Formerly a city with an economy centered on the production of oil and then on the production of citrus, this small city of around 12 square miles and about 40,000 people is now an important retail center for the surrounding region. This is largely due to the recently redeveloped downtown area as well as the massive Brea Mall. The mall, which hosts four major department stores as well as a food court and 175 boutiques and shops, employs a large number of local citizens. With regard to education, Brea is home to the Southern California College of Business and Law, and has a public grade school district made up of several award-winning campuses for the kids to attend. This is part of the reason why in 2006, Brea was named one of the top five best suburbs in the western United States.

Related: Brea real estate data & listings

If you're looking to purchase a new home in Orange County, but are hoping to do so on a slightly lower price tag than many of the half-million dollar residences in the area, then the city of Brea, California might just be the right fit for you. Whether you're seeking a place for just yourself to branch out in your professional life or a place to plant your roots for some time, it's likely that Brea and the surrounding region has you covered.

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