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Dan Dent
Dent Communications
(508) 353-4755

NeighborhoodScout Announces its 2004 Top Towns to Buy a Vacation Home

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (June 30, 2004) - Buying a vacation home at a great price with long-term investment value just got easier, thanks to NeighborhoodScout.com. The web site, which helps homebuyers find their ideal location anywhere in U.S., just announced its 2004 top towns to buy a vacation home.

Dr. Andrew Schiller, a PhD geographer and president of Location Inc, studied 23,000 coastal and Rocky Mountain locations to find the emerging hot spots for vacation homes for his second annual survey. He found a set of 30 towns that are ideal - ten on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, ten on the Pacific Coast, and ten in the Rocky Mountains.

"People often want to buy a vacation home, but finding a top-quality area that's still affordable, yet promises to be a good investment years from now, can take tremendous effort," said Dr. Schiller.

Dr. Schiller uncovered top towns for a vacation home by using NeighborhoodScout®, a web-based neighborhood search engine he developed that covers all 61,000 neighborhoods in the U.S. Homebuyers can access the search engine at www.NeighborhoodScout.com. Some features are reserved for subscribers.

In compiling his list, Dr. Schiller searched for towns with characteristics important to many vacation-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 in attractive coastal or mountain settings - all indicators of a top quality community where real estate investments are more secure.

Why should second-home buyers be concerned with school quality? "It makes a lot of sense to invest in a community that is willing to invest in quality schools, because that will help to support property values," Schiller said.

"Our top towns for vacation homes are more than just the hot spots or the quaint locales," says Dr. Schiller. "These are the hidden gems. They are towns that combine beautiful settings with affordability and community attributes that, historically, translate into long-term investment value for homeowners."

While many people buy vacation homes and second homes for comfort and enjoyment, return on investment is becoming more important. A study by the National Association of Realtors found that one out of three homebuyers purchased a second home in 2002 primarily as an investment, a jump from one out of five in 1999.

"With a vacation home, you are investing in a location as well as purchasing a family retreat, so it is important to learn all you can about an area before you buy," says Dr. Schiller. "NeighborhoodScout helps you do just that, by giving you a way to optimize your findings based on your specific needs and price range, anywhere in the U.S., and then see communities described in reliable and objective detail to help you make smart decisions in less time."

Here are the top towns to buy a vacation home for 2004 (north to south):

Atlantic and Gulf Coasts Pacific Coast Rocky Mountains
Bristol, ME
Narragansett, RI
Clinton, CT
Somers Point, NJ
Leonardtown, MD
Bluffton, SC
Englewood, FL
Cape Coral, FL
Daphne, AL
Ocean Springs, MS
Juneau, AK
Oak Harbor, WA
Gold Beach, OR
Ferndale, CA
Gualala, CA
Los Osos, CA
Aliso Viejo, CA
Cambria, CA
Kaunakakai, HI
Captain Cook, HI
Philipsburg, MT
McLeod, MT
Craigmont, ID
Wallace, ID
Ten Sleep, WY
Saratoga, WY
Hanksville, UT
Woodland Park, CO
Bailey, CO
Pena Blanca, NM

For details about last year's survey, visit "NeighborhoodScout in the News" at www.NeighborhoodScout.com and click on "NeighborhoodScout's Best Towns to Buy a Second Home."

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

"Educated neighbors" means people 25 and up with college degrees or graduate degrees. "Excellent public schools" means combined measures of spending per student on core instruction, combined with student-to-teacher ratios (smaller classes and more personal attention to students), and graduation rates. "Crime" is all FBI crime index scores - both violent and property - as a rate per 1,000 population for the community. "Mixed owners and renters" means the neighborhood is composed of a balanced mix of owner-occupied homes and rental properties. "Peace and quiet" means less crowded.

Data for this study were derived from the FBI, the U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the National Center for Education Statistics, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, and the U.S. Geological Survey, and queried directly with NeighborhoodScout.com.

About Location Inc

Location Inc is a Rhode Island-based company born of university research, specializing in nationwide relocation software, retail site selection, and real estate investment advising.

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