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Andrew Schiller, PhD
Location Inc
(508) 753-8029

NeighborhoodScout Announces its 2006 Top Towns to Buy a Vacation Home

WOONSOCKET, RI (February 23, 2006) - Buying a vacation home at a great price with long-term investment value just got easier, thanks to NeighborhoodScout.com. The web-based neighborhood search engine, which allows homebuyers and movers to put in their personal criteria and discover their ideal neighborhoods whether they are moving across town or across the country, just announced its 2006 top towns to buy a vacation home, the third year that the company has released this annual list.

Dr. Andrew Schiller, a PhD geographer and the creator of NeighborhoodScout, studied 16,000 coastal locations in the U.S. to find the hidden gems for vacation homes for his third annual survey. He found a set of 40 towns that are ideal - twenty on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, and twenty on the Pacific Coast.

"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.

"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."

Dr. Schiller uncovered top towns for a vacation home by using NeighborhoodScout®, the web-based neighborhood search engine he developed that covers all 61,000 neighborhoods in the U.S. Readers can access NeighborhoodScout and do searches themselves at www.neighborhoodscout.com.

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 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.

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 three out of five homebuyers purchased a second home in 2005 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 discover the best communities for your personal needs to help you make smart decisions in less time."

Here are NeighborhoodScout's top hidden gem towns to buy a vacation home for 2006 (north to south):

Atlantic and Gulf Coasts Pacific Coast

Editor's Note

"Educated neighbors" means people 25 and over 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

NeighborhoodScout 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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