A great variety of luxury condos are available in Ojai, ranging from charming boutique buildings to soaring high-rise luxury towers and almost everything in between. Most of the properties are waterfront, giving buyers an option to choose from the riverfront, oceanfront, or Intracoastal front locations. Large apartment and condo buildings are the primary housing type in Ojai, representing around 40% of all properties in the city, with the remainder being single-family homes and small apartment buildings.
Located in Ventura County, Ojai is flanked by the majestic Topa Topa Mountains. With a territory of four square miles and a population of 7,400 people, the city has a decidedly small-town feel and a relaxed rural vibe.
Ojai is a famed vacation spot, whose hiking trails, organic farms, vineyards, and hot springs attract thousands of visitors a year. Locals often dub the place “Shangri-La” because of its reputation as a wellness retreat and because key scenes from the movie Lost Horizon were shot in the area.
It is bordered by the Topa Topa Mountains to the north, Casitas Springs to the south, Lake Casitas to the west, and the city of Santa Paula to the east. Ojai is about 33 miles east of Santa Barbara and 85 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Despite Ojai being a secluded rural city, getting in and out of town is easy thanks to California State Routes 33 and 150. Both the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport and Los Angeles International Airport are under 90 minutes away.
With its proximity to nature, postcard-perfect views, and tight-knit community, Ojai is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of city living.
- What’s in a name? “Ojai” comes from the Chumash word that means “moon.” This makes it one of the few California cities named after a Native American word.
- Film-worthy. Part of Frank Capra’s 1937 adventure film Lost Horizon is set in the fictional Shangri-La. The production crew chose Ojai to depict the calm and serene atmosphere of the fabled paradise.
- Celebrity favorite. With Ojai being just a 90-minute drive from Hollywood, stars like Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and Anthony Hopkins flock to the city for its luxurious spas and spiritual retreats.
- Meditative beauty. Ojai’s serene beauty and secluded location make it the ideal place for reflection. Luckily, Meditation Mount offers a free venue where you can contemplate life’s most important questions.
- Lavender valley. The city is also home to one of the most unique events in California: the Ojai Valley Lavender Festival. The annual affair celebrates the abundant lavender plants that grow in Ojai Valley because of its Mediterranean climate.
- Pixie perfect. There are over 25,000 pixie trees in Ojai, and the city designates April as Pixie Month to celebrate these tiny citrus fruits. Restaurants and bars create pixie-themed fare, while hotels and spas offer special deals to attract visitors.
- Incomparable sunsets. Stay in Ojai and you’re bound to hear about its iconic “pink moment.” Due to the area’s unique geography, the entire sky blushes pink at dusk between December and January.
Ojai’s stunning surroundings have made it a coveted piece of land for hundreds of years. The area was used as ranchland for almost a century and the ranchero era’s legacy is reflected in the city’s unhurried lifestyle. Below are the key events that shaped this Ojai’s history:
- Early history — Before colonization, the Chumash Indians inhabited the land that would become Ojai
- 1833 — A decade after Mexico gains independence from Spain, the Franciscan missions are desecularized and converted into cattle ranches.
- 1837 — Governor Juan Alvarado grants over 17,000 acres of land to Fernando Tico, who establishes Rancho Ojay.
- 1874 — R.G. Surdam lays out an urban plan for lower Ojai Valley, which he names Nordoff and promotes as a wellness destination. The discovery of hot springs burnishes the town’s reputation as a leisure retreat, attracting snowbirds from the east.
- 1903 — The Foothills Hotel is built, establishing Nordoff as one of Southern California’s top vacation spots.
- 1916 — Entranced by Ojai Valley’s beauty, Drummond Libbey decides to relocate to Nordoff. In 1916, he hires architect Richard Requa to design a Spanish-inspired town center. Many of the architectural features from that era survive till today, including Libbey Park, the Arcade Pergola, and the Ojai Valley Country Club.
- 1917 — After the town center’s makeover, the area is renamed Ojai after both the valley it’s located in and the old Chumash word mean ing “moon.”
- 1921 — The town of Ojai is officially incorporated into a city.
- Present day — Today, Ojai is the epitome of refined rural living. Its wonderful weather, scenic vineyards, and thriving arts scene draw many visitors, many of whom decide to stay for good. For these reasons, Niche.com named Ojai as the fourth-best place to live in Ventura County.
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Niche.com classifies Ojai as a sparse suburban because it’s located outside larger and busier cities like Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. If you’re looking for a neighborhood that gives you more room to breathe, the city is an excellent choice.
But while the city may be small compared to its neighbors, real estate here commands a sizable price tag. Information from Realtor.com shows that a typical Ojai listing fetches around $1.3M—much higher than the national average. The good news is that property prices appreciate by about 7% year over year.
Ojai offers a range of realty options to suit your lifestyle and needs. Among the options are:
Unlike in major cities, condos in Ojai tend to be single-story abodes or cozy townhomes rather than multi-story constructions. Such properties are ideal for young families looking for a starter home or empty-nesters looking to downsize. Condos are a great entry point to the Ojai real estate market as their average listing price is much lower than other property types. A quick property search will reveal that most condos have two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and have at least 1,000 square feet of floor space. These multi-family properties are conveniently located near the downtown area and its urban conveniences.Single-family homes
Those looking for a more traditional home should look into single-family properties. Located in secure and serene communities, these houses are the ideal place to raise a growing brood. They tend to be located near outstanding schools, which is great for buyers with school-age kids. The bigger space comes at a bigger cost, however, with listings ranging from $700,000 to over $1 million. But deluxe features such as walk-in closets, grand fireplaces, poolside patios, expansive yards, and private saunas make them well worth the purchase. Many of these properties have panoramic views of the nearby mountains, as well as easy access to biking and hiking trails. Single-family homes typically have four bedrooms and two bathrooms, and a floor space of around 1,500 square feet.Luxury homes
Ojai is also home to several high-end listings that won’t feel out of place in an architectural magazine. These luxury homes often command prices upwards of $5 million, but they are located in the most premier neighborhoods or in multi-acre lots. They’re often designed to maximize the views of the surrounding valley, and some even have provisions for ranching like stables, barns, and horse arenas. They also boast luxurious amenities such as resort-style pools, home theaters, private gyms, chef’s kitchens, and guest houses. Several restored homes date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, which adds both charm and historic significance to the property. Luxury houses in the area can have up to 10 rooms and seven bathrooms, and typically measure over 7,000 square feet.
Of course, this is just an overview of the available realty in Ojai. Contact a trusted agent who can provide more information and who can assist with your property search.
Ojai is a city that’s full of interesting dichotomies. It’s an affluent city that has a rural, village-like feel. It’s fairly small yet bursting with personality. It’s secluded but sought after by famous individuals.
For all these colorful contradictions, there’s one indisputable fact: Ojai is one of California’s top realty markets. Take a look at the various reasons why this city should be part of your home search:
Ojai’s cost index may be 64% higher than the national average, but it’s one of California’s more affordable premier neighborhoods. For instance, information from AreaVibes.com shows that Beverly Hills is 63% more expensive to live in despite being just a 90-minute drive away. Moreover, Ojai offers something priceless that nearby markets simply cannot offer: proximity to pristine nature. It’s also worth noting that the median household income in Ojai is about $70,000, which helps offset the higher living costs. While housing prices are steep, people will be glad to know that essentials like groceries, services, healthcare, transportation, and utilities are cheaper than the state average.Job opportunities
According to BestPlaces.net, Ojai’s job market is projected to grow by 27.7% over the next 10 years. The tourism industry figures prominently in Ojai, as the area attracts many leisure seekers. The city can also be considered a “bedroom community,” as most residents work in nearby cities and come home to Ojai at the end of the day. That said, both Santa Barbara and Los Angeles offer plenty of job opportunities in the entertainment, technology, startup, hospitality, and education sectors. Chain stores are prohibited in Ojai, so the city is a conducive environment for small businesses should you decide to open one.Weather
The great weather in Ojai allows you to explore its many wonders practically year-round. This area gets about 269 sunny days a year and receives just 19 inches of rain annually. BestPlaces.net gives Ojai an 8.9/10 on its Comfort Index for its balmy weather. The warm season runs from June to September, with average highs of 84°F. Meanwhile, the cool season starts in November and ends in March, with temperatures rarely falling below 41°F. Tourists often flock to the area in June, July, and May, when the weather is at its finest.Schools
Public schools in Ojai are administered by the Ojai Unified School District (OUSD). Thanks to student diversity, top-notch teachers, college preparedness, OUSD placed sixth in Niche.com’s ranking of Ventura County’s best school districts. Schools provide a holistic curriculum, which places equal emphasis on academics, athletics, and the arts. The school district also implements education innovation programs such as the 1:1 Device Initiative, in which all middle school students receive a Chromebook laptop that they can use for their studies. Inclusiveness is also crucial, which is why schools offer adult continuing education, distance learning support, computer literacy training, and special education services.