An Overview of Cost of Living in Santa Barbara, CA
Understanding the cost of living in Santa Barbara can help future residents assess whether their current financial situation aligns with the expenses they will encounter. It enables them to plan for potential changes in their budget and lifestyle. The Santa Barbara cost of living index is 221, which is 121% higher than the national average. The cost of living index is calculated by taking into account multiple categories, which encompass both the cost of everyday expenditures and larger expenses as well.
If you value affordability in your search for a new place to live, Santa Barbara may not be the most suitable option, as it stands out as one of the priciest areas in the entire United States. Only a small fraction of regions have a cost of living that is more than 20% higher than the national average, and regrettably, Santa Barbara falls into this category, which may not align with your desire for an affordable place to call home.
Housing costs make up a big chunk of the cost of living in Santa Barbara, and they usually eat into a large part of your take-home pay. Unfortunately, in this area, both buying a home and renting one costs 369.4% more than the average city. This includes stuff like home prices, rent, mortgage rates, and insurance.
What Do Locals Say About the Cost of Living in Santa Barbara?
The most insightful perspective on a city comes from its residents. We recently surveyed 42 locals to gauge their perception of the cost of living in Santa Barbara. The feedback revealed that 7% of respondents found the cost of living to be reasonable, with prices on the decline, while 93% regarded it as notably expensive with prices that continue to rise.
Is Santa Barbara Affordable?
Is Santa Barbara an affordable place to live? That's a valid question to ask when you're thinking about moving to a new city. After all, how much it costs to live somewhere can be a huge factor in your decision. Affordability can be broken down into 3 common categories. The cost of living index (we talked about it earlier), housing expenses and income levels all play a big role in figuring out if a place is affordable. For instance, in Santa Barbara, the median home price is 486% higher than what most folks pay across the country, and monthly rent prices are 97.5% higher than the usual rates. Income levels in Santa Barbara come in at $81,618, which is 47.5% higher than the national average.
What Factors can Influence the Cost of Living in Santa Barbara?
Taxes: Cities that impose higher taxes, including sales and income taxes, can contribute to an escalated cost of living. The added expense of taxes on everyday goods like clothing and food naturally results in higher overall costs. Similarly, a higher income tax rate can further elevate the cost of living. In Santa Barbara, the general sales tax rate starts at 7.25%, and income tax rates begin at 1%.
Housing: High demand for housing in desirable locations can drive up property prices and rental rates. This can be a primary contributor to a higher cost of living. While low demand for housing, especially in undesirable locations, can have the reverse effect and drive prices down, resulting in a lower cost of living. The housing index in Santa Barbara, is 369.4% higher than the national average.
Urbanization: Larger, urban centers, known for their wealth of amenities and strong employment prospects, often exhibit an elevated cost of living, primarily attributable to the heightened demand for services and residential relocation. Consequently, this scenario leads to elevated home prices and higher rental rates. In contrast, sparsely populated rural areas or regions characterized by diminished demand typically provide a more limited array of amenities and experience slower job market growth, resulting in a more affordable cost of living.
Where is the Data From?
The Santa Barbara cost of living data displayed above is derived from the C2ER cost of living index to provide a useful and reasonably accurate measure of living cost differences in urban areas. Published on a quarterly basis, it compiles data from more than 300 independent researchers, encompassing over 60 goods and services. These items have been meticulously selected to represent various consumer expenditure categories, in 6 categories. Weightings assigned to cost differentials draw from government survey data tracking spending patterns among professional and executive households. While the C2ER index excludes data on sales or income tax rates, AreaVibes incorporates tax rates into the overall cost of living score for each region.