The desert playground of the Coachella Valley is a renowned vacation destination to many types of travelers - from sunshine seekers to hiking enthusiasts to music festival goers and more.
Highlighted by Palm Springs—which is easily the most well-known city in the area and attracts around 1.6 million tourists each year—there are plenty of obvious reasons to visit the valley, but there's a lot more you'll need to know if you plan on living here full-time or buying a vacation home.
It's great to explore the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains or soak up the sun by a swimming pool, but a lot of visitors to Palm Springs don't have an in-depth knowledge of the entire area. With that being said, here's a bit more info on everything you should know about the Coachella Valley:
Since the weather is a big reason why many residents choose to visit, or live in, the Coachella Valley, it's a good place to start.
Based on Palm Springs' reputation, you might think the weather is toasty hot and great for tanning regardless of which month it is. However, there are distinct seasons with significantly different temperatures. The weather can also vary depending on which neighborhoods you're in and isn't always ideal. This is meant to scare you because, in general, the weather in the Coachella Valley is still among the best in the country, but it's important to be educated on the seasonal trends.
First of all, it rarely rains in the Coachella Valley. On average, the valley only receives about 5 inches of total rainfall for the entire year and it rains for just 15 days of the year. The consistently dry, sunny weather is one of the top reasons why people love living here!
The summer months of July and August—and even the majority of June and September—are insanely hot.
Temperatures during the day will almost always exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit and have been known to reach 120 degrees. Locals tend to stay inside for most of the day when this happens and limit their sun exposure to a maximum of 20 to 30 minutes at a time. In a bizarre way, it's almost comparable to the extreme winters in certain parts of northern countries because most residents spend as little time outside as possible.
The silver lining of these high temperatures is that the dry desert heat doesn't feel as hot as the more humid parts of the country.
Fall and Spring
The majority of the fall and spring months in the valley are ideal for sun tanning by the pool and, if you bring enough water, participating in all sorts of outdoor activities.
The daytime high between March and May usually ranges from 80 to 95 degrees and the same goes for most of October and early November. These are the most enjoyable months of the year for most residents and visitors.
December through February in the Coachella Valley is great for those who prefer a milder climate. With temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees during the day, it's among the most pleasant places in the country to spend the winter months. That said, it can get fairly cold in the desert at night (between 40 and 50 degrees).
Higher elevation communities in the northern part of the valley are also a bit colder on average and the area around North Palm Springs can also get quite windy.
Cost Of Living In Palm Springs And The Coachella Valley
Even though California is among the most expensive states to live in, real estate prices in the Coachella Valley are affordable compared to other parts of SoCal.
The median price of Coachella Valley homes for sale is about 50% less than the median price of California as a whole, so a lot more residents will be able to afford a home. Depending on which city and neighborhood you're interested in, you should be able to buy a spacious single-family home for under $400,000 without much trouble and a stylish condo for under $250,000.
Naturally, prices will vary greatly based on many factors, so check out my main home search page and select your desired price range from the drop down menu to see all the real estate listings that are affordable to you.
The affordable cost of living in the Coachella Valley isn't just limited to the price of homes either. Data shows that the average costs associated with of groceries, healthcare, and transportation are all less than the rest of California.
The Coachella Valley has a fairly strong economy, with a healthy employment rate (better than the national average) and several industries that bring in a lot of money. The primary industries that contribute to the Coachella Valley economy include tourism, agriculture, healthcare, and real estate development.
Not surprisingly, tourism generates the most money and jobs in the valley.
Millions of visitors come to Palm Springs and the surrounding towns every year, generating over $7 billion annually. Festivals and sporting events such as the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, Stagecoach Festival, BNP Paridas Open, and multiple professional golf tournaments are huge drivers of the local economy. They also give home owners in the area a chance to earn a lot of extra income by renting out their homes to event attendees.
The second largest contributor to the Coachella Valley economy is agriculture, due to all the farms in the valley that produce a variety of fruits and vegetables. Sales from these products generate nearly $1 billion every year.
But while agricultural products bring in the second most amount of money of any industry in the Coachella Valley, healthcare is the second biggest employer.
There are nearly 14,000 healthcare workers in the valley and many of the medical centers are ranked among the best in the country for both patients and employees.
Finally, the growing demand for homes in the valley has led to more new construction of both houses and condos. Naturally, this has led to more jobs opening up for many types of construction workers in recent years and this trend shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.
Where To Live In The Coachella Valley
While Palm Springs is clearly the most prominent city in this area, there are a variety of other cities and communities in the Coachella Valley to live in as well. In fact, Palm Springs is one of the smaller cities in the valley by population.
There's extensive info on all the cities in the area on their separate community guide pages—which can be found here and include all the current real estate listings in each city—but I'll give a brief overview on what each city has to offer its residents.
As the valley's entertainment and tourism center, Palm Springs boasts plenty of beautiful hotels and spas, along with stylish mid-century modern homes, condos, and hotels. Because it's the most western city in the valley, it's also the closest to the San Jacinto Mountains and Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, both of which offer a lot of great hiking opportunities.
It's also home to the Desert Regional Medical Center, one of the biggest hospitals in the valley.
Downtown Palm Springs is in the western part of the city and includes a nice mix of shops and restaurants that draw thousands of tourists every day. The western part of the city is also where a lot of celebrities from past and present own homes, so not surprisingly it's the part of the city where you'll find the highest concentration of luxury homes at the high end of the real estate market.
The southern part of the city features plenty of golf courses and upscale condo complexes and gated communities, whereas the eastern and norther part of the city offers the most affordable homes in the city.
Cathedral City is right next door to Palm Springs and is the second largest city in the valley by population. It's also among the most affordable cities in the valley when it comes to real estate prices, as there are plenty of beautiful single-family homes for sale in lovely residential subdivisions. There are also plenty of unique restaurants and businesses, as well as plenty of chain retailers.
Generally speaking, the southern part of Cathedral City is considered the more upscale area with higher priced homes compared to the northern neighborhoods near the airport.
As one of the most affluent cities in the Coachella Valley, Rancho Mirage is home to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and plenty of luxury houses. The Eisenhower Medical Centre, another one of the main hospitals in the valley, is also located here.
This small, but beautiful city is very safe and the homes are, on average, among the most expensive in the area.
Palm Desert is also a popular place for tourists to stay, as its home to a lot of nice hotels, excellent golf courses, large shopping malls, and fine dining establishments. There's also a nice mix of single-family homes and condos that are very reasonably priced, so it's no surprise that it's quite popular for families and first-time homebuyers.
Indian Wells is the most upscale and expensive of the Coachella Valley cities. Many of the upscale homes in this small city are located within gated communities. It's also home to the BNP Paradis Open, which is among the more notable professional tennis tournaments in the world.
This is the largest city in the Coachella Valley by population and it's still growing rapidly. The residents in Indio are very diverse and come from all types of demographics, and the homes here are among the most affordable in the valley. Indio's recent surge in population stems, in large part, from the popularity of the many festivals it hosts each year.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, along with Stagecoach, Riverside County Fair, Desert Trip, and the National Date Festival.
One thing to be aware of about the northern section of the Coachella Valley is it can get very windy.
If you're thinking of moving to Palm Springs, you should be aware that the area near Interstate 10 is prone to more wind than the central and southern parts of the city, which would explain the wind turbines near the highway. This is one of the reasons why homes for sale in North Palm Springs don't cost as much as homes in the rest of the city. Other communities in that area such as Desert Hot Springs, Whitewater, and Bonnie Bell also get more wind than the rest of the valley.
If you want to move to the Coachella Valley or you'd like to move within the valley, talk a licensed REALTOR® like myself. I can guide you through the neighborhoods and help you find the home that fits you the best.