As the southwestern anchor of the Inland Empire, the City of Temecula is a big draw for growing families and enthusiastic visitors. That’s not a big surprise – it’s known for its outstanding wine country, quintessential SoCal weather, gorgeous valley scenery, fun festivals, excellent schools, and beautifully planned neighborhoods. As one of the best cities to raise kids, the City of Temecula offers a more affordable, quieter, and less congested alternative to living in San Diego or Los Angeles.
Temecula has a surprisingly cheaper housing market compared to LA or San Diego County (as well as highly desirable master-planned and gated communities with large lots, perfect for equestrian enthusiasts). There’s also a significant draw for Temecula Wine Country, Temecula Valley Film Festival, Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival, award-winning golf courses, and more. We’ve put together the following guide to help you streamline your relocation to one of the best cities in Southern California.
Living in Temecula, CA: What to Know Before Moving to Temecula
Ranked among the top cities for families (especially younger ones) in California, Temecula sits in southwestern Riverside County, less than 60 miles north of San Diego and 85 miles southeast of Los Angeles. It has a population of 112,230, which makes it the 58th most populous city in the state. Offering a high quality of life and much more, the City of Temecula is a great place to live in SoCal!
Pros and Cons of Living in Temecula
- Beautiful SoCal weather: With warm summers and mild winters, Temecula has that gorgeous, year-round Mediterranean climate for which Southern California is so famous.
- Affordable cost of living: Compared to San Diego and Los Angeles, housing and living expenses are pleasantly more affordable. For example, the median selling price is only $476,400.
- Myriad activities: From celebrated wine tasting rooms to championship golf courses to numerous horseback riding trails, there’s always something fun to do in the local area!
- Picturesque surroundings: Filled with valley views, rolling hills, majestic mountains, and some of the best wine country in the nation, the city is rightfully revered as a California gem.
- Excellent schools: Helmed by Temecula Valley Unified School District, public K–12 education here is exceptional. Several private schools are also highly rated.
- Low crime: When it comes to violent crime, the city is one of the safest in Southern Cali. It currently has a rate of just 11.5, more than two times lower than the CA average.
- Bad traffic: Offering greater affordability, Temecula has become a prime destination for people from San Diego. Unfortunately, traffic congestion and commuting can be a significant issue.
- Lack of public transportation: When it comes to getting around the area, it’s a pretty car-dependent community. Another common complaint is low walkability and bikeability.
- Higher taxes: Tax rates are a little high in this city. Of course, the fantastic homes, neighborhoods, and amenities are well worth the extra you have to pay in taxes.
- No four seasons: If you like snow, you won’t find a single flake here. The good news is that several major ski resorts are within a three-hour drive, including Bear Mountain.
- Property tax: According to the Overview of Property Taxes by SmartAsset, the average county tax rate is 0.968%. Average property tax is $4,840 (assessed home value of $500,000).
- Sales tax: The state of California has a base sales tax rate of 7.25%. Added with local taxes, the 2020 combined total sales tax rate in Temecula is currently 8.75%.
- State income tax: The state currently has ten separate tax brackets. Rates vary between 1% and 13.3%. Your rate depends on income and filing status (single or married).
The median home selling price in Temecula is currently $485,400. Compared to the state of California’s median home value of $561,325, there are some great deals to be had here. It’s not surprising that 65% of residents own their homes. As for rentals, according to Temecula Rental Market Trends by RentCafe, the average rent for an apartment is approximately $1,760 per month (or $21,120 annually).
Here are the cheapest neighborhoods to live in Temecula, CA:
- Rock Mountain Dr / E Sandia Creek Terrace
- Margarita Rancho California Rd
- Agena St / Cosmic Dr
- Corte Eldorado / Via Saltio
- Route 79 / Red Hawk Pky
Cost of Living
According to the Cost of Living in Temecula by BestPlaces, the SoCal city has a cost of living index of 142.6. This index is quite a bit higher than the national average of 100.
Here are some examples of individual costs (relative to the average of 100): Groceries (101.2), Health (87.8), Housing (204.6), Utilities (106.7), and Transportation (151). The median household income in Temecula is $78,535 per year. This median is higher than the US average of around $62,000.
Here are the average monthly expenses in Riverside County for a family of four:
- Housing = $1,188
- Food = $767
- Childcare = $1,079
- Transportation = $1,260
- Health Care = $808
- Other necessities = $788
- Taxes = $750
- Total = $6,640 per month or $79,675 per year
For comparison, here are the monthly costs in San Diego County:
- Housing = $1,682
- Food = $847
- Childcare = $1,281
- Transportation = $1,249
- Health Care = $903
- Other necessities = $1,021
- Taxes = $1,146
- Total = $8,129 per month or $97,547 per year
As you can see, there a sizeable difference. Living in Temecula is more affordable than living in San Diego County – more than 18% cheaper!
Weather & Natural Disasters
There’s a reason Southern California weather has become a cliché – it’s true! Offering gorgeous, temperate weather and nearly 280 days of sunshine, Temecula is no exception.
Temecula experiences the hottest temperatures in July and August, with August seeing an average high of 90°F and a low of 61°F. The coldest months are December and January, with an average high of 67°F and low of 44°F in December. Summer can be sizzling, but overall, it’s quite pleasant here.
As with most parts of Southern California, Temecula doesn’t experience any major seasonal variations. There’s zero snowfall, and the city receives 12 inches of annual rainfall. Most likely, though, you’re okay with the year-round temperate climate. It beats frigid winters!
As for natural disasters, the main concerns are earthquake activity and wildfires. To be prepared, check out the City of Temecula’s Guide to Emergency Preparedness.
Economy & Job Market
Home to five of the fastest-growing companies in the United States – these companies are Freedom Forever, Home Perfect Carpet & Tile Cleaning, QC Manufacturing, Reliant Foodservice, and Starfire Direct – Temecula has a thriving economy. Unemployment is currently at 3.5%, and future job growth is projected to reach nearly 40% (higher than the US average of 33.5%).
Significant industries in Temecula include educational services; healthcare and social assistance; arts, entertainment and recreation; accommodation and food services; retail trade; and manufacturing. The city is also dedicated to the expansion of its economic base and activity. For more information, visit the City of Temecula’s Office of Economic Development page.
Here are the Top 10 major employers in Temecula, CA:
- Temecula Valley Unified School District
- Abbott Laboratories
- Temecula Valley Hospital
- PHS Medicine
- Infineon Technologies
- Southwest Traders Inc.
- Milgard Manufacturing Inc.
- Costco Wholesale
- EMD Millipore
Traffic and Transportation
When it comes to transportation, there are a few options in the Temecula area. These include the Riverside Transit Agency bus service (RTA), Menifee Taxi Company, West Coast Transportation, and Temecula VIP Shuttles. For air travel, there are several options such as French Valley Airport in Murrieta, John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in LA.
As a car-dependent community (like most of SoCal), it’s a good idea to get familiar with major routes. Interstate 15 (north-south) runs through the western side of Temecula, offering travel to Corona and connection to Los Angeles and other cities to the northwest. California State Route 79 (running mainly north-south) provides access to the interior parts of Southern California.
According to Living in Temecula by Walk Score, the city scores the following: 29 (Walk Score), 16 (Transit Score), and 29 (Bike Score). Public transportation has a lot of room for improvement, and the city could implement more bike lanes and walking zones throughout the city.
A lot of folks have moved to Temecula from areas like San Diego County, looking for more affordable housing and decent commutes. Unfortunately, commuting to and from the city has become an issue. Commutes back to the City of Temecula can be particularly problematic now.
What to Do
Temecula is a prime destination with a host of popular attractions and things to do. From superb wine tasting to horseback riding to hot air ballooning to casino fun, the Inland Empire city offers a nice getaway from the concrete jungle of Los Angeles and other surrounding urban areas.
- Let’s begin with horseback riding and parks. There are a ton of equestrian trails in Temecula, CA. Wine Country Trails by Horseback is a popular option for tourists and residents alike. Green Acres Ranch and Vin Hesten Trail Rides are great options, too. As for parks, there are several that include Margarita Community Park, Vail Ranch Park, and Little Free Library at Harveston Lake.
- Are you looking for the best destinations and attractions? Temecula plays host to several famous festivals, including the Temecula Valley Film & Music Festival and Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival (TVBWF). And speaking of wine, there are several fantastic wineries in the area. These include Wilson Creek Winery, Vindemia Vineyard & Winery, Doffo Winery, and Peltzer Winery.
- As for sports, there aren’t any pro organizations in the city. The Lake Elsinore Storm, a minor league baseball team, plays close by in Lake Elsinore at Lake Elsinore Diamond.
- As for other popular tourist destinations and local activities, there’s plenty! Old Town Temecula offers historical and whimsical architecture, specialty shops, and art galleries. If you’re feeling lucky, the city is home to Pechanga Resort & Casino (self-proclaimed “home of the best casino in America”). Last but not least, Temecula Farmers Market is a super popular spot during the weekend.
Schools and Universities
Temecula Unified School District (TVUSD) serves nearly 30,000 students in the Temecula area. It provides K–12 education with an average student-teacher ratio of 25:1. The district receives excellent ratings, with an average graduation rate of 93%.
Highly-rated public schools include Great Oak High School, Vista Murrieta High School, Alamos Elementary School, Ysabel Barnett Elementary School, and Tony Tobin Elementary School. Are you looking for private education? Excellent private schools include Linfield Christian School, Rancho Christian School, Van Avery Prep, Temecula Montessori School, and Concord Lutheran Academy.
As for higher education, the city isn’t home to any significant universities, but it is home to an off-campus branch of CSU and has several trade and technical institutions. These include California State University San Marcos at Temecula (CSUSM Temecula), Paul Mitchell the School – Temecula, Professional Golfers Career College, Royale College of Beauty, and San Joaquin Valley College – Temecula.
According to Crime in Temecula by BestPlaces, the city has a property crime rate of 36.3. This rate is slightly higher than the US average of 35.4 but lower than the California average of 37.1. The violent crime rate (comprised of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) is only 11.5, which is significantly lower than the national average of 22.7 and California average of 25.2.
Before you move to the City of Temecula, you’ll want to get your utilities up and running by the time you arrive at your new place. Here’s a list of the major providers:
- Electric service: The major electricity provider in Temecula is Southern California Edison. To get things going, visit the company’s Turn Your Service On and Off page.
- Gas service: As for natural gas, Southern California Gas Company provides service. To start gas service, go to their Schedule Service page or call 800-427-2200.
- Water service: Rancho California Water provides clean and potable water. New customers can visit their Start / Stop Water Service Page or call 951-296-6900.
- Trash pick-up/recycling service: CR&R provides solid waste and recycling services. For more information, check out Residential Services page or call 800-755-8112.
- Internet/Cable service: The major providers include Time Warner / Spectrum, Frontier Communications, Dish, Direct TV, and Southern California Telephone Company.
Best Neighborhoods in Temecula, CA
Here are the top neighborhoods in Temecula:
Chardonnay Hills, situated on the eastern side of Temecula and close to wine country, is a desirable gated community with nearly 600 homes (mostly single-family houses on winding streets). The neighborhood is close to restaurants, shopping, and the 79 South area.
Bordered by La Serena Way (northwest), Butterfield Stage Rd (east), Rancho California Rd (southeast), and Meadows Pkwy (and 4.4 miles east of Downtown Temecula), Chardonnay Hills offers an assortment of amenities that include an Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis court, basketball court, volleyball court, two recreation centers, and Belle Maison Children’s Park.
- Population – Under 3,800 residents
- Home Price – Median home price over $500,000
- Rent Prices – $2,050 for 1BR and $1,850 for 2BR (surrounding area)
- Schools – Temecula Valley High School, Rancho Elementary School, Vintage Hills Elementary School, Margarita Middle School, Temecula Middle School
Found in the eastern portion of the city, just north of Highway 79, Crowne Hill is a master-planned community built in the early 2000s. It has little more than 1,000 homes that tend to be large, competitively priced, and sit on quarter-acre lots.
Bordered by Pauba Rd (north), De Portola Rd (south), and Butterfield Stage Rd (west) and five miles east of downtown, Crowne Hill is home to welcoming neighbors, well-kept homes, and parks like Butterfield Park and Pauba Ridge Park. The community is also home to Crowne Hill Elementary School.
- Population density – Suburban (a gated community)
- Home Price – Median home value over $525,000
- Rent Prices – $2,100 for 3BR and $2,700 for 4BR place
- Schools – Abby Reinke Elementary School, Crowne Hill Elementary School, Temecula Valley High School, Temecula Middle School
Glenoak Hills, nestled on the rolling hills near gorgeous wine country, is a private community established in 1969. The neighborhood is nearly 14 miles east of Downtown Temecula and bordered by De Portola Rd to the east. Many homes have equestrian facilities, while some have ranch facilities.
Offering a refreshingly rural feel, Glen Oak Hills sits on more than 1,300 acres and offers custom homes with no less than 2.5-acre lots (with many properties having vineyards, citrus trees, and avocado). There’s also a clubhouse and tennis courts. It’s undoubtedly a beautiful, peaceful, and quiet place to live.
- Population – Under 1,900 residents
- Home Price – Median home value over $923,000
- Rent Prices – Average monthly rent over $2,300 (surrounding area)
- Schools – Great Oaks High School, Crowne Hill Elementary School, Temecula Valley High School, Tony Tobin Elementary School, Vail Ranch Middle School
Home of Vail Lake, a large reservoir that offers awesome camping and outdoor recreation, Lake Village is a small community of approximately 1,100. It borders Rancho Vista Rd (north), Pauba Rd (south), and Ynez Rd (west) and is only 2.5 miles northeast of downtown.
Dating back to 1968, Lake Village offers numerous amenities and midsize homes ranging from $385,000 to $740,000. The neighborhood home to Ronald Reagan Sports Park, along with Temecula Gardens and Temecula Ridge (apartment complexes). It’s also home to Vail Elementary School.
- Population – Under 1,100 residents
- Home Price – Median home value over $430,000
- Rent Prices – $1,420 for 1BR apartment and $2,200 for 3BR place
- Schools – Temecula Valley High School, Margarita Middle School, Vail Elementary School
Lost Ranchitos is a higher sought-after rural community only a mile or so southeast of Downtown Temecula. Bordered by Santiago Rd (north), Jeramie Dr (northeast), Temecula Pkwy (southwest), and Interstate 15 (west), the neighborhood offers countryside living with open spaces.
Offering rural benefits and proximity to more urban amenities, Los Ranchitos is home to larger homes typically found on at least 2.25 acres (with three to five bedrooms and two to five bathrooms). This community is especially nice for horse lovers, with many trails winding through the neighborhood. It also shares its eastern border with Rose Haven Heritage Garden.
- Population type – rural density (with large lots)
- Home Price – Median home value over $977,000
- Rent Prices – $1,400 for 1BR and $2,200 for 3BR (surrounding area)
- Schools – Temecula Valley High School, Margarita Middle School, Vail Elementary School
Paseo del Sol
As a master-planned community, Paseo del Sol (Spanish for “sun walk”) is the ideal neighborhood for nature lovers. Surrounded by 108+ acres of gorgeous parks and trails (and less than five miles east of downtown), the community also offers access to some of the best golf courses in the area.
With about 2,000 homes, Paseo del Sol offers attractively priced properties on large lots. It provides convenient access to Paloma Del Sol Park and Captain Aaron J. Contreras Memorial Park, as well as Paloma Elementary School. Whether you’re looking for a lavish place, outdoor adventures, or both, Paseo del Sol will light your way to an enjoyable lifestyle in Temecula.
- Population – Under 8,900 residents
- Home Price – Median home value over $470,000
- Rent Prices – $2,300 for 1BR apartment and $2,050 for 2BR apartment
- Schools – Great Oaks High School, Abby Reinke Elementary School, Crowne Hill Elementary School, Pauba Hill Elementary School, Temecula Valley High School
Located approximately five miles southeast of Downtown Temecula and south of Highway 79, Redhawk is the largest neighborhood on our list. Bordered by Redhawk Pkwy (north) and parallel to Pechanga Pkwy (southwest), residents enjoy several resort-style amenities.
With 84% of residents owning their homes, Redhawk is home to 3,000+ attached and single-family homes (built between 1991 and 2017). There’s an excellent selection of Mediterranean-style houses, ranging from 2,000 to more than 4,000 square feet in size (with meticulous landscaping).
The community surrounds Redhawk Golf Course, home of the Famous Island Green. The course is considered one of Southern California’s best golfing experiences. It’s also home to Redhawk Community Park, offering 14 acres with sports fields, a playground, a dog park, and a picnic area.
If you like golf and convenient amenities (along with quick access to Old Town Temecula, highways, excellent schools, and more), Redhawk should be on your list!
- Population – Under 14,600 residents
- Home Price – Median home value over $514,900
- Rent Prices – $1,420 for 1BR apartment and $2,200 for 3BR apartment
- Schools – Great Oak High School, Erle Stanley Gardner Middle School, Helen Hunt Jackson Elementary School, Pauba Valley Elementary School
Last but certainly far from least, we stop in Temeku Hills. This beautiful and lush neighborhood is less than four miles northeast of the downtown area. East of Interstate 15, it’s bordered by La Serena Way (northwest), Meadows Pkwy (northeast), Rancho California Rd (southeast), and Margarita Rd (west), the master-planned community is known as a gateway to Temecula Wine Country.
Developed in the late 90s, Temeku Hills centers around an 18-hole golf course (designed by Ted Robinson and then updated by P. Dye). Temeku Hills Golf & Country Club is the centerpiece, literally and figuratively, of this beautiful community. It features five lakes, doglegs, rolling greens, and tricky bunkers.
Like the neighborhood of Redhawk, Temeku offers resort-like amenities. 87% of residents are homeowners, and the average age is around 56 years old. Favorite spots include breakfast & brunch favorites like Mo’s Egg House and Penfold’s Café & Bakery.
- Population – Under 3,200 residents
- Home Price – Median home value over $465,000
- Rent Prices – $2,600 for studio and $1,700 for 2BR place
- Schools – Rancho Elementary School, Vintage Hills Elementary School, Margarita Middle School, Temecula Middle School, Temecula Valley High School
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