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5 Great Places To Live In Orange County

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Orange County in Southern California has numerous counties with about a quarter of them having beachfront property. Known for being one of the most expensive counties in all of California, it is also highly regarded as a great county to live in. From seaside to inland areas and from small towns to bigger cities, find out which are the five greatest places to live in Orange County.

1. La Palma

Located 20 miles from Los Angeles with quick beach access, La Palma is a pricey community of 16,000 people (condominiums, when on the market, average $372,000 and single-family homes $594,000). But if high-performing schools and the lowest police response time in the county are important, the high prices are worth it. In 2013 Money magazine listed La Palma as one of 50 Best Places to Live.

2. Mission Viejo

In 2007 a Morgan Quitno survey named Mission Viejo the safest city in the U.S. based on FBI crime data. Others have also deemed it a very safe place to live. Its population of nearly 101,000 is derived from the city having the largest master-planned community built in a single project. Condominiums average $421,000 and single-family homes $731,000, so, again, you are paying for all that safety.

3. Placentia

An inland area, Placentia has 51,000 residents. The city prides itself on its safety and lower crime rate than the average rate in California or U.S. with good schools. Considered a bedroom community for its residents who work elsewhere, the city has some of the best Mexican restaurants in the entire county. Its downtown area is being revamped. Condominiums average $308,000, single-family homes $584,000 and a couple of multifamily homes $802,000.

4. San Juan Capistrano

San Juan Capistrano has a population of 35,000 and is only 25 miles from downtown Santa Ana. The city was built around the 1776 Mission San Juan Capistrano, so Spanish architecture predominates, even in commercial structures. This city has everything from adobe homes dating to the 1700s to working ranches and gated multi-million-dollar homes. Home prices range from an average of $516,000 for condominiums, $1,427,000 for single-family homes and $670,000 for the few multifamily homes on the market.

5. Silverado Canyon

Although homes prices are on the high side (single-family homes sell for $985,000 on average), get away from it all in the small, artsy, former hot springs resort community of Silverado Canyon, which consists of a cafe, general store, library, fire stations, community center and post office with 2,000 residents. Founded it 1878, it is a California Historical Landmark that bears a strong resemblance to the Spanish town of Canada de la Madera. Situated in the Santa Ana Mountains and bordering Cleveland National Forest, part of the community is on what was once Mexican land grant property.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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