The Cost of Living in Carlsbad, CA – Is it Really Expensive?

Many are drawn to move to Carlsbad, CA because of its beautiful sandy beaches, unique lagoons, exceptional shopping, and world-class sporting events. Carlsbad is an excellent home for families, with LEGOLAND® theme park conveniently located in the city. Every spring, 50 acres of flowers bloom at the Flower Fields of Carlsbad Ranch. Golfers will have an amazing time at the storied La Costa golf courses.

If you’re considering moving to Carlsbad, CA, you might be asking, “Is Carlsbad a good place to live?” The answer is a resounding yes! But another thing you need to know is the cost of living in Carlsbad, CA. Read on to learn more about the cost of living in this wonderful city.

Simply put, the cost of living is the amount of money that a person needs to cover his basic expenses in a particular location and time period. This would include housing, food, taxes, and healthcare. Cost of living is often used to compare the affordability of living in one city compared to another. A cost of living index is particularly helpful if you are thinking of moving to Carlsbad, CA, and you want to see if moving here would be beneficial for you and your family given your projected income.

A cost of living index is particularly helpful if you are considering moving to Carlsbad, and you want to see if living in this California city would be beneficial for you and your family given your projected income. This index is based on a national average of 100. For example, if the COL index of housing in a given area is 120, then it is 20% higher than the national average.

The overall cost of living in Carlsbad is 191.7. This means that all the basic expenses combined are 91.7% higher than the whole of United States.

  • Most of what’s raising the overall COL in the city is housing, at an index of 378.5.
  • Transportation and groceries are also higher than the national average at 125.6 and 113.5, respectively.

The median home cost in this area is $1,142,400, almost double than the median home cost on the state level which is $684,800, and much higher than the median home cost at the national level which is $291,700. However, considering that Carlsbad is located between Los Angeles and San Diego, it is not surprising that the houses in this location would be at a premium cost.

  • In Los Angeles, the median home cost is $883,400, while in San Diego, the median home cost is $812,100.
  • The average monthly rent in Carlsbad is $1,894, with the range being $1,804 to $3,158, depending on the location and the size of the apartment.
  • The average monthly rent for a studio apartment is $1,804; a one-bedroom apartment, $1,894; a two-bedroom apartment, $2,225; and a three-bedroom apartment, $3,158.

Housing Costs in Carlsbad

Cost of groceries in Carlsbad, CA is 13.5% higher than the national average:

  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: $14
  • A three-course meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant: $75
  • A McMeal at McDonalds (or equivalent combo meal): $8
  • Cappuccino (regular): $4.75
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33-liter bottle): $1.50
  • Water (0.33-liter bottle): $1.30
  • Milk (1 liter): $1.31
  • Loaf of fresh white bread (500g): $2.33
  • White rice (1kg): $2.18
  • Eggs (1 dozen): $2.41
  • Chicken fillet (1kg): $10.75
  • Beef round (1kg): $13.23
  • Apples (1kg): $3.51
  • Bananas (1kg): $1.74
  • Oranges (1kg): $2.55
  • Tomatoes (1kg): $3.79
  • Potatoes (1kg): $1.39
  • Onions (1kg): $2.23
  • Lettuce (1 head): $1.73
  • Water (1.5-liter bottle): $1.63
  • Bottle of Wine (mid-range): $16.50

As with almost all coastal Cali towns, the cost to get around in Carlsbad is high.

  • Next to housing, transportation is the second highest cost, at 25.6% higher than the national average.
  • Taxes on fuel and the cost of insurance, both of which are higher than average, are the primary causes of the higher COL index for transportation.
  • The average commute time in Carlsbad is 28 minutes one way, about 2 minutes longer than the national average.

Transportation Costs in Carlsbad

Although the lights and the air conditioning are always on when you live on the California coast, you won’t need to keep the air conditioner running in Carlsbad as much as in other cities. That’s because the weather here is milder, no sweltering days or freezing days. The average daily temperatures range between 64°F and 75°F.

The cost-of-living index for healthcare in Carlsbad is significantly lower than the national average at 89, 11% lower than the national average.

  • A visit to an optometrist costs $117.65 on average.
  • An appointment with a general practitioner costs $125 on average.
  • A routine checkup with a dentist in x costs $107.18 on average.

Miscellaneous costs in Carlsbad are 6.1% higher than the national average. These include things like:

  • Getting your hair cut or having a hair treatment at the salon
  • Going to concerts, seeing shows, going to the movies, etc
  • Going to the spa for a massage
  • Shopping for clothes and fashion accessories
  • Buying toys and games for children

Depending on your lifestyle and the size of your family, miscellaneous costs may or may not be a significant factor. Here are some of the things you might want to know:

  • Average monthly membership fee at the fitness club: $33.75
  • Average rent for 1 hour at the tennis court: $20
  • 1 ticket to the cinema: $15
  • Average price of a pair of jeans: $41.23
  • Average price of a summer dress: $20
  • Average price of a pair of running shoes: $76.25
  • Average price of a pair of men’s leather shoes: $113


Carlsbad, CA is indeed an amazing place to live in. If you are considering relocating to this city, we hope that the information provided in this article has helped you assess if relocating to Carlsbad will be beneficial for you. And if you are planning to buy your new home in this location, feel free to get in touch with me and I will be more than happy to help you find the perfect home for you and your family given your lifestyle, personal preferences, and budget. Feel free to give me a call today at 858-699-7627 or send me an email at if you have any questions or if you would like to schedule an appointment.