A second home is a luxury that most Americans will never experience. However, for those fortunate few that have extra money to spend, now might be the best time to purchase a place to retreat for the summer months. The collapse of the housing market made way for some serious bargains in the country's most popular area codes. Here are some of the best places in the U.S. to buy a vacation home.
Los Angeles, Calif.
In 2006, CBNC reported that the median home price in L.A. was $521,000. However, today even million dollar homes are selling in the $300,000s. While there are good deals to be had, expect to pay a premium in exclusive neighborhoods like Hollywood Hills, Brentwood and Bel Air. The L.A. area isn't a hard sell, with its beaches, big city entertainment and the glitz and glamour of the Hollywood scene.
One great example is Santa Monica. The beachfront city is known for its excellent dining, shopping, cultural activities and attractions. Tourism continues to increase in the city (up 13% in 2009 since 2006), so those wishing to rent out their vacation homes will have no trouble doing so. In 2012, the median sale price for a home in Santa Monica was $815,000, a slight increase from the prior year.
West Palm Beach, Fla.
The Sunshine State is nearly synonymous with the word "vacation," so it is no surprise that one of its cities ranks high as a place to call your second home. With a population of just under 100,000, the city has a desirable blend of small town charm and big city conveniences. Currently, properties here are being sold at an average of over $90,000, which is well below the average list price of about $150,000. Even in the winter months, the average temperature stays in the high 70s, which makes it easy for residents to enjoy the city's waterfront walkways and popular outdoor sports, such as golf, tennis and equestrian polo. There are also plenty of options when it comes to shopping, fine dining, nightlife and cultural activities. The nearby Florida Everglades offers a unique opportunity to get close to wildlife and other natural attractions.
The capital and largest city in Arizona is home to more than a million residents. , but seems to be rebounding with the median sales price for homes up 26%. The median home price in the upscale Scottsdale, Ariz. neighborhood is about $310,000. Outdoorsy types will be in heaven as Phoenix is renowned for its golf courses and opportunities for adventures such as rock climbing, hot air ball
Nim, The answer to your inquiry depends on what your goals are: Do you want a specific type of personal vacation spot for longtime use or a good vacation-property to operate as a rental investment? What do you find enjoyable--high-stimulus activities or low-stimulus relaxation?...water activities or scenic mountain vistas...warm climate escapes from the cold of NY state or somewhere where with plenty of snow for skiing? Do you want to buy low in a non-prime but appealing area with potential to increase in value as it becomes more populated and/or commercialized, or do you want more of a ready-made resort with plenty going on? Your answers to questions like these can help agents and consumers to offer you some vacation property options for consideration.