Do you want to live in an affluent area with sunny weather and scenic beaches?
For this luxurious experience, you could consider moving to Newport Beach, California.
It’s a beautiful town with many perks until you take a look at how expensive the city is.
We will cover the top reasons Newport Beach is so costly so you can determine if the high price tag is worth it.
Why Is Newport Beach So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Real Estate Costs
The first thing you will notice when you look at Newport Beach real estate, outside of the picturesque mansions, is that the real estate is costly.
The real estate prices in Newport Beach are the eighth highest in the entire country.
You can choose between living behind the gates in a gated community or on the beach, but you’ll get a lot of space and beautiful scenery either way.
The amount of land you get when you buy real estate in Newport Beach sets it apart from living in Los Angeles.
You will feel a more suburban beachfront vibe than the hustle and bustle of the big city.
House prices vary based on the house’s specifications as well as the neighborhood.
There are 12 neighborhoods in Newport Beach you can choose from:
- Balboa Island
- Balboa Peninsula
- Bay Island
- Collins Island
- Corona del Mar
- Harbor Island
- Lido Isle
- Linda Isle
- Newport Coast
- Newport Heights
- San Joaquin
- Santa Ana Heights
The most desirable and exclusive neighborhood is Linda Isle.
The neighborhood has just over 100 homes that all have spacious beachfront property.
As we mentioned, homes in Newport Beach are extremely expensive.
The current median sale price of a home in Newport Beach, California, is $2,990,000, and the most expensive house sold in Newport Beach was a 19,000-square-foot mansion that sold for a record-breaking $61 million in 2020.
Right now, realtors classify the market as a “seller’s market” as the price has been growing at an average rate of 25.2% a year.
If someone buys now, they can hopefully take advantage of the trend later when it comes time to sell their house.
Houses remain on the market an average of 42 days, and 99.5% of people sell their house at or above their listing price.
If you buy property in Newport Beach, the government taxes you for the privilege.
Property taxes vary based on a variety of different factors, but the average effective property tax rate in Newport Beach is a moderate 0.56%, which is significantly lower than the other cities in Orange County, enticing more people to move to the area.
Considering the exorbitant cost of the houses in the area, however, this generally equates to property tax bills that exceed $10,000 a year.
Currently, the sales tax in Newport Beach is 7.75%.
The sales tax gets distributed as follows: 6% goes to the state of California, 0.25% goes to Orange County, and 1.5% is labeled a “special tax”.
One of the greatest appeals to Newport Beach is undoubtedly the comfortable, generally warm weather.
Residents of Newport Beach enjoy great weather practically all year long.
In the summer, the heat generally doesn’t get much higher than 89°F.
If you do encounter a hot day, that’s just an excuse to go to the beach.
(Just remember to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen on exceptionally hot days.)
You’ll seldom get too cold in the winter, and Newport Beach averages zero inches of snow every year.
Many people enjoy this time since tourism goes down, alleviating the problem of a crowded beach.
Newport Beach also receives less than half the national average rainfall, meaning more sunny days for you and your family to partake in outdoor activities and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
Thanks to the area’s weather and topography, Southern California is prone to natural wildfires which actually play a crucial role for the local ecosystem but can cause heart-wrenching devastation when they get out of control.
Newport Beach doesn’t face as great of a threat as some other cities in Southern California, but the town has experienced severe fires in its past.
A five-square-mile area in the Newport Coast neighborhood is considered a “Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone.”
No matter where you live in Newport Beach, every resident should have homeowner’s insurance on their house and check the fire detectors regularly.
There are currently eight fire stations in Newport Beach and a dedicated Fire Prevention department that focuses on prevention by performing fire safety inspections, monitoring hazardous materials, and investigating fires with the Newport Beach Police Department.
3. Natural Beauty
Newport Beach graces residents with breathtaking views of beach sunsets and palm trees every day.
In addition to the beautiful sights, Newport Beach has a wealth of wildlife both on land and in its waters.
Newport Bay, in particular, is so fascinating since it’s a point where fresh water and seawater meet, creating an especially unique ecosystem.
The bay is home to more than 200 types of birds and 100 types of fish.
As you dive deeper into the Pacific Ocean, you will encounter an almost endless amount of marine wildlife, including dolphins and whales.
You can see the following whale species on a Newport Coastal Adventure whale tour:
- Blue Whales
- Fin Whales
- Gray Whales
- Humpback Whales
- Minke Whales
If it looks like you’re on one of the cleanest beaches in the United States, that’s because you are.
The authorities in Newport Beach frequently monitor the quality of the water, helping the beach earn its place on the Natural Resources Defense Council’s beach superstar list.
Do you want to help?
Many organizations host beach clean-up events, and you can donate to charitable causes that focus on clean water and beach preservation efforts.
Not only does the town look absolutely amazing, but Newport Beach also has numerous attractions for people of all ages.
Naturally, the first thing most people want to see when they get to Newport Beach is the beach.
Some of the most popular beaches in Newport Beach, CA are:
- Balboa Peninsula Beach: clean beach with gentle waves and lifeguards
- Balboa Pier Beach: great beach for fishing and enjoying the pier
- Cameo Shores Beach: uncrowded beach wide tide pools at low tide and cliffs to jump into the water during high tide
- Marina Park: gentle tides and nautical playgrounds for kids (but no lifeguards)
- The Wedge: strong waves perfect for surfing
- Pelican Point Beach: ideal scuba diving conditions
You can soak up the sun on the beach’s soft sands or on a boat.
There are about 9,000 boats at Newport Harbor, making it one of the largest recreational boat harbors in the country.
Newport Beach also hosts the largest sailboat race in the world—the annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race.
If you prefer to be more active, Newport Beach is also great for surfing.
The Wedge at the very southeast end of Balboa Peninsula is an especially popular surfing destination thanks to the especially large waves.
The Newport Beach Pier offers a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops for you to make your beach day even better.
You can also ride your bike or roller skate around the pier.
The Balboa Pavilion was the train stop that dropped people off from Los Angeles.
It first opened in 1906 and acted as the center of the city for years.
The grand pavilion remains a notable landmark of the city, and the city decorates the pavilion during the holidays, making it even more of a spectacle.
A local restaurant venue and two tourism businesses run their operations out of the pavilion.
Balboa Fun Zone
When you want to treat the entire family, you can take a trip to Balboa Fun Zone.
Opened in 1936, you and your family can take a ride on the giant Ferris wheel, ride bumper cars, and play arcade games at this amusement park with a scenic backdrop of Balboa Bay.
For the visitors who feel a calling to the sea, there’s even a nautical museum that teaches people about the local waters and beyond.
People in Newport Beach have disposable income, so there’s plenty of fantastic shopping.
You can visit Fashion Island mall to browse some of the more well-known name brands in high-end apparel.
For someone with expensive taste, visit A’Maree’s to experience a luxury shopping mall unlike any other.
You can shop luxury designers such as Saint Laurent, Comme des Garçons, and Rick Owen before retiring to the hammock on the rooftop to unwind after your shopping spree.
You’ll also find numerous amazing shops by local designers that offer many designs you can’t find anywhere else, such as:
- Harper’s Boutique
You’ll have plenty of places to show off your new clothes when you meet friends for dinner and drinks in town.
5. Restaurants And Wineries
Newport Beach boasts high-end food and drinks options that span the spectrum from casual dining to five-star gourmet cuisine.
A dinner for two at a mid-range restaurant costs an average of $62.50 (not including drinks).
California has the luxury of weather conducive to the growth of a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, as well as the rearing of wildlife.
Many establishments can easily provide meals made with local ingredients, making the food especially fresh.
Since Newport Beach is on the ocean, restaurants also have access to fresh local seafood.
It doesn’t hurt that you can find several restaurants that allow you to eat outside with a great view of the ocean, adding to the ambiance.
Wine enhances every meal, and Newport Beach has established itself as quite the wine town.
Numerous upscale wineries host wine tastings and serve some of the greatest wines in the world for when you want to show off your wine knowledge.
If you happen to prefer to live a vegan lifestyle, you’re in luck, thanks to the numerous vegan options around town.
Even the restaurants that serve meat usually have at least a couple of vegan options on the menu.
After the fun and eating are over, it’s time to get to work if you want to continue enjoying the area.
Luckily, Newport Beach has a rather impressive economy and that employs 43,800 people in a wide range of industries.
The top five employers in Newport Beach are:
- Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian
- PIMCO, a global investment management firm
- Glidewell Dental
- Pacific Life, a Fortune 500 insurer
- Newport-Mesa Unified School District
Newport residents earn an average salary of $127,223, and a majority of them commute to work.
Impact Of Tourism
Many people visit Newport Beach to experience its beauty for themselves, and these tourists play an important role in the local economy.
More than seven million tourists traveled to Newport Beach in 2017, and they spent an estimated 1.2 billion dollars while they were there.
When the tourism industry does well, the city generates income via taxes.
7. Great Schools
Parents will pay a lot of money to get their children a decent education, and with the high amount of funding coming from the wealthy residents, the schools in Newport Beach meet expectations.
The public schools fall under the umbrella of the Newport-Mesa Unified district.
Elementary and high schools in Newport Beach include:
- Eastbluff Elementary: top 86.3% in the country
- Mariners Elementary: top 90.8% in the country
- Newport Coast Elementary: top 95.1% in the country
- Newport Elementary: top 85.4% in the country
- Roy O. Anderson Elementary: top 98% in the country
- Newport Heights Elementary: top 81.4% in the country
- Newport Harbor High: top 83.8% in the country
- Horace Ensign Intermediate: top 73.6% in the country
- Corona Del Mar High: top 85.3% in the country
For people who don’t want to send their children to public school, there are numerous prestigious private schools in the area as well.
After the children graduate, they can stay at home a little longer if they enroll in one of the numerous colleges in the area.
Considering the proximity to Los Angeles and other California cities, there are seemingly unlimited options.
8. Proximity To Los Angeles
Another major appeal of Newport Beach is that it is close to Los Angeles without actually being in the city, so you can get some peace and quiet.
See the distance from Newport Beach to major points of interest in LA:
- Los Angeles Airport: 36 miles
- Downtown Los Angeles: 44 miles
- Hollywood: 49 miles
- Burbank: 54 miles
- Beverly Hills: 54 miles
You’ll hop onto the Interstate 405 or 5 to get from Newport Beach to L.A.
The drive generally takes anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.
If you’re not familiar with Los Angeles traffic, you may become overwhelmed by the amount of traffic on the highways.
Always allow time for traffic when making plans in Los Angeles.
If you work in Los Angeles, you may want to reconsider Newport Beach simply so that you don’t have to make the commute every day, but it’s the perfect distance for day trips, a fun night out, and important meetings.
Los Angeles isn’t the only nearby major California city.
Here are some of the nearby metropolitan areas under 100 miles:
- Santa Ana, CA: 9 miles
- Anaheim, CA: 15 miles
- Long Beach, CA: 18 miles
- Riverside, CA: 40 miles
- Glendale, CA: 41 miles
- San Diego, CA: 76 miles
- Tijuana, Mexico: 92 miles
9. City Public Services
The Newport Beach, CA government goes above and beyond to provide all of the basic public services we expect, such as libraries and senior centers.
They also go above and beyond by providing free transportation on the Balboa Ferry during high-traffic seasons.
The ferries allow people to travel around Newport Beach without worrying about parking or driving home after having a couple of glasses of champagne.
Most of the maintenance budget goes to keeping the beaches clean.
For example, they spend $800,000 a year to clean the toilets at the beaches and parks.
Low Crime Rate
On a scale of 1 (safe) to 100 (dangerous), Newport Beach ranks at a 1.
You can feel safe walking down the streets of Newport Beach, even at night.
The area is well lit, most homes have security cameras, and there are few to no reports of gang activity.
Even more importantly, the city has a well-funded and responsive police department.
You only have a 1.65% chance of becoming the victim of a violent crime in Newport Beach compared to the 4.4% chance you have throughout the state of California.
Property crime, on the other hand, is a significant concern, and criminals know to target the wealthy houses to get the highest reward.
While something to consider, the likelihood of becoming the victim of a property crime in Newport Beach (20.99%) is roughly the same as the state of California (21.3%).
10. Orange County Reputation
Newport Beach is the wealthiest city in the prestigious Orange County, California.
Orange County has a reputation for housing the rich and famous, thanks to shows like The Real Housewives of Orange County and The OC.
When outsiders think of people who live in Orange County, they think of tanned, middle-aged WASPs with plastic surgery who wear designer clothes to expensive parties in mansions and parent their spoiled, rich children from a loving distance.
The luxuriousness of it all appeals to ambitious go-getters who want to “keep up with the Joneses” and want to live in Newport Beach as a way to establish their worth to others.
People assume that if you live in Orange County, you must be rich.
That might be why, despite appearances, 26% of people in Orange County rent the beautiful house they call home.
The reputation of Orange County managed to attract a wide number of celebrities, only adding to the appeal.
Just some of the celebrities who live in Newport Beach include:
- Gwen Stefani
- Nicholas Cage
- Chuck Norris
- Steve Aoki
- Tiger Woods
You won’t have to travel all the way to Los Angeles for an encounter with fame!
Newport Beach, Orange County, California boasts some of the most expensive houses in the United States.
Of course, you get the status symbol of having a house in Orange County as well as the local amenities.
The shopping, eating, and spa services are some of the best in the world, too.
For a lot of people, Newport Beach has everything they could possibly want.
For someone who prefers a more low-key lifestyle, away from glitz and glamor, you may want to pick a place without as many paparazzi.
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