If you’re in the market for a vacation home, be realistic about how much spare time you have to spend at your home away from home. The average American gets an average of three to six weeks of vacation time annually. Is that enough time to enjoy your vacation spot? Ideally, you’ll love your prospective area enough for a long-term investment.
Even though you may be more focused on the area attractions, beaches and sunshine, you have to be realistic about the not-so-attractive aspects of vacation home ownership. These include insurance, repairs, upgrade costs and maintenance expenses. Consider who will look after your property in your absence and whether you’ll need to hire a maintenance company. And last, but certainly not least, crunch the numbers to understand how the costs associated with your vacation home impact your monthly budget.
Here is a list of the top destinations for vacation home hunters:
Most Affordable City
City: Titusville, FL
Median Home Sales Price: $90,000
Titusville is a lesser-known vacation home destination next door to the Kennedy Space Center. This popular destination for boating, surfing, fishing and swimming sits on Canaveral National Seashore. You can even go manatee-watching at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge or watch the annual sea turtle nesting. In 2014, the city topped CBS News’ list for best cheap beach towns and it continues to be one of the most affordable U.S. cities to buy a vacation home.
Most Underrated City
City: Kingsland, Ga.
Median Home Sales Price: $143,000
Kingsland is a coastal town just three miles from the Florida state line. Oprah Winfrey named this small town “Lovetown, USA” for her 2012 reality television show. It’s an affordable place to buy vacation property and is a popular destination for fishing, kayaking and swamp boat tours in Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. As a resident, you’ll enjoy more than 17 miles of secluded white sandy beaches and historic ruins. The historic city is one of the country’s best-kept vacation secrets.
Best City for Singles
Median Home Sales Price: $216,000
Looking for an exciting city for a vacation property? Austin is consistently named a top U.S. city for singles and most recently made Forbes list for top singles’ vacation spots. The fast-growing college town gets 300 days of sunshine every year. The city boasts the nickname “the Live Music Capitol of the World” with 200 live music venues. The city is full of cocktail bars, swimming and sports hotspots, and tattoo parlors. One more thing worth noting, if you’re thinking of buying a home in Austin, it’s a prerequisite to love barbeque!
Best City for Families
City: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Median Home Sales Price: $315,000
Buying a vacation home in Myrtle Beach means fun for everyone in your entire family. This beach town gets 14 million tourists a year and is home to many family attractions. The city’s popular attractions include a sculpture garden, zoo and the world-famous Myrtle Beach Boardwalk. The sandy destination is also home to the Ripley’s Aquarium, Legends in Concert and the Carolina Opry.
Best City for Golfing
City: Phoenix, AZ
Median Home Sales Price: $188,000
Golf is probably the biggest tourist attraction in the capital of Arizona. Buying a vacation home in Phoenix means you’ll be in close proximity to more than 200 golf courses! Even as a homeowner, you may still feel a bit like a tourist in the transient city home to 40 resorts and 500 hotels. Phoenix has one of the hottest housing markets in the country. It’s also home to a variety of golf courses including the Raven Golf Club, which is a premier desert course as well as two PGA championship courses in the heart of the city.
Best City to Live by Water
City: Port Salerno, FL
Median Home Sales Price: $69,000
Port Salerno is a small but premier boating destination and is none for hosting some of the nation’s top fishing tournaments. The city is known for its strong home values, picturesque beaches and the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. As a resident, you’ll enjoy the city year-round, thanks to St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park and area ski resorts.
Best City for Outdoor Adventures
City: Thousand Palms, CA
Median Home Sales Price: $100,000
Most of you probably haven’t heard of the small desert town of Thousand Palms but it’s a big destination for adventure! The area boasts the Coachella Valley Preserve and the Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve, perfect for hiking, wildlife exploration and horseback riding. Homes are inexpensive in the town that also features a sports park, the El Paseo Shopping District and the nearby Bermuda Dunes.
I hope you find the perfect vacation home that suits you and your family’s lifestyle. Planning for long-term enjoyment is a smart move that will accommodate a growing family, or provide a range of recreational opportunities to accommodate your evolving interests over the years. Happy vacation home hunting!
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