Special Report

This Is the Best Place to Buy a Vacation Home

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a migration from large cities on America’s coasts to places inland. One reason is the cost of real estate in places like New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose. Another is that more people can work from home. Many companies now allow for either hybrid work systems, under which people can split their time between home and office, or systems under which people do not have to come to the office at all.

Some people are not looking to fully move, but are looking for a second, vacation, home where they can spend some or all of their time. Real estate rental company Vacasa has just issued its fourth Top 25 Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home report, finding that based on the rate of return on investment, the best place to buy a vacation home is Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Vacasa’s 2021 Vacation Rental Buyer Report also found that nearly 70% of second-home buyers made their first purchase this year, and many of these homes will be used as rental properties. Over a third of the buyers want to spend under $399,000, which is more than the median price for all homes nationwide. Guest demand for rentals has also surged. Here are the most expensive countries to rent a one-bedroom apartment.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which is near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and southeast of Knoxville, is the city with the best return on investment for second homes. The city with the second best return is St. Augustine, Florida, which is the oldest city in the country, founded in 1565. It is along the east coast of Florida, south of Jacksonville and north of Palm Coast.

Third on the list is Gulf Shore, Alabama, which is southwest of Mobile. It is followed by Dauphin Island, Alabama, which is very close by, and then Norris Lake, Tennessee, which is east of Nashville, along the Kentucky border. Most places on this list tend to be near bodies of water or other points of interest. These were the most visited U.S. national parks in 2020.

These are the top 25 places to buy a vacation home and their median home prices