Most affordable zip codes in the counties north of San Francisco Bay
It’s no secret that Bay Area real estate can get pretty expensive. With the median home price rising above $1.5 million dollars in San Francisco, the Bay Area boasts some of the most expensive home prices in the entire country. But that doesn’t mean every neighborhood, zip code, and house is beyond reach.
The Bay Area is a sprawling metropolitan region that stretches from the coastline inland toward Sacramento, through foothills and Redwood forests. Depending on your homebuying needs, there are towns in the Bay where you can still afford your little corner of the world—and get a good amount of house for your dollar, too, if you know where to look!
This article is a guide to the most affordable zip codes, by price per square foot, in the counties north of San Francisco. And when you’re ready to take a look at these available listings, get in touch with a local Flyhomes Agent who has the expertise and experience to help you navigate the competitive world of Bay Area homebuying.
The most affordable zip codes in Sonoma County:
1. Rohnert Park
Rohnert Park is one of the many small towns in the hills north of the Bay. The town of roughly 43,000 is growing steadily year over year at a rate of 4.4% and tends to attract younger families as the median age is 33 years old. The median income trends lower than surrounding cities at just over $57,000.It is a largely suburban town along highway 101, tucked between the coast and the foothills, where redwoods line the streets and residents can enjoy golfing, putt-putt, local restaurants and bars, and nature trails. The average home costs $663,000.
Price per square foot: $455
Zip code: 94928
2. Santa Rosa
Head roughly 40 miles north of San Francisco and you’ll find a hub of arts, culture, and dining that’s a local favorite day trip for San Francisco residents. Santa Rosa is a medium-sized town of roughly 170,000 residents with a median age of 38. The town is known for its own contributions to the region’s wine notoriety and has a vibrant social scene that includes a symphony orchestra, a craft brewery, and a walkable downtown with boutiques and eateries. The median income is slightly above $60,000 with an average home price of $653,000.
Price per square foot: $463
Zip code: 95409
Larkfield-WIkiup is a small census-designated unincorporated place in the center of the county a few miles north of Santa Rosa. The population is just shy of 9,000 people. This is a slightly more rural area than the surrounding region closer to Santa Rosa. Homes here share space with farms, vineyards, and some industrial buildings. The median income of a Larkfield-Wikiup resident is $75,320. The average home costs $672,000.
Price per square foot: $471
Zip code: 95403
The most affordable zip codes Marin County
Novato is the regional and cultural center at the tip of San Francisco Bay, north of San Francisco. Novato’s proximity to the city helps position it as both a town with its own identity and as a good option for commuters heading into San Francisco. It’s known for its plentiful green space in its parks and waterfront. It’s population is relatively small for its metropolitan location at just over 53,000 people, with an average age of 45. The median salary is $76,000 and the median home price is $1,024,700.
Price per square foot: $675
Zip code: 94945
2. San Rafael
On the water between San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay, San Rafael is a mid-sized Bay Area city. It is a scenic area with historic buildings and a walkable downtown. The county seat of Marin County, San Rafael steeped in history as the oldest and first incorporated city in Marin County. Home prices are at a median of $1.3 million.
Price per square foot: $881
Zip code: 94903
This small town just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County is in a wooded setting almost directly midway between highway 1 and the 101. With just over 7,000 people, it has a small-town feel—a novelty in a town this close to San Francisco. Real estate creeps up into the $1 million range as the schools spend an above-average $15,000 per student each year and is one of the safest places in the US, according to Neighborhood Scout.
Price per square foot: $929
Zip code: 94930
The most affordable zip codes in Napa County
1. American Canyon
A small town of just under 5 square miles, American Canyon is the gateway to Napa Valley from San Francisco because of its location at the southern tip of Napa County. It is a scenic area north of San Pablo Bay with wetlands and hiking trails into the foothills. The population of nearly 20,000 trends younger with a median age of 36. The median home price is $696,500 and the median salary is $81,955.
Price per square foot: $407
Zip code: 94503
This section of Napa County lies along the Napa River and extends from San Pablo Bay into the city of Napa, itself. This is the southern section of the famed wine-growing region of Napa Valley, popular among tourists and day-trippers from the Bay Area who head into the hills to experience the wineries and tours that support the area’s economy. The city of Napa, itself, is small with strict zoning laws that keep it that way. The median home price in the city is $825,000 with the median income coming in at $64,000.
Price per square foot: $719
Zip code: 94559
The most affordable zip codes in Solano County
1. Rio Vista
With a median home price at $440,600, Rio Vista is one of the most affordable zip codes in the Bay Area and a popular choice for both many first-time homebuyers and retirees. At the eastern edge of the Bay Area, Rio Vista trends more rural and residents are proud of its small-town feel where neighbors tend to know each other. Niche.com gave the city high marks for its safety and its schools. The median age of a Rio Vista resident is 63, which makes the town slightly less sought-after by families with children or young couples looking for nightlife.
Price per square foot: $313
Zip code: 94571
You’ll find Dixon northeast of the Bay, in a series of residential and suburban communities. This is a popular area for young professionals and young families as the schools are rated above average and home prices are relatively low for the region. The median home price is $549,300 and the median income is $67,800.
Price per square foot: $338
Zip code: 95620
Fairfield is the county seat of Solana County, situated in the middle of the county north of Vallejo. It is a relatively dense suburban city with a population of 117,000 people at around 34 years old. It is popular for young families looking to buy their first home as the schools are rated above average by niche.com and the median home price is a relatively low for the region at $553,900. Fairfield is also home to the Jelly Belly factory and the Anheuser-Busch brewery.
Price per square foot: $356
Zip code: 94533
Due to its relative affordability, Wallethub recently placed Vallejo in its list of the top 300 cities for first-time homebuyers. As a base of some ship building and the location for a Six Flags Amusement Park, the area around Vallejo trends more industrial. But a growing number of Bay Area residents are looking into the area for its affordability and proximity to nearby amenities. Home prices are at a median of $500,000 as of 2022, and the median salary in Vallejo is $58,000.
Price per square foot: $401
Zip code: 94589