researchers analyzed factors such as sales tax, insurance costs, and maintenance expenditures. They also looked at factors like average gas prices and auto theft statistics.

The end result? In terms of buyer affordability (which considers sales taxes, annual insurance premiums, and maintenance costs) San Diego ranked second out of 150 total cities across America.

3. San Francisco

If you’re thinking about buying a car, you might have considered purchasing one that is used. A new vehicle can set you back tens of thousands of dollars, so it makes sense to purchase something gently used, but not everyone has $40k laying around for a down payment.

The good news is that there are great deals out there on pre-owned vehicles if you know where to look.

Many people tend to think that moving from another state offers more savings, which could be true for some things like real estate or vehicles, but these tips can help you save money even in San Francisco.

Read also: Best Place to Buy a Car in California

4. San Jose

According to recent data from Bundle, San Jose is officially America’s cheapest city for buying a car. To reach their findings, Bundle examined auto insurance prices and average car costs by city.

In San Jose, drivers pay an average of $2,335 for insurance and about $21,635 for an SUV.

This makes it 10 percent cheaper than Orlando and 17 percent less expensive than Boston, which is America’s most expensive city to buy cars.

In addition, drivers can save even more when they compare multiple quotes at once using Insurify or Policygenius!

5. Fresno

Drivers looking for a cheap car need to look no further than Fresno, where new-car shoppers can get steep discounts compared to other California cities.

A 2017 Consumer Reports analysis determined that buyers should expect to pay between $6,600 and $8,500 less on average by purchasing cars in Fresno rather than San Francisco, making it one of several areas where drivers can get excellent deals.

Other cities included in the study were: Bakersfield; Corona/Chino Hills; El Centro; Long Beach; Los Angeles; Riverside/San Bernardino; Sacramento/Roseville; San Jose and Santa Barbara/Santa Maria.

6. Sacramento

If you’re looking for an affordable used car, head to Sacramento. This capital city is home to two auto dealerships that sold more than 100 used cars last year for less than $10,000 each.

In total, you can expect to pay around $7,700 on average if you want to buy your next ride from here.

That’s about half as much as what you’ll spend on average throughout Southern California: $15,400 for a similar vehicle.

Read also: How to Get the Best Deal on Used Cars Under 5000

7. Long Beach

The city of Long Beach has come out on top for affordability for used cars, beating out Los Angeles and San Diego by $5,200.

Located 30 miles south of LAX, Long Beach is often seen as less expensive than LA, though it’s best known for being home to The Queen Mary and Belmont Shores, luxury homes along Alamitos Bay.

But you won’t have to break your budget when buying a car there, thanks largely to generous state tax rebates. Overall price in Long Beach: $24,850.47. That’s significantly lower than Los Angeles (by almost $9,000) and San Diego (almost $10,500).

A Long Beach driver will spend only 5 percent more ($3,149) on average compared to drivers in LA and 13 percent less ($7,370) than those in San Diego.

And if that’s not enough savings for you…the title transfer fee was lowest at Long Beach Motor Vehicle at only 1.75% (or $37.50).

Again, that was lowest compared with both other locations which charged 2 percent ($75) or 2.25% ($85). How do they do it?

8. Oakland

The Typical Household Income is $48,321. You can expect to pay between $13,000 and $27,000 for your new car.

Though if you are willing to wait it out, you can get an even better deal by buying a used car. How do I know?

That’s how much money you will save on average if you buy from a private party in Oakland instead of at a dealership.

This can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars depending on what type of vehicle you’re looking for.

The average listing price for used cars sold by private owners is around $11,500 – so by buying from someone nearby rather than from a dealership you could easily save enough money for an extra tank of gas!

9. Bakersfield

The cheapest city to buy a car in California is Bakersfield, according to new research from Bankrate.

The city, which is located about 81 miles north of Los Angeles, has an average transaction price of $22,30, that’s around 4 percent below the state average.

San Francisco is one of only two cities in California with an average vehicle price that exceeds $30,000.

Despite having some higher-than-average sales prices compared with other parts of California, Bakersfield still comes out looking pretty good on Bankrate’s analysis.

10. Anaheim

The cheapest place to buy a car in California in Anaheim. That’s according to data from Auto Advantage, an online marketplace for finding new and used cars.

Auto Advantage’s research shows that buyers who shop around at dealerships can find deals on new cars as good as $5000 off MSRP.

Even for popular models like Toyota Prius and Honda CR-V, in California, by comparison, prices hover closer to the sticker prices.

Dealers may offer promotions or discounts but there’s not always a lot of flexibility below sticker price because competition drives prices up, and unfortunately.

Most deals are only available through financial institutions or lease companies instead of directly with individual dealerships.

If you’re interested in getting more information about the cheaper cities that were found on this list, below are links with short explanations and various statistics:

Another cheapest city to buy a car:

The Final Verdict

Knowing where you can buy a car for less will help ensure you’re getting every dime you can for your purchase.

There are plenty of reasons to buy from an independent dealer, but one of those reasons isn’t savings.

Instead, think of purchasing from an independent dealer as buying from someone who knows your local market better than almost anyone else.

He or she should know what cars and makes will sell best in your area, allowing them to get more money on trade-ins and offers when purchasing vehicles.

Of course, also remember that with any decision it is always best to research your options thoroughly before making that final choice.