Richmond, CA (not to be confused with the city in Virginia), is an Oakland suburb just north of San Francisco in Contra Costa County. Nestled in the East Bay region, this unique community is highly diverse (African Americans, Latinx, Asians, Middle Easterners, and more call this area home). It also offers cheap housing, lovely neighborhoods, parks, restaurants, shopping centers, and an overall strong sense of community.

Within proximity of San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Albany, and San Jose, Richmond provides both a centralized home base and attractively low cost of living – median house price is only $587K vs. San Francisco’s median price of $1.44 million! Even though Richmond gets a bad rap for its crime rates, things have been improving in recent years. Offering a wide variety of amenities and affordable living (along with 32 miles of waterfront and gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge and SF), Richmond is a city that provides a bit of everything in California’s beautiful Bay Area!

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Living in Richmond, CA: What to Know Before Moving to Richmond

Richmond is less than 18 miles north of San Francisco in the East Bay area. Bordered by Albany, El Cerrito, Pinole, and San Pablo, it’s the 63rd most populous city in California with a population of about 110,000. The Oakland suburb offers cheap housing prices and a little bit of everything from family-friendly places and dog-friendly parks to great food and excellent shopping options.

Pros and Cons of Living in Richmond

Pros: 

  • Climate: Offering mild year-round weather, tempered by the fresh breeze of San Francisco Bay, Richmond sees 262 days of sunshine and rarely dips below an average low of 43°F.
  • Cheap housing: Atypical for the region – the Bay Area is one of the most expensive places to live in the US – the city offers fantastic deals for those wanting to become homeowners.
  • Prime location: Many phenomenal cities for commuting and day trips, including SF, Oakland, El Cerrito, Walnut Creek, Palo Alto, and San Jose, surround Richmond!
  • Things to do: Along with a variety of shopping malls, restaurants, parks, and more, Richmond is home to 32 miles of shoreline, Marina Bay, and breathtaking bay hikes & views.
  • High diversity: From Latinx (42%) to African-American (20%) to Asian (15%), the community is a melting pot that offers diverse culture, eclectic cuisine, and rich experiences.

Cons:

  • Crime: Okay, when it comes to crime, Richmond has a less than stellar record. Both property crime and violent crime rates are much higher than national and California averages.
  • The high cost of living: As with many other parts of CA, Richmond has higher expenses than the US average. Relative to SF, though, living costs are super cheap (see ‘Cost of Living’ below).
  • Traffic: According to the San Chronicle, the Bay Area has the 7th worst traffic in the country. Silver lining? This ranking is actually an improvement, and it continues to get better.
  • Occasional earthquakes: This is an unfortunate reality for California cities, and Richmond is no exception. Make sure to be prepared in the event of a significant earthquake.

Tax Rates

  • Property tax: According to the Overview of Property Taxes by SmartAsset, the average county tax rate is 0.871%. Average property tax is $4,355 (assessed home value of $500,000).
  • Sales tax: The state of California has a base sales tax rate of 7.25%. Combined with local taxes, the 2020 minimum combined sales tax rate in Richmond is currently 9.25%.
  • State income tax: The state currently has ten separate tax brackets. Rates range from 1% to 13.3%. A resident’s rate depends on income and filing status (single or married).

Housing Market

The median home selling price in Richmond is currently $587,680. Compared to San Francisco’s median home value of $1.44 million, this is an exceptional deal (53% of residents own their homes). As for rentals, the median rent price is $2,580 per month for a 1,152 sq. ft. apartment (or $30,960 annually).

Here are the cheapest neighborhoods to live in Richmond, CA:

  1. Richmond Heights
  2. Ohio Ave / Harbour Way S
  3. Barrett Ave / Harbour Way (Iron Triangle)
  4. MacDonald Ave / 2nd St
  5. Center Ave / S 37th St

Cost of Living

According to the Cost of Living in Richmond by BestPlaces, it has a cost of living index of 148.6. This index is higher than the US average of 100 (but significantly lower than the SF average of 269.3).

Here are some examples of individual costs (relative to the average of 100): Groceries (108.6), Health (109.3), Housing (227.3), Utilities (89.7), and Transportation (133.2). The median household income in Richmond is $65,000 per year. This median is higher than the US median of approximately $62,000.

Here are the average monthly expenses in Contra Costa County for a family of four:

  1. Housing = $2,393
  2. Food = $870
  3. Childcare = $1,537
  4. Transportation = $1,327
  5. Health Care = $1,079
  6. Other necessities = $1,316
  7. Taxes = $1,950
  8. Total = $10,473 per month or $125,672 per year

For comparison, let’s take a look at the monthly costs in SF for two adults + two kids:

  1. Housing = $3,121
  2. Food = $998
  3. Childcare = $1,730
  4. Transportation = $1,114
  5. Health Care = $1,152
  6. Other necessities = $1,662
  7. Taxes = $2,593
  8. Total = $12,370 per month or $148,440 per year

As you can see, there’s a noticeable difference. Even though Richmond is a pretty expensive place to live, it’s still less than living in San Francisco – more than 15% cheaper!

Weather & Natural Disasters

Tempered by the cool breeze of the Bay, the City of Richmond offers a mild, Mediterranean climate. Slightly warmer than areas closer to the coast, it rarely drops below 43°F in the winter and hovers in the mid-60s and low 70s for a majority of the year.

Richmond experiences the warmest temperatures in August and September, with September seeing an average high of 74°F and a low of 56°F. The coldest months are December and January (the only months that dip below a high of 60°F), with an average high of 57°F and low of 43°F in January. Not exactly winter coat and snow boots weather, but we feel you’ll probably be okay with that!

So, with all this lovely weather, what’s the downside? Well, if you’re into snowy winters, this isn’t the place for you. There’s no snow, but you can expect about 28 inches of rainfall each year. There’s not much in the way of seasonal variation, but Squaw Valley Ski Resort and other popular snow areas are just a few hours east of the Bay Area city.

As for natural disasters, earthquake activity tops the list of potential risks & threats. To be prepared, check out the City of Richmond’s Preparedness Information resource.

Economy & Job Market

Formerly fueled by heavy industry, Richmond’s economy eventually transitioned to a focus on high tech (particularly biotechnology) and light industrial companies. As a “trio” community – maritime, industrial, and residential – it currently has an unemployment rate of 3.5% (lower than the US average of 3.9%). As for future job growth, the city projects a 34.9% increase over the next decade.

Significant industries in Richmond include healthcare and social assistance; retail trade; manufacturing; educational services; accommodation and food services; professional, scientific, and technical services; construction; public administration; and finance and insurance.

Here are the best employers in Richmond, CA:

  1. California Closets
  2. Mountain Hardwear (a subsidiary of Columbia Sportswear)
  3. Dicon Fiber Optics
  4. Universal Building Services & Supply Company
  5. J.T. Thorpe & Son
  6. Sangamo Therapeutics
  7. Richmond Wholesale Meat
  8. Green Valley Plant Rental
  9. Richmond Police Dept Credit Union
  10. Ekso Bionics

Looking for a job in Richmond, CA? Here are some handy online resources: CareerBuilder, CollegeRecruiter, Indeed, LinkedIn, and Employment & Training Development – Richmond, CA.

Traffic and Transportation

When it comes to public transportation, there are several options in Richmond, CA. These include Richmond Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Richmond Amtrak, AC Transit, Golden Gate Transit, and Clipper Card. As for air travel, there’s San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Oakland International Airport (OAK), and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC).

Are you planning on driving in and around Richmond? You should familiarize yourself with significant routes. In the west, you’ll have to travel on Interstate 580 (east-west) over the San Francisco Bay. This route connects with Highway 101 (north-south), a major California highway that runs through cities like San Francisco. To the east, Interstate 80 (north-east) takes you toward Oakland.

According to Living in Richmond by Walk Score, the East Bay city scores the following: 57 (Walk Score), 43 (Transit Score), and 53 (Bike Score). Public transportation is decent, but it (along with walkability and bikeable areas) still could benefit from continued improvement.

Last but not least, we tackle the topic of traffic. As mentioned in the ‘Pros and Cons’ section, the Bay Area currently ranks as the #7 worst traffic area in the nation. This ranking is an improvement, however, as the metro area previously ranked the second-worst for traffic delays. There’s still a ways to go, but all the signs are pointing to more improvement over the coming years.

What to Do

Highly diverse and centrally located, Richmond offers visitors and residents a slew of fun and exciting things to do. From its world-renowned marinas and 32 miles of shoreline to scenic hiking and great shopping, there’s something for everyone here to enjoy!

  • Let’s begin with parks. Richmond is known for its excellent trails, and Marina Bay Trail is a popular pick with its wildlife, panoramic views, and historical sites. Point Pinole, situated on 2,315 acres, offers fantastic views of sailboats and Mt. Tamalpais, walking, and trail hiking. Wildcat Canyon Regional Park is one of the city’s top attractions, ideal for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
  • Are you looking for the best destinations? The Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park is a big draw for history buffs. Enjoy music and festivities? The Craneway Pavilion features a 45,000-square-foot sustainably-designed space that hosts many concerts and productions. If retail therapy is more your speed, definitely check out 77-acre, mixed-use The Shops at Hilltop.
  • Sports fans love living in the Bay Area! From the Golden State Warriors (NBA) to the San Francisco 49ers (NFL), there are some fantastic championship teams to root for here.
  • As for other popular tourist destinations and local activities, there’s a long list, so here are the top picks. Keller Beach Park is home to a wide sandy beach popular with families. Riggers Loft Wine Company is one of the top wineries in the area, offering beautiful views of the bay and delicious food and wine. There’s also Brickyard Cove Marina (wet and dry rentals) and Richmond Yacht Club.

Schools and Universities

West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD), which provides education to more than 31,650 students, is the primary K–12 school district for Richmond, CA. The student-teacher ratio is 25:1, and the graduation rate is 79%. The average SAT and ACT scores are 1090 and 23, respectively. Overall, public schools in the city receive average ratings.

Highly-rated public schools include Miramonte High School, Middle College High School, El Cerrito High School, Kensington Elementary School, Madera Elementary School, Fred T. Korematsu Middle School, and Leadership Public Schools – Richmond. Looking for private education? Consider Salesian College Preparatory, St. Cornelius School, St. David School, East Bay Waldorf School, and Canterbury School.

As for higher education, the City of Richmond doesn’t directly offer any major options. There are, however, many institutions nearby, including Stanford University (Stanford), Santa Clara University (Santa Clara), University of San Francisco, University of California – Berkeley (UC Berkeley), Dominican University of California (San Rafael), and Contra Costa College (San Pablo).

Crime

According to Crime in Richmond by BestPlaces, the city has a property crime rate of 55.1. This rate is much higher than both the national average of 35.4 and the California state average of 37.1. The violent crime rate (which includes robbery, murder & non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, and aggravated assault) is 46.0, significantly higher than the US average of 22.7 and California average of 25.2.

Utility Providers

Before you move to the City of Richmond, you’ll want to get your utilities up & running by the time you arrive at your new home. Here’s a list of the major providers:

  • Electric & gas service: Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is the primary electricity & gas provider in Richmond is. To get things going, visit the company’s Start or Stop Service page.
  • Water service: East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) provides water to Richmond residents. New customers can begin service by going to EBMUD’s Start Service page.
  • Trash pick-up/recycling service: Richmond Republic Sanitary Service provides trash service. For more info, check out the Request Services page or call 510-262-1640.
  • Internet/Cable service: Don’t forget internet and cable TV services. The leading providers include AT&T, DirecTV, Comcast (Xfinity), Frontier Communications, and Verizon.
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Best Neighborhoods in Richmond, CA

Here are some of the best areas of Richmond to call home:

Carriage Hills

Carriage Hills, which consists of Carriage Hills North and Carriage Hills South, is a popular community that packs a double punch. Less than 10 miles northeast of the downtown area, the neighborhood is bordered by Coach Dr (west), while Castro Ranch Rd separates the northern and southern parts of the community. A resounding 90% of residents own their homes.

Essentially made up of two neighborhoods, Carriage Hills’ south section is the farthest part of the city to the east (and technically located in El Sobrante). Both areas are highly desirable. Carriage Hills North is a great commuter neighborhood, with plenty of newer development. Carriage Hills South has homes that built predominately in the 1980s. It’s a safe area with little crime.

Very friendly and safe, Carriage Hills offers two excellent neighborhoods (along with convenient access to Sobrante Ridge Regional Park District) that come together as a stable, multicultural community ideal for young families, retirees, and commuting professionals.

  • Population – Under 2,400 residents
  • Home Price – Ranging from $649,000 to $820,000
  • Rent Prices – $1,600 for studio and $2,400 for 2BR place
  • Schools – John Henry High, Aspire Richmond Technology Academy, Olinda Elementary School, Aspire Richmond CA College Preparatory Academy, De Anza Senior High School

Hilltop Green

Located less than 5.5 miles northeast of Downtown Richmond, Hilltop Green is a diverse, family-friendly, and dog-friendly neighborhood. It’s bordered by Raton Ct (north), Hilltop Dr (south), and Interstate 80 (west). 80% of residents are homeowners.

Hilltop Green offers several older homes (mainly built between 1967 and 1976) with 2–4 bedrooms and 1–2 bathrooms. Houses range in size from 1,080- to nearly 2,200-square-feet. The neighborhood is home to Hilltop Green Park, Hilltop Food Mart, Small World Montessori School, and Trinity Apostolic Faith Church. It also borders Pinole Vista Shopping Center and several retail stores.

Providing comfortable living, quick access to highway, and a nice assortment of amenities, Hilltop Green is a great neighborhood to raise kids or buy your first home.

  • Population – Under 2,100 residents
  • Home Price – Ranging from $350,000 to $575,000
  • Rent Prices – $1,900 for 1BR apartment and $2,950 for 3BR place
  • Schools – John Henry High, Murphy Elementary School, Aspire Richmond Technology Academy, Aspire Richmond CA College Preparatory Academy, De Anza Senior High School

Hilltop Village

Hilltop Village – it’s bordered by Hilltop Dr (northwest), Robert Miller Dr (south), and San Pablo Ave (west) – is a well-established, clean, and quiet neighborhood that’s situated less than six miles north of the downtown area. 76% of residents own their homes.

This community offers fantastic proximity to a host of stores and amenities, including The Shops at Hilltop (a 77-acre mixed-use marketplace and regional hub) and Hilltop Lake Park just to the east, along with Hilltop Park along the southeastern border. Hilltop Village also boasts condos, attached, and single-family homes (built between 1984 and 1991) at a current median price of just $424,500.

Growing family or first-time homebuyer? Hilltop Village is worth some serious consideration.

  • Population – Under 1,700 residents
  • Home Price – Ranging from $269,000 to $698,000
  • Rent Prices – $1,595 for studio and $2,385 for 2BR place
  • Schools – John Henry High, De Anza Senior High School, Crespi Junior High School, Aspire Richmond Technology Academy, Aspire Richmond CA College Preparatory Academy

Iron Triangle

Dating back to 1905, Iron Triangle (aka Central Richmond, which includes Downtown Richmond) is a large residential area. It borders Portola Ave (northeast), Ohio Ave (south), and Richmond Pkwy (northwest). Fun fact: these borders form the shape of an arrow pointing north. About 42% of residents are homeowners in the Iron Triangle area.

Getting its name from three surrounding railroad tracks, Iron Triangle is known as being the heart of the city’s African-American community, which accounts for two-thirds of its African-American population. There’s also a sizeable Latino population, accounting for one-third of the neighborhood’s population.

Along with the East Bay Center for Performing Arts and the downtown business district, Iron Triangle is home to attractively priced condos and townhouses (with 2–5 bedrooms, ranging from 675 to 1,900 sq. ft.). One downside is that crime is quite high in the area.

  • Population – Under 10,600 residents
  • Home Price – Ranging from $200,000 to $500,000
  • Rent Prices – $1,650 for studio and $3,400 for 2BR place
  • Schools – John Henry High School, Kennedy High School, Fred T. Korematsu Middle School, Aspire Richmond Technology Academy, Aspire Richmond CA College Preparatory Academy

Marina Bay

Marina Bay, a gated community along the bay, is located in the southern part of the city about two miles south of downtown Richmond. This neighborhood borders Marina Way S (west), as well as Richmond Inner Harbor and San Francisco Bay (south). About 55% of residents own their homes.

With beautiful parks (including Marina Park, Shimada Friendship Park, Barbara & Jay Vincent Park, and Rosie the Riveter Memorial Park) and wonderful views of San Francisco Bay, Marina Bay offers a variety of activities for outdoor lovers. This peaceful and beautiful community has well-kept landscaping, trails, dog parks, and even a designated area that’s home to a flock of duck.

Offering an assortment of beautiful, high-value, cozy homes, and gorgeous views of and access to the bay, Marina Bay is an excellent choice for families, professionals, and boating enthusiasts alike.

  • Population – Under 2,800 residents
  • Home Price – Ranging from $319,000 to $1.1 million
  • Rent Prices – $2,050 for 1BR apartment and $2,650 for 2BR place
  • Schools – John Henry High School, Kennedy High School, Fred T. Korematsu Middle School, Aspire Richmond Technology Academy, Aspire Richmond CA College Preparatory Academy

May Valley

Arguably one of the nicest (and safest) neighborhoods in the area, May Valley is a community in the eastern part of Richmond, CA. It borders Pinole Valley Park (northeast), San Pablo Dam Rd (south), and Appian Way (northwest), six miles northeast of downtown. Here, about 74% of residents are homeowners.

Offering higher levels of safety, May Valley is a refreshing departure from other parts of the city. There’s a nice assortment of red-tile roof/adobe walls and Ranch-style homes (with 2 to 5 bedrooms, ranging from 1,025 to 2,800 sq. ft.) and newer development (especially on the east side).

Established in 1955, May Valley is home to La Moine Valley View Park (with a playground, picnic area, lawn area, and community center). As previously mentioned, it shares its northeastern border with Pinole Valley Park (offering some great hiking trails).

  • Population – Under 10,800 residents
  • Home Price – Ranging from $279,000 to $879,000
  • Rent Prices – $1,595 for studio and $2,385 for 2BR place
  • Schools – John Henry High, Murphy Elementary School, Aspire Richmond Technology Academy, Aspire Richmond CA College Preparatory Academy, De Anza Senior High School

North & East

North & East, located in Central Richmond, is a historic neighborhood. It borders Bush and Moran Avenues (north), San Pablo Ave (east), Macdonald Ave (south), and 23rd Street (west). Home pricings are particularly reasonable, which has led to 62% of residents owning their homes.

Just west of Interstate 80 and north of Interstate 580 (and less than four miles northeast of the downtown area), North & East offers a centralized location and convenient access to other parts of the city and Bay Area. As for real estate, listing prices currently range from $399,000 to $750,000, with a majority of properties under $500,000.

The neighborhood is home to Salesian College Preparatory (private, co-educational Roman Catholic school established in 1927), as well as the Macdonald 80 Shopping Center (the primary shopping spot for the neighborhood). There are also several banks, small businesses, and grocery stores by the center.

Filled with affordable homes and dog lovers, North & East is a lovely residential neighborhood.

  • Population – Under 14,500 residents
  • Home Price – Ranging from $399,000 to $750,000
  • Rent Prices – $1,500 for 1BR apartment and $2,375 for 2BR place
  • Schools – Richmond High School, DeJean Middle School, Chavez Elementary School, Mira Vista Elementary School, Salesian College Preparatory

Point Richmond

We end our list with the most desirable (and expensive) neighborhood in the city, Point Richmond. Its borders include Interstate 580 (north), Canal Blvd (east), and Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline and San Francisco Bay (south and west). About 59% of residents are homeowners in this neighborhood.

Dating back to 1902, this well-established community (2.5 miles west of Downtown Richmond) offers a selection of midsize homes with a median selling price of $775,000. Point Richmond also provides quick access to the 580, and it’s only 30 minutes or so from San Francisco.

As for things to do, the northern and southern portions of Point Richmond are separated by Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline, a 307-acre bayside park with shoreline picnic area, secluded swimming cove, fishing pier, and gorgeous panoramic views. There’s also Brooks Island Regional Preserve, just offshore to the southeast. The 373-acre island is home to more than 18 species of birds and incredible views.

Are you looking for a beautiful, walkable neighborhood along the Bay? Point Richmond is waiting!

  • Population – Under 2,500 residents
  • Home Price – Ranging from $459,000 to $2.1 million
  • Rent Prices – $1,800 for 1BR apartment and $3,400 for 3BR place
  • Schools – John F. Kennedy High School, DeJean Middle School, Washington Elementary School, Nystrom Elementary School, Leadership Public Schools – Richmond

Quality Moving Services from Richmond Movers

Relocating cross-country? Need a hand with an emergency move? Great Guys is here to assist! We make it super easy (and affordable) to move to or from the City of Richmond.

Interstate Moves

When it comes to a big move, you need pros that check all the boxes: a highly-skilled moving team, quality trucks & equipment, and a lot of experience. We work with a group of interstate movers that are fully vetted, licensed, and insured. Sit back and relax while your relocation is in great hands!

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Small Load Moves

At Great Guys, we believe everyone deserves a pleasant moving experience. From small apartments to college dorms to micro lofts, our small-load moving partners offer cheap & speedy relocation. Just because you have a smaller place doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy convenient moving services.

Furniture Shipments

Have a family heirloom that requires special handling? Or an entire home filled with large sofas, tables, chairs, and so on? In any case, it sounds like you could use a quality furniture shipping service. Our partners provide exceptional services, whether in-home, local, or across the country.

Piano Transport

This situation is one where you need someone you can trust. Whether you have a vintage organ or concert piano, your cherished instrument should be handled with the utmost care. Our piano moving associates take every precaution to ensure safe, damage-free delivery.

Art & Antiques

Need to transport fine art, antiques, or collectibles? Don’t rely on sketchy movers. We can connect you with first-rate art shippers that provide a range of custom services. These include everything from non-abrasive packaging and custom art display installation to climate-controlled storage.

Storage-In-Transit

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Packing Services

Moving soon? Not looking forward to packing up everything? With life and work, it can be challenging to find the time or energy. Remember, you have options. Our highly skilled packers and movers are always ready to lend their helping hands, from partial pack jobs to specialty packaging options.

Residential Moves

It’s coming soon, but are you ready for moving day? Transferring everything to a new household is a daunting task, so it pays to hire reputable residential movers. Focus on writing the best intro to your new chapter while our associates take care of the labor-intensive, time-consuming stuff.

Commercial Moves

Moving your office or business equipment opens it up to potential damage. In the wrong hands, a relocation can quickly result in delays, downtime, and significant headaches. Our specialized commercial movers help ensure a smooth transition, so you can focus on producing your best work.

Same Day/Emergency/Short Notice

A move can come out of nowhere – a family crisis, job relocation, eviction – and it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself in a critical situation, don’t hesitate to contact us. We specialize in connecting our customers with reliable & quick short-notice movers ASAP. Remember, you’re not alone.

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Devin Barroga

Ever been bitten by the wanderlust bug? It's a powerful force, one which has captivated Devin for his entire life.... Read More