- Home buyers seeking a Blue Zone lifestyle in the US have limited options.
- Loma Linda, CA, is among the smallest Blue Zones by population and its real estate market is tight.
- Despite high demand, a typical home sale in Loma Linda is still less pricey than the state average.
The United States’ only Blue Zone has more going for it than having some of the country’s happiest, healthiest, and longest-living residents. The real estate is also less expensive than elsewhere in California.
But that doesn’t mean finding a place there to call home is easy.
Loma Linda has a small town feeling just 60 miles east of bustling Los Angeles. With a population of about 25,000, it is among the smaller of the five original Blue Zones, regions with populations known for eating plant-based and non-processed foods, doing low-intensity physical activity, and promoting a low-stress lifestyle with a strong sense of community. On average, residents of Loma Linda live 10 years longer than typical US residents, Insider previously reported. As such a desirable place to live, it has a highly competitive real estate market.
Brandon Rivinius, the broker-owner of Reliable Realty Group, has sold homes in Loma Linda for more than 13 years and called the area home while raising his young daughters. He told Insider sellers frequently tote their status in the only Blue Zone in the US as a critical feature when listing their homes to attract a buyer keen on the quality of life benefits the local lifestyle offers.
The city has a large population of Seventh-day Adventists, a religious group that promotes healthy eating and strong community ties as a foundational part of its teachings. On Saturdays, per the faith’s practice, many small businesses are closed to ensure practitioners can have a full 24 hours of rest. Rivinius said every other day of the week, you’ll likely see groups of people out walking, jogging, biking, and gathering at church for communal meals.
Average home sales in Loma Linda, according to RedFin and Zillow, ran between $545,000 and $603,000 in the last year. Rivinius said that, despite some natural fluctuations in the market, that average has stayed steady for years.
“Your normal three bedroom, two bath, maybe 1,800 to 2,000 square feet lot, is maybe about $600,000 at least — potentially more if you’re getting closer to the hills,” Rivinius told Insider. The market, he said, is very tight, averaging just a dozen homes for sale in the entire city on any given month.
Cheaper than the rest of California
While buying a home in Loma Linda will cost more than the national average, its real estate offerings are less expensive than a typical transaction in California. Across the country, the median sale price for an existing home rose 1.9% from one year ago to $406,700, according to statistics from the National Association of Realtors. In California, the statewide median is $859,800 — up more than 3% year over year, per the California Association of Realtors.
And Loma Linda’s rental market? It’s tight, too, Rivinius said, adding “there’s a high demand” for rental housing, especially for students of Loma Linda University, a private Seventh-day Adventist institution. But, despite the challenges of finding an available home to move into, the pull of living in a Blue Zone is strong, Rivinius said. So much so that he has considered rebranding his entire business around the appeal of living in a community with happier, healthier neighbors.
“I think Blue Zones are becoming more popular. Funny thing is, my company name is Reliable Realty Group, and over the last year or so, I’ve considered changing my real estate company to Blue Zone Realty,” Rivinius told Insider. “I think the Blue Zone appeal is going to continue to gain popularity, and it’s going to continue to grow, and Loma Linda is going to gain more notoriety, and there’s gonna be even more people interested in living there.”