Whether you’re moving to be closer to Los Angeles, find respite in a smaller town, or you want Six Flags Magic Mountain in your backyard, we think you’ll love living in Santa Clarita. Located in Los Angeles County, and just 30 minutes north of Los Angeles, many move to Santa Clarita for the 280 average days of sunshine, the growing job market, the low crime rates, and the top-notch schools.
Residents, which tend to be families and young professionals, also enjoy the sophisticated shopping and dining, year-round events, trendy festivals, and the plethora of outdoor activities that Santa Clarita has to offer. Quiet, suburban neighborhoods with well-maintained public parks and walking paths make this city the perfect location if you’re seeking the best of both worlds – access to the excitement of Los Angeles while living in a good size city with a small-town vibe.
Living in Santa Clarita, CA: What to Know Before Moving to Santa Clarita
Within Los Angeles County and home to about 209,489 people, the city of Santa Clarita is where you’ll find both relaxation and excitement. For those who live here, the option to do a lot is just as attractive as the option to kick back and do very little – that’s the laid-back SoCal mindset you’ll soon adopt. Most of the residents of Santa Clarita are liberally-minded families and young professionals who own their homes, have a median age of 37, and enjoy the plentiful hiking, cycling, and running trails nearby.
Pros and Cons of Living in Santa Clarita
- Outdoor activities – Great city for cycling, hiking, boating, and more!
- Proximity to Los Angeles – Residents enjoy being just a short 30 minutes away.
- Safety – Both property and violent crime rates for Santa Clarita are below the US average.
- Weather – Los Angeles was voted #2 on Sperling’s Bestplaces’ top 10 list of most comfortable summer cities, and that comfortable climate extends to Santa Clarita.
- The high cost of living index – The cost of living index is higher than in other parts of the country.
- Long commutes – Santa Clarita has higher-than-average one-way commute times.
- Traffic – Long commutes are often the result of bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeways.
- Suburban sprawl – Some neighborhoods are spreading into the rural landscape.
- Property Tax – The LA County property tax rate is 0.755%. If your home value is $600,000, you can expect to pay about $4,530 per year in property tax.
- Sales Tax – The combined state, county, and city sales tax rate for Santa Clarita is 9.5%. 6% is the CA state sales tax rate, 0.25% is the Los Angeles County sales tax rate, and there’s a special city tax of 3.25%. The US average sales tax range is 7.25%, so Santa Clarita’s sales tax rate is on the high end.
- Income Tax – The US average income tax rate is 4.6%. The rate for Santa Clarita residents is almost double that, landing at 9.3%.
In Santa Clarita, 70% of residents own their homes. According to realtor.com in November 2019, the median home list price for Santa Clarita is $595,000. Bestplaces.net reports the average monthly rental price for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,319, and rentcafe.com lists the three least expensive rental neighborhoods are Newhall, Canyon Country, and Villa Metro, coming in under $2,000 per month.
Cost of Living
Bestplaces.net uses a cost of living average index score of 100 to evaluate housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, and healthcare costs. In Santa Clarita, CA, the overall cost of living index score is 164.6, quite a bit higher than the US average of 100, and only slightly lower than the index score of 168.6 for the state of California as a whole.
Some of the higher individual expenses for Santa Clarita that account for this higher score include housing, with a score of nearly triple the average at 293.4 and transportation with a score of 130.7. According to the EPI Family Budget Calculator, a family of four would need to earn at least $92,295 per year to live comfortably in the Los Angeles County metro area.
Weather & Natural Disasters
The ideal weather and climate in Santa Clarita are two of the major reasons people choose to move here. The two warmest months are August and September, with average comfortable high temperatures of 79 and 78, and average lows of 62. Temperatures cool down a bit December through March with average highs of 67 and lows of 51. The springtime brings mostly dry weather and temperatures in the low 70s, with daily morning clouds forming in May and June, coined as ‘May Gray’ and ‘June Gloom.’ With the rainy season starting in December and ending around March, Santa Clarita sees an average of 18.67 inches of rain each year, and every once in a while, residents who live in the foothills will see snow at higher elevations.
Santa Clarita is vulnerable to five primary natural disaster threats: earthquakes, wildfires, drought, flooding, and mudslides. This area experiences almost 10,000 earthquakes of different magnitudes (some you can’t even feel) each year, and because of the dry heat, open-air, and canyons, this part of California is incredibly susceptible to wild and structural fires. You can prepare for the threats in this area and learn the emergency plans by visiting the Los Angeles Emergency Management Department’s emergency plan page.
Economy & Job Market
The unemployment rate in Santa Clarita is 4.6%, higher than the US average of 3.9%, but a higher-than-average income per capita and median household income indicate an overall strong local economy. Santa Clarita has seen a job market increase of 0.7% over the past year, and future job growth is expected to rise over the next ten years by 33.9%, higher than the US average projection of 33.5%. According to bestplaces.net, the median household income is $90,544 (the US average is $57,652), and the income per capita rate is $36,448 (the US average is $31,177).
Santa Clarita’s job market is just as promising. The major industries are aerospace manufacturing, biomedical engineering, entertainment, and technology. Some of the most noteworthy developments in the biomedical field have happened in Santa Clarita. This city is also home to nearly a dozen TV shows and movies that have been filmed using the city’s 20 different sound stages and movie ranches. If you’re looking for a career in any of those fields, you won’t have any trouble getting plugged in.
The major employers in Santa Clarita include the College of the Canyons, the William S Hart Union School District, the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Boston Scientific, and of course, Six Flags Magic Mountain. Competition for high-paying positions within the medical or engineering fields may prompt job seekers to lean on direct professional referrals, recruiters, and networking opportunities. If you’re a current employee at a satellite office, location transfers are also a common means of securing employment. Otherwise, jobseekers will be able to connect with hiring managers through local career fairs, online job-matching websites, like LinkedIn.com or Indeed.com, and professional networking events.
Traffic & Transportation
If you’re planning to move to Santa Clarita, you’ll want to be sure you have a vehicle. While there are some public transportation options available, walkscore.com gives this city a walking score of 34, a biking score of 30, and no score for public transit. These ratings appropriately categorize Santa Clarita as a ‘car-dependent’ city, and bestplaces.net reports that 76.6% of residents drive to commute and complete errands.
If you do expect to need public transportation, though, fear not. The City of Santa Clarita Transit provides nine different local bus routes around town, as well as a special Commuter Express Service to common destinations out of town. The Metrolink, the local rail service, offers three different Santa Clarita stations to get to and from Los Angeles. Then, of course, you have the rideshare options like Lyft and Uber, local taxi and cab companies, and local shuttles to Hollywood Burbank Airport or Los Angeles International Airport.
The downfall of driving in this area, as you know, is the long commute time. Learning the major thoroughfares and rush hour times can help avoid traffic snarls. The major highways that run in and through Santa Clarita include Highway 5, which runs north-south on the west side, and Highway 14, which runs northeast-southwest on the east side. Highway 126 starts in Ventura and merges into Highway 5 once it hits Santa Clarita. Interstate 5 is the primary freeway for getting into and out of downtown Los Angeles. If you can, avoid Highway 5 entirely between 7 to 9 am and 4 to 7 pm rush hours.
What to Do
Santa Clarita is truly an outdoor enthusiasts’ paradise! With nearly perfect year-round weather, this area offers fantastic outdoor options, especially in the bordering San Gabriel Mountains. Walkers, hikers, and mountain bikers will delight in the plethora of hiking trails, and those wanting to get into the water have two beautiful lakes nearby; Castaic Lake and Pyramid Lake offer boating, jet skiing, fishing, and kayaking.
Some of the major attractions in Santa Clarita include Six Flags Magic Mountain, a large amusement park with thrill rides; Placerita Canyon Nature Center, a site with historic trails; the Gibbon Conservation Center, which houses more than 40 highly endangered gibbon apes; and Pulchella Winery, which Wine Enthusiast Magazine rated as having the best zinfandel on the entire California Central Coast.
Santa Clarita constantly has fun and interesting events scheduled, from weekly farmers’ markets, live music at The Canyon, jazz nights, garden walks, chili cook-offs, fall festivals, and more. And while Santa Clarita doesn’t have any professional sports teams of their own, in an easy 30-minute drive south, you can catch a Lakers, Dodgers, Clippers, or Chargers game in Los Angeles. So whether you’re moving solo or with your family, you’re sure to find lots to do.
Schools & Universities
If you’re moving to Santa Clarita with school-aged children, finding them a high-ranking school to attend will be effortless. According to Santa Clarita.com, the schools rank among California’s top 10%. You’ll find six school districts that serve Santa Clarita students: Acton-Agua Dulce, Castaic, Newhall, Saugus, Sulphur Springs, and William S Hart School Districts. Many of the schools rank eight or higher on greatschools.org; some of these highest-ranking schools include Academy of the Canyons (high school), Albert Einstein Academy Elementary, Bridgeport Elementary, and West Creek Academy, all ranking a 10 out of 10. Valencia Valley Elementary ranks 9/10, Placerita Junior High School ranks 8/10, and Saugus High School also scores an 8/10.
Santa Clarita has several college and university options nearby. While College of the Canyons, a community and technical school, is the only college right in Santa Clarita, dozens of schools sit within a 30-mile radius. Some of the four-year colleges and universities nearby include Woodbury University in Burbank; Columbia College of Hollywood in Tarzana; California Institute of the Arts, an arts and technical school in Valencia; University of California Los Angeles; and Pacific State University, also in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar is another community and technical school option.
New residents won’t see much crime activity in Santa Clarita. According to bestplaces.net, the property crime index is 22.2, much below the US average of 35.4; the violent crime index is 11.9, also below the US average of 22.7. The neighborhoodsout.com crime map shows pockets of criminal activity, with most crime occurring on San Francisquito Canyon Rd, Sierra Highway, Friendly Valley Parkway, Mint Canyon, Soledad Canyon Rd, and on the west side of the city near the California Institute of the Arts.
- Gas Service – The Southern California Gas Company will provide gas service. Click here to start or transfer your gas service to your new home in Santa Clarita.
- Electric Service – Southern California Edison is the primary electric provider for residents in Santa Clarita. To start your electric service, visit the website and follow the prompts.
- Water Service – Water service for Santa Clarita residents is available from two companies, Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency and Los Angeles County Water Works. Visit their websites to learn more about each one and schedule your water service.
- Trash Pick-Up/Recycling Service – Weekly curbside trash and recycling pick up is available from the Santa Clarita Waste Management service. Click here to view their pickup schedules, create an account, and check availability for your new address.
- Internet & Cable Service – Several cable and internet providers service Santa Clarita. AT&T and Spectrum are two of the main providers. DirecTV and Dish Network are also popular options. Follow their links to transfer service from an existing account, learn about the packages available in your new neighborhood, or select a new plan.
Best Neighborhoods in Santa Clarita, CA
If you’re hoping to find your new home in a picturesque family suburb, then look no further than Valencia. Locals consider Valencia the ‘nice’ part of town. This neighborhood is located about seven miles north of downtown Santa Clarita and loosely borders W Hills Dr to the north and Copper Hill Dr to the south.
According to realtor.com, the median list price for a home in Valencia is $624,999, and the average rent is about $3,000 per month. Valencia is home to about 58,532 residents who have a median age of 39, live in beautiful single-family homes, and earn a median household income of $106,313. New residents are attracted by Valencia’s ‘Villages’ – each providing a specific lifestyle and are conveniently near shopping, schools, and many amenities. Apartments, condos, cottages, duplex homes, senior-subsidized, and single-family homes exist throughout the villages. Some villages have an active Neighborhood Watch program.
While Valencia may not be close to the action, it does provide the peace, safety, and sense of community many seek. New residents will find things to do that are convenient, such as visiting West Creek Park for a picnic or taking the kids to Scooter’s Jungle of Valencia. Several recreational lodges offer community pools, hot tubs, bike rentals, and the walking path that winds through the neighborhood and into other parts of Santa Clarita is perfect for walkers, runners, and bikers. Six Flags Magic Mountain and the Valencia Country Club are just four miles south, and getting into downtown Santa Clarita for the shops and restaurants is a seven-mile drive south.
Highly-rated schools include Valencia Valley Elementary School, West Creek Academy, Rancho Pico Junior High School, Rio Norte Junior High School, and West Ranch High School; all ranked 10 out of 10 on greatschools.org. Valencia High School is also nearby, with a rank of 9 out of 10.
Newhall was the first permanent community in the Santa Clarita Valley and is the oldest neighborhood in Santa Clarita. Home to roughly 34,510 people, Newhall is located about a mile south of downtown Santa Clarita. This southernmost neighborhood borders Lyons Ave to the north, Wildwood Canyon Open Space to the south, and I-5 on the west.
In Newhall, you’ll find elements of old, rustic charm, historical richness, and the ghosts of old western film stars from movies shot in the ’40s and ’50s. Locals consider Newhall the most affordable of Santa Clarita neighborhoods, and perhaps under-developed compared to the other more manicured neighborhoods like Valencia. However, the renovations and improvements that are underway, mixed with the unique historical context, makes this neighborhood very up-and-coming and attractive to new residents. According to realtor.com, the median list price for a home in Newhall is $609,000, and the average monthly rent is close to $3,000.
If you want to live in a neighborhood that’s closer to the action, then Newhall may be for you. Located just a mile from downtown Santa Clarita, it’s easy to walk or bike downtown and visit the plethora of restaurants and shops on Main St and Newhall Ave. The William S Hart Museum, the former home of the famous silent western movie actor, is located in Newhall, and residents can easily visit the Newhall Public Library; Valencia Lanes, the nearby bowling alley; or go hiking through Wildwood Canyon Open Space in the southern section of the neighborhood. Old Town Newhall, part of Santa Clarita’s art and entertainment district, is a unique shopping and entertainment center that you’ll enjoy for the gastropub eateries, live theatre, live music, and weekly events.
Some of the high-ranking schools closest to this neighborhood include: Oak Hill Elementary, Stevenson Ranch Elementary, Pico Canyon Elementary, Rancho Pico Junior High School, and West Ranch High School, all ranked a 10 out of 10 on greatschools.org. Canyon High School is also nearby, ranked 9 out of 10, and Sierra Vista Junior High School is ranked 8.
Located about five miles west of downtown Santa Clarita and sitting just outside the city limit is the upscale neighborhood of Stevenson Ranch. Stevenson Ranch borders Kavenagh Lane to the north, Poe Pkwy to the south, and Stevenson Ranch Pkwy to the east. The approximately 19,737 residents live among newer, beautifully-maintained single-family homes, clean streets, and highly-ranking nearby schools.
Living in Stevenson Ranch, as you may expect, doesn’t come cheap. According to realtor.com, the median listing price for a home in this neighborhood is $789,000, and the average rent, which is likely for a single-family home, hovers around $3,000 per month.
Many choose to live in Stevenson Ranch because of its peaceful location and distance from downtown, so you won’t find too many things to do right within the neighborhood. However, a short drive outside will bring you to nearly anything you’d be interested in doing, from shopping, hiking, catching live music downtown, or attending a farmers’ market. Residents can easily meet with friends to play tennis or go for a walk at the nearby 16-acre Dr. Richard H Rioux Memorial Park, and there are lots of restaurant options very close by on The Old Road that parallels I-5.
If living close to top-notch schools is important, then Stevenson Ranch may be a neighborhood to consider, as all of the schools in and near this area are ranked a 10 out of 10 on greatschools.org. These schools include Pico Canyon Elementary, Stevenson Ranch Elementary, Oak Hills Elementary, Rancho Pico Junior High School, and West Ranch High School.
Saugus blends the historic context and character of Newhall with the upscale modern vibe of Valencia. Located about three miles north of downtown Santa Clarita, this neighborhood is south of Newhall Ranch Rd, east of I-5, and Santa Clarita on the south.
Saugus was named after the town of Saugus, Massachusetts, where Henry Newhall, the owner of the land that became Santa Clarita, was from. Today, Saugus is home to about 41,743 residents, and according to neighborhoodscout.com, has a lower-than-average vacancy rate, creating a feeling of exclusivity for those who can find a home here. If there are a couple of homes for sale, realtor.com reveals that you’ll find a median list price of $589,000 for mostly mid-to-large sized single-family homes and an average monthly rent of $3,000.
Residents of Saugus have several options of things to do relatively close. Several restaurants and shops sit along the northern part of Railroad Ave, and the Old Town Newhall, a popular shopping and dining center in the arts and entertainment district, is just a little over a mile west. Six Flags Magic Mountain is a direct four-mile drive down Magic Mountain Pkwy, and just three miles south of Saugus is the Placerita Canyon Nature Center. Residents who don’t mind a longer drive can easily spend the day at Castaic Lake, just 11 miles north, to boat, fish, or bike.
Some of the closest schools include Emblem Academy and Valencia High School, which both received a 9 out of 10 on greatschools.org. Valley View Elementary and Arroyo Seco Junior High School, both ranked 8/10, while Rio Norte Junior High School scored a 10/10, and Saugus High School ranks 9/10.
Canyon Country is unlike the other Santa Clarita neighborhoods and perhaps is unfairly underrated. Located about eight miles northeast of downtown Santa Clarita, some may feel Canyon Country is a little too removed, but others enjoy living further out. Canyon Country borders Nadal St to the north and Soledad Canyon Rd to the south.
Offering an attractive mix of both modern single-family homes and apartment communities, Canyon Country is a friendly neighborhood of about 25,899 residents who enjoy the local shops, grocery stores, restaurants, and movie theatres. Realtor.com shows the median home list price of $525,000 and an average monthly rent of $2,500.
You can play with your kids, walk your dog, or enjoy a relaxing stroll in several parks. Canyon Country Park, Golden Valley Park, and North Oaks Park are all close. Several local restaurants and shops are convenient. Six Flags Magic Mountain and the Westfield Valencia Town Center for more boutique shops and dining options are about 15 minutes west. You can drive the eight miles south into downtown Santa Clarita to catch live music, attend events and festivals, and explore the cafes and restaurants on Main St.
Students attend: Valley View Elementary, Sierra Vista Junior High School, and Arroyo Seco Junior High School, all ranked 8 of 10 on greatschools.org. Canyon High School and Saugus High School are ranked 9 of 10, and Plum Canyon Elementary is ranked 7 of 10.
If you’re moving to Santa Clarita and looking to rent, then definitely consider the neighborhood of Solemint. This area, about seven miles northeast of downtown, is between Soledad Canyon on the north, Canyon Country on the west, Jakes Way on the south, and the Antelope Valley Freeway on the east.
Made up almost entirely of studio to medium-sized 2 and 3 bedroom apartments, this urban neighborhood is heavily renter-based. According to redfin.com, the median list price for a home here is only $315,000, nearly half of what some of the other Santa Clarita neighborhoods ask, and you can find a good rental for around $2,000 per month. The majority of homes in Solemint were built between 1970 and 1999, making this neighborhood look a bit more uniform than some of the other mixed-architectural neighborhoods in Santa Clarita.
If you live in Solemint, you have a lot of options for things to do, see, and eat without having to travel too far. In fact, many of the Solemint residents get around on their bikes, so you can ditch the car if work in the neighborhood. You can easily go up to Canyon Country Park to play volleyball or tennis, walk your dog, or take a short drive south to the Placerita Canyon Nature Center to do some exploring. You’ll find lots of restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, and grocery stores along Soledad Canyon Rd and Sierra Highway, plus the El Segundo Shopping Center and the Regal Edwards Canyon Country movie theatre. Solemint offers all of the standard nearby amenities and options that you’d want, so if you’re looking to rent near the action, check out Solemint!
Solemint students attend: Canyon High School, ranked 9 on greatschools.org; Sierra Vista Junior High School and Golden Valley High School, both ranked 8; Valley View Elementary School, ranked 8; and Leona Cox Elementary, ranked 7.
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