Moreno Valley, California




Sunny Days: 272
41100 Affordability
79100 Schools
58100 Diversity
77100 Safety

Best way to live in California is to be from somewhere else.
-Cormac McCarthy: Author

Best Part About Moreno Valley?

Housing Prices

As with much of the Inland Empire, the region Moreno Valley occupies, the housing prices here are much cheaper than the coastal region to the west. This cheaper housing has driven LA residents east into Moreno, Fontana, San Bernardino and the rest for decades. And it remains the primary selling point of Moreno Valley. Average home prices are in the $400k-$500k and while that may seem expensive to much of the country, if you live on the Pacific Ocean that is darned reasonable and continues to be the reason people move here.

The reasons for the better housing prices from the pov of a local: Moreno Valley is cheap because of several factors: 1) Land Speculation: The area has historically been the fastest to boom and the fastest to bust. The city has ranked as both the nation's fastest and sixth fastest growing cities (1989 and 2006). So, speculation is huge. Thus, the crash was HUGE… 2) Stigma: For whatever reason, there is a stigma attached to the town. When I was a kid it was because it was too suburban. Then the base closed down. The city also did go through a bigger demographic shift compared to other cities in the region. Thus, there was a little culture clash that taints its reputation.

For more reviews of Moreno Valley from locals check out: The Buzz

Worst Part About Moreno Valley?


Moreno Valley occupies an odd central position in the Inland Empire. It’s closer to LA than some of the suburban cities but farther from the mountains than others. It’s kind of trapped between the benefits of being on the coast and the benefits of being in the foothills of the mountains. That might be ok except the commercial scene in Moreno Valley is severely lacking, making this a true bedroom community without the close proximity to LA or the mountains to make up for it. Basically you get the boredom without the quick drive to the more active metroplex or outdoors scene. If you live here and don’t feel like driving some distance to get somewhere interesting you ain’t gonna like it.

Note from a local about Moreno Valley: Like others have suggested, you want to live in Riverside or Redlands to be near your job. Check out a map. Moreno Valley isn't anywhere near LA or OC or anywhere with traditional hotspots where younger active people like to live. The better sides of Riverside or Redlands will at least provide you with fun things/interesting things/safer things. The "glamor of California" is not in Moreno Valley, no offense to those from Moreno Valley. Many would argue it's not even in the Inland Empire, but like every area there are good parts to the IE and bad parts to the IE.

Lifestyle of Moreno Valley

As was just noted the lifestyle in Moreno Valley proper is pretty nominal. It’s a bedroom community for an extremely diverse population that pretty much all moved there to escape LA. Oddly, Moreno Valley has no real downtown, so you have to depend on neighboring cities to get a taste of bars, restaurants or shopping in any concentrated area. That will change over time as in 2020 a 56 acre parcel of land was approved to be a new downtown section of the city. Until then expect a lifestyle of driving to reach the fun stuff.

Workstyle of Moreno Valley

The biggest employer in Moreno Valley for decades was March Air Force Base. This huge armed service population created a vibrant middle class that was the backbone of the area economy. In 1996 it closed for active service and gutted the local economy. Until recently the majority of residents commuted to LA but now with Covid and the rise of a remote workforce Moreno Valley will undoubtedly see a reduction in commuting into the city and likely some rise in population that’s looking for lower housing prices and not needing to make the drive.

Why You Should Move Here Now?

The Upside

The most powerful thing Moreno Valley has going for it is much lower housing prices than the coast or even some of the other Inland Empire cities. When you combine these lower costs with the opportunity to work remotely these homes become even more attractive. When you add in the planned construction of a downtown area and you have a bit of a perfect storm. If you can wait for the development, Moreno Valley might be an option.

Neighborhoods in Moreno Valley

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The Area

Moreno Valley is on the southwestern side of the Inland Empire region. This is a massive stretch of land that is larger than ten states and stretches from just east of Los Angeles to the borders of Nevada and Arizona. It was originally, much like its Central Valley neighbor to the north, dedicated to agriculture and filled with produce and dairy farms. Over the years however, agriculture declined in the face of rising populations and development, primarily driven by affordable housing opportunities east of the coast. The Inland Empire is located an hour+ east of Los Angeles, approximately an hour and a half north of San Diego, and around 3 ½ hours to Las Vegas. Many who choose to live here do so to take advantage of the short distances to the beaches, mountains, dessert, and gambling!

Moreno Valley is the only Inland Empire city with no downtown area. This makes its neighborhoods critical for supporting your lifestyle unless you’re venturing out of the city with some frequency. As with most Inland Empire cities the nicest neighborhoods are on the northern side of the city. It seems the closer you get to the mountains the roomier the homes, yards and blocks. The northside neighborhoods often have lakeside properties and amenities like a pool, a gym, clubhouse and family and community activities.

Moreno Valley Ranch

Young Families

Young families look to the north, if they can afford, or the east side for more reasonable pricing. The west side neighborhoods have great homes, albeit more modestly sized than the north, but also are part of neighborhoods that often have community amenities of a pool, and clubhouse for beating the heat and keeping the kiddos occupied during the blasted summer heat. Check out the eastern suburb of Moreno Valley Ranch first. It not only has the community amenities referenced but also is built around a lake for additional water and shoreline. That whole area on the east is nice due to proximity to Lake Perris State Recreation Area. Or check north if you’ve got the bucks.

  • Moreno Valley Ranch
  • Legacy Park
  • Mesa Verde

Sunnymead Ranch

Established Families

The pricier homes and neighborhoods are found on the northside of Moreno Valley. They are commonly built around golf clubs and significant neighborhood amenities. Essentially they create a self-contained family experience for those who live here and are great options considering the limited city experiences in Moreno Valley.

  • Sunnymead Ranch Homes
  • Hidden Springs
  • Shadow Mountain