How do you find the best places to buy a vacation home? Some want a vacation home primarily for pleasure and relaxation, while others are more interested in a vacation home or second home as an investment.
Many of us want some of both – a great place to spend vacations with our families, while also renting it out when we aren’t using it, and looking for it to appreciate in value over time.
Like any real estate purchase, to meet these goals, selecting the right location is vital. Finding places that are likely good investments, while also being great to spend time on vacation is what NeighborhoodScout’s proprietary Vacation Home Search algorithm seeks to achieve for our customers.
NeighborhoodScout’s PhD scientists evaluated data for over 70,000 neighborhoods in America to find what makes some second home locations more attractive as investments, as well as more attractive and fun to spend time on vacation. Some of the key elements may surprise you.
The reason some of the elements may surprise you is because part of what drives locations to exhibit the values we want in a vacation home location are not things that people normally look for when checking off a list of what they desire in a vacation spot. To be poised to maintain value or increase in value over time, to reflect the quality of the community for more than a place to visit one week per year as a renter, but to actually own property in the location, we took a deep dive into the data. We use our findings to make it easy and fast to find the top spots, whether your tastes run to palm-studded beaches, lakefront living, mountain retreats, bold, rocky coasts, or a quiet place in the woods.
What did we find? The top vacation home locations have a unique combination of safety from crime, college educated residents, excellent public schools, and an enviable mix of seasonally rented properties and owner-occupied homes – not too much of one or the other - all indicators of a top quality neighborhood where real estate investments are more secure and vacation attractiveness can be found in abundance. These select elements are carefully combined in our special proprietary Vacation Home Search Algorithm. You can then select price range, location, setting, character, and so much more to customize the search to your personal vacation or investment desires.
While you were away…
Criminal activity is important to consider in any neighborhood, whether it is your permanent residence, or your vacation home. For vacation homes especially, low neighborhood crime rates mean that you do not have to worry about mischievous behaviors, vandalism, or other incidents that could potentially damage your property or its value while you are not vacationing. Safety from crime also indicates the quality of the location, and helps to maintain property values.
The brainiacs next door
Another gauge for a great vacation locale is the high proportion of adults with college degrees. Areas that boast educated neighbors reveal lower crime rates, higher income per capita, and higher home values.
School quality matters
Unless you’re vacationing in your backyard, your kids are not attending the schools near your vacation home. Still, the quality of the local public school system will add or detract from your vacation home investment. It may only be a second home for you, but to a future buyer it may be a permanent, year-round residence. Excellent public schools are a crucial component of our Vacation Home Locations search.
The right mix of rental & owner-occupied
The last ingredient in our formula for excellent vacation home locations is the perfect proportion of rental and owner-occupied homes. This indicates that vacation rental properties in the area are in demand, giving you the opportunity to turn your second home into an income property when you’re not vacationing, and for top dollar. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to pay an entire year’s mortgage in just a couple summer months?
Use NeighborhoodScout’s Vacation Home Locations search tool to combine a sound investment with a recreational home.