Coldwell Banker Real Estate recently released its “Top Booming Suburbs in America” survey—the final installment of the Coldwell Banker® Best Places to Live series. The “Booming Suburbs” ranking rated 1,500 communities based on increased year-over-year levels in employment and unemployment percentages below the national norm, along with a range of attributes that include access to suburban staples (grocery stores, banks, etc.), proximity to good schools, commuting by car and community safety. Cottage Lake, located approximately 21 miles northeast of downtown Seattle, took the top position nationally based on methodology created by Coldwell Banker and its partner in the study, Onboard Informatics. But us Californians are dying to know… which suburbs in our beloved Golden State are tops on the list?

Belmont, located in San Mateo County and 22 miles from San Francisco, earned the No. 1 position in California for its beautiful hillside location overlooking San Francisco Bay, small yet bustling downtown and growing job sector.  Two other San Mateo County suburbs—Foster City and San Carlos—followed suit, ranking No. 2 and No. 3 respectively.  (Apparently San Mateo County is one booming county!) Are you curious what other boomin’ burbs in Cali made the cut?  Look no further!  We have included the list below, along with some interesting facts about each one.

PLACE COUNTY RANKING SCORE*
Belmont San Mateo 1 965.763
Foster City San Mateo 2 965.265
San Carlos San Mateo 3 965.05
Novato Marin 4 961.213
San Rafael Marin 5 949.713
Pacifica San Mateo 6 947.432
North Tustin Orange 7 944.352
Burlingame San Mateo 8 940.224
Yorba Linda Orange 9 936.492
Seal Beach Orange 10 935.466

Interesting Facts about the Top 10 California Booming ‘Burbs

1. Belmont (Suburb of San Mateo County) 

Unemployment Rate: 4.2%**
Average Commute Time: 29 minutes

Unlike most California towns, Belmont actually takes its meaning (“beautiful mountain”) from the French. The peninsula community stays true to its name with its abundant trees, vast canyons, gorgeous wooded hillsides and picturesque homes nestled throughout. Positioned almost 25 miles from San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland, Belmont offers a small, yet busy downtown with easy freeway access and rail transportation. And while many Bay Area professionals might commute to tech centers in Silicon Valley or downtown San Francisco, only 17% of Belmont residents commute outside of San Mateo County.  In 2009, Forbes noted that local firms in Belmont “have attracted $878 per capita in venture funding, and the city scores in the top quarter for its number of restaurants and bars”–helping the city earn a No. 11 position on the magazine’s list of “America’s Top 25 Towns to Live Well.”

2. Foster City (Suburb of San Mateo County) 

Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
Average Commute Time: 29 minutes

With close proximity to Silicon Valley, Foster City has long been a hotspot for both tech companies and their employees. In fact, many major tech companies have headquarters in the area including, Live365, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Acxiom Digital and Sling Box. Like Belmont, Foster City also earned the attention of Forbes in 2009, which ranked the city No. 10 on its “America’s Top 25 Towns to Live Well” list and first on its list “for its share of highly skilled workers, particularly with a background in tech, and in the top five for its per capita number of patents.” Beyond the employment opportunities, Foster City offers more parks per capita than any other city in California–100 acres to be exact,  including tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields, basketball courts, and biking trails along the San Francisco Bay.

3. San Carlos (Suburb of San Mateo County) 

Unemployment Rate: 3.3%
Average Commute Time: 28 minutes

Known as “The City of Good Living,” San Carlos makes good on that promise with a pleasant climate, outstanding school system, attractive residential neighborhoods, shopping district, restaurants, modern industrial and commercial areas, plus an ideal location about 25 miles from San Francisco and San Jose. Since the city is part of the northern edge of Silicon Valley, San Carlos is home to several technology companies and many of biotech and medical instrumentation firms–yet has somehow managed to maintain its small town feel with annual events, such as the May “Hometown Days” carnival, the Art & Wine Festival in October and Hot Harvest Nights on Thursday evenings.

4. Novato (Suburb of Marin County) 

Unemployment Rate: 5.3%
Average Commute Time: 34 minutes

Boasting a rich Native American history, Novato was originally the site of several Coast Miwok villages, including Chokeche, Puyuku, and Olompali. Geographically, Novato is roughly 24 miles north of San Francisco and is home to several biotech firms. Residents of Novato enjoy quality of life with nearby state parks such as Muir Woods and Point Reyes—in fact, hikers and trail-walkers from all around the Bay Area frequently visit these iconic and beautiful areas. With the great outdoors in its backyard, Novato is one of the most serene cities in Northern California.

5. San Rafael (Suburb of Marin County) 

Unemployment Rate: 5.4%
Average Commute Time: 31 minutes

Being one of California’s original 27 county seats, San Rafael became Marin County’s first city when it was incorporated in 1874. Today, it is the oldest, largest and most culturally diverse city in Marin County with a lively industrial and cultural center. Almost 30% of San Rafael is comprised of parklands and open space, replete with hiking trails, public parks, biking paths and campgrounds. It is a mere seventeen miles north of San Francisco and an short drive from California’s Wine Country.

6. Pacifica (Suburb of San Mateo County) 

Unemployment Rate: 5.6%
Average Commute Time: 32 minutes

Pacifica’s stellar location on the coast between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay has long made the city a desirable place to work and live.  Spread along a six-mile stretch of coastline, Pacifica is located just 15 miles outside of San Francisco–but offers employment opportunities  in a variety of industries nearby. Most residents work in Educational Services, Health Care, Social Assistance as well as Retail Trade and Manufacturing. Job growth is also projected to increase by 18.1% over the next decade.

7. North Tustin (Suburb of Orange County) 

Unemployment Rate: 5.4%
Average Commute Time: 26 minutes

Set against picturesque foothills, this unincorporated community may not technically be located within the city limits of Tustin, but uses nearby Santa Ana for its mailing addresses.  Education, healthcare and technology are the primary industries, with companies such as Behr PaintCoreLogicIngram Micro, and Wahoo’s Fish Taco choosing the area as their corporate headquarters. It also houses major regional headquarters for the Xerox corporation, Ultimate Software Ultimate Software and T-Mobile. Over the next 10 years, experts say that  jobs are projected to grow by 33.1%.

8. Burlingame (Suburb of San Mateo County)

Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Average Commute Time: 28 minutes

Burlingame certainly has its perks: it is known as a community of affluence, in addition to its high quality of residential life, historic Victorian architecture and proximity to the San Francisco International Airport, downtown San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Due to its close distance to the airport, the main industry of Burlingame is airline support services.  The largest employers are Virgin America, Wright Medical Technology, United Natural Foods and Critchfield Mechanical, followed by the many tech companies found throughout Silicon Valley. Public transportation such as BART and Caltrain also helps ease commutes to downtown San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

9. Yorba Linda (Suburb of Orange County) 

Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Average Commute Time: 31 minutes

In 2012, the affluent community of Yorba Linda landed on Money magazine’s Top 50 “Best Places to Live,” and it’s easy to see why.  Yorba Linda has plenty of claim to fame–it was Richard Nixon’s birthplace and is often identified as the richest city in the U.S. by the U.S. Census Bureau.  (The same Money article also noted the city’s median household income of $130,978 was  much higher than the national average of $96,825.) A projected job growth of 23.46% over the next 10 years, combined a thriving job market in town and in surrounding communities like downtown Santa Ana (13 miles away) and Los Angeles (40 miles away) are icing on the suburban cake.

10. Seal Beach (Suburb of Orange County) 

Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
Average Commute Time: 31 minutes

What’s not to like about Seal Beach? Playfully called “Mayberry by the Sea,” the city offers a quaint, hometown feel with its old-fashioned downtown district, beachside location and the state’s second longest wooden pier. The area’s established roots in the aerospace industry have also helped create a dynamic workforce, especially with Boeing employing roughly 1,000 professionals. Its proximity to other employment centers in Long Beach and San Pedro Bay (just across the border of Los Angeles County), as well as Westminster and Garden Grove to the east, further add to its appeal.

For more information on the methodology behind these rankings or to view past Coldwell Banker® Best Places to Live rankings, click here

*The “score” in the table is based on a scale from 1-1,000, with 1,000 being the No. 1 booming suburb in California. 

** The unemployment rates are based on May 2013 statistics as released by the State of California Employment Development Department. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, national unemployment rate for May 2013 is 7.6%.