5 Worst California Cities To Buy Property Over the Next 5 Years, per Real Estate Agents – GOBankingRates

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More than 39 million people call California home, and with the state’s sunny climate, warm beaches, diverse landscape and easygoing vibe, the Golden State has long been a favorite destination to live. The West Coast location is also appealing because of its endless outdoor activities, variety of food, state parks and job opportunities. While California is a desirable state, not every city is investment-worthy. “When it comes to real estate, not all that glitters is gold — especially in California,” Yawar Charlie, a Los Angeles-based senior real estate agent, director of Aaron Kirman Group’s estates division, and a cast member of CNBC’s Listing Impossible, told us. 

Here are a few cities where you might want to think twice before investing in the next five years, according to Charlie, who prefaced this by stating, “these cities might have their charms, but from a real estate investment perspective, they come with significant risks.”

Buy/sell, rent/lease residential &
commercials real estate properties.

He added, “Remember, real estate isn’t just about finding the cheapest property — it’s about finding value and growth potential.”


“Despite efforts to revitalize, Stockton still struggles with high crime rates and economic instability,” he said.  

According to Southbay Moving Systems, the city experiences 81.5% higher crime than the rest of the U.S. and 65% higher than the rest of California. “The real estate market here has been notoriously volatile, and while there may be potential for long-term growth, the risk is significant. Think of it as betting on a long shot at the Kentucky Derby,” Charlie explained. 


Located north of Los Angeles and near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley, Bakersfield is a cheap place to live, and more than 400,000 people have settled. However, low cost isn’t the only factor to consider when buying property. 

“While affordable, Bakersfield’s economy heavily relies on oil and agriculture, both of which are susceptible to market fluctuations,” Charlie explained. “The area has also faced environmental challenges and limited cultural amenities, which could impact property values and desirability. Investing here is like riding a rollercoaster — exciting, but you need to hang on tight!”


Situated in the Central Valley of California, approximately 68 miles from Sacramento, Modesto offers cost-effective housing that’s 84% lower than the state average, with goods and services 30% cheaper than the rest of the state.

But there’s also a downside to the city, Charlie explained. “Modesto faces high crime rates and limited job opportunities, which makes it less appealing for new residents and investors.” 

According to Neighborhood Scout, Modesto has one of the highest crime rates in the country, with a “chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here is one in 30.”

However, there are other reasons to proceed with caution when considering buying property in Modesto, per Charlie. 

“The city’s growth has been slow, and without significant economic development, property values may stagnate. You could say it’s like watching paint dry–except without the exciting outcome.”


Known for its wide variety of agriculture and crops, such as grapes, tomatoes, citrus fruits, and almonds, Fresno offers plenty for residents and visitors to do, but according to Charlie, it’s a city to avoid buying property. 

“Although it’s one of the larger cities in California, Fresno struggles with high unemployment rates and a lack of high-paying jobs,” he said. “The housing market here has been inconsistent, and the city’s growth prospects are uncertain. Investing here could feel like swimming against the tide.”

San Bernardino

San Bernardino is located in Southern California’s Inland Empire region, and is a budget-friendly Los Angeles suburb, but the city is still reeling from several issues. 

“San Bernardino has had its fair share of troubles, including a bankruptcy filing a in 2012 due to financial difficulties and cash shortage,” Charlie said. “The city still struggles with economic recovery, a struggling school system and high crime rates with a one in 23 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime. It’s the kind of investment that might leave you feeling more stressed than blessed,” he stated. 

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