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Relocating to Humboldt County

Life by the Sea

Relocating to Humboldt County

The lifestyle here is unquestionably different from that of other California locales. Humboldt County continues to be a popular relocation choice; people seem to visit for a couple of days and end up coming back to live permanently. Whether for retirement, recreation opportunities or just a different environment, most people settle here for a better quality of life. The county offers abundant natural beauty, mild weather, friendly towns and a minimum of traffic and pollution.

Due to its varied terrain, finding the right spot to settle in Humboldt County can take some study. Local real estate agents divide the county into six regions: South County, Mid-County, South Bay, North Bay, Northwest County and Northeast County. Each has its own distinct personality and attributes.

Southern Humboldt, also referred to as South County, is a rural, mountainous area blessed with clean air, a warm, sunny climate, towering redwoods, lush state parks, wilderness areas and rugged coastline. Most of its small communities are along Hwy 101 and the Avenue of the Giants, a scenic drive in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

To the north is Central Humboldt County. The area is still mostly rural, but also includes the vibrant community of Fortuna and the nearby Victorian Village of Ferndale. Fortuna is generally sunnier than nearby Eureka or Ferndale, both of which experience coastal fog. The entire downtown of Ferndale is a National Historic Landmark, and will appeal to those who love Victorian buildings, pastoral countryside and small village ambiance. The South Bay section of the county is named for its proximity to Humboldt Bay and includes the most populous city, Eureka. With a population of over 28,000, Eureka has a wide spectrum of housing choices from modest bungalows to ornate refurbished Victorian mansions. Local real estate agents can describe the dozens of individual neighborhoods, school districts and microclimates of Eureka.

The college town of Arcata is in the North Bay region of the county along with McKinleyville, the county's fastest growing community. Arcata has historically had consistently higher real estate prices than the rest of the county due primarily to the presence of Cal Poly Humboldt; however, in recent years McKinleyville's home values have been on par with Arcata's. With Cal Poly's enrollment of about 8,000 students, rental properties are rarely vacant. Furthermore, geographical restrictions leave little room for new housing in the attractive city. Arcata has a unique wildlife sanctuary on the bay as well as a central plaza that hosts numerous annual celebrations.

McKinleyville, just seven miles north of Arcata, is growing quickly, and it is here that one finds the largest numbers of new homes in the county. Just east of McKinleyville is Fieldbrook, where most homes are on large lots or acreage. Blue Lake is a small hamlet along the Mad River just out of the coastal fog belt east of Arcata that has gained popularity among home buyers. The Northwest County area is home to the tiny but unique harbor village of Trinidad. Despite being one of California's smallest incorporated cities with a population under 400, some of the county's most expensive properties are found here in stunning custom coastal homes in close proximity to many parks and beaches. Also in Northwestern County is Orick, situated at the southern entrance to Redwoods National and State Parks.

Northeast County is a vast rural region that includes the Trinity and Klamath rivers, the Klamath Mountains and the Hoopa Indian Reservation. It is a great area for fishermen, boaters and nature enthusiasts. Summer temperatures reach an average high in the mid-90s, and winter usually brings rainstorms with snow at the higher elevations. The town of Willow Creek is situated along Hwy 299 and the town of Orleans is along Hwy 96.

The most active months for home sales are July through September. Humboldt County has always given consumers more bang for their buck compared to Southern California or the San Francisco Bay Area. For those who prefer to rent, the rental market is relatively tight, and nice properties are not on the market long. Generally, more rural, country homes tend to command a higher price here.

Commercial real estate is an attractive option for some due to the area's lower prices. Some of the people interested in a lifestyle change who move to the area opt to buy an existing business rather than look for a job.

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