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NeighborhoodScout’s Best Towns to Buy a Second Home

May 29, 2003 | by: The NeighborhoodScout Team | Media

Hidden gems on the coast and in the mountains offer great living, good prices and a sound investment


Paul Gallagher
Director of Marketing
Location, Inc.

WORCESTER, MA (May 29, 2003) – The summer vacation season is upon us, and these days many people not only go on vacation, but they shop for second homes that they can return to year after year. Whether on the coast or in the mountains, baby boomers and others are snatching up second homes in record numbers – often setting aside improvements to their primary residence in favor of putting their money into a new condo, cabin or house.

But finding a good deal in a hot housing market can be difficult unless you have a way to uncover the towns that are hidden gems. Andrew Schiller, president of Location Inc™, found a set of towns that are ideal – ten on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, ten on the Pacific Coast, and ten in the Rocky Mountains. “Top towns for a second home are towns that combine attractive coastal or mountain living with a quiet, less urban feel, safety from crime, and top community attributes, all with surprising affordability,” said Schiller.

Schiller, a PhD geographer and specialist in American demographics, studied America’s 61,000 census tracks, or neighborhoods, using data from the Census Bureau, Department of Education, Federal Housing Authority, and even the FBI. The result is one of the largest single neighborhood-matching databases anywhere.

“We call it NeighborhoodScout™, and it’s accessible over the Internet for free,” says Schiller. “You can describe your ideal neighborhood and find real neighborhoods that best match your personal criteria in any area of the country.”

Schiller uncovered top towns for a second home by using NeighborhoodScout to search the nation’s coastal areas and Rocky Mountains. He used criteria important to many second-home buyers: peace and quiet, safety from crime, educated neighbors, excellent public schools , affordability and an enviable mix of rental properties and owner-occupied homes – all indicators of a top quality community where real estate investments are more secure.

“People often want to buy a second home as a vacation spot, but finding a top-quality area that’s still affordable, yet promises to be a good investment years from now, can take tremendous effort. It’s like finding the secret local fishing spots,” said Schiller. “But using NeighborhoodScout, we uncovered hidden treasures in stunning coastal and mountain settings, each offering a superb combination of first-rate community attributes and affordability.”

Here are the top towns (north to south):

Atlantic and Gulf Coasts
Pacific Coast
Rocky Mountains
Bristol, ME
Saunderstown, RI
Clinton, CT
Absecon, NJ
Leonardtown, MD
Petersburg, AK
Clinton, WA
Gold Beach, OR
Mendocino, CA
Gualala, CA
Bigfork, MT
Mc Leod, MT
Gardiner, MT
Wallace, ID
Hailey, ID
Ten Sleep, WY
Saratoga, WY
Heber City, UT
Nederland, CO
Pena Blanca, NM
(South) (South)
Havelock, NC
Palm Coast, FL
Big Pine Key, FL
Daphne, AL
Refugio, TX
Castroville, CA
Cambria, CA
Los Osos, CA
Aliso Viejo, CA
Captain Cook, HI

Additional great towns for a second home are listed here.

The public can try NeighborhoodScout for free at www.NeighborhoodScout.com. Besides career-starters, NeighborhoodScout is useful for young families looking to buy their first home, career-changers, relocating workers and their families, retirees, or anyone looking to purchase a home or vacation home and wanting to save time and money. NeighborhoodScout is built on one of the largest neighborhood databases ever assembled, and uses a patent-pending algorithm that matches real neighborhoods to consumer-specified criteria in seconds.

Editor’s Note

Data for this study were derived from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Division of Current Employment, and the US Bureau of the Census. NeighborhoodScout’s database includes information from the FBI, the US Justice Department, the US Bureau of the Census, the National Center for Education Statistics, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, the U.S. Geological Survey, and other agencies.

About Location Inc

Location Inc is a Massachusetts-based company born of university research, specializing in nationwide relocation software, retail site selection, and real estate investment advising. Find your ideal neighborhood at www.NeighborhoodScout.com .