Another Top-10 List — Best Markets to Buy a Vacation Home Without Breaking the Bank in 2017

As 44 million Americans return from their 4th of July vacations, no doubt many wish they owned a vacation home where they had just visited.   Others are actively contemplating the purchase of a vacation home this year.

Vacation homebuyers made-up one-out-of-every eight home purchases in 2016 according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).   The purchaser summary from the 2017 NAR Investment & Vacation Home Buyer’s Survey is shown in the following table.  In 2015, vacation home buyers made up 16 percent of the market, or one-in-every six home sales.

7-5-17 table1

What are the typical destinations of vacation homebuyers?  NAR’s study found the following. Note that there are multiple-overlapping responses available.

7-5-17 table2

So where are the best summertime vacation home buyer markets in 2017, without necessarily breaking the bank?  To answer that, ATTOM Data Solutions (owner of RealtyTrac) examined vacation destination markets across the U.S. and came up with a ranking of the top 100.  Their ranking criteria included:

  • Good Air Quality
  • Comfortable Summertime Temperatures
  • Low Crime
  • Home Appreciation Rates
  • Reasonable Home Prices

While some  destination vacation home markets are expensive, many are not.  Based on ATTOM Data Solution’s Criteria, following are their top rankings for relatively affordable vacation home markets.  Note that all of the top-10 destinations were in four states:  Florida (five of the top-10), North Carolina (three of the top 10), and one each in Maryland and Tennessee.  Each of these markets have median home prices of less than $275,000.  Is this price too high?  Not necessarily as NAR found the median vacation home purchase price was $200,000 in 2016, up 4 percent from the $192,000 a year prior.  Within the top-10, the average five-year home price appreciation rate was 61.6 percent compared to all U.S. existing home median prices up 40.2 percent (May 2012 to May 2017).

7-5-17 table3

Within the Top 100 rankings, the following five vacation markets had median home prices greater than $500,000.

7-5-17 table4

To read the entire report and see the rankings of the 100 top vacation home markets for 2017 click

Are these all of the metrics needed to consider vacation home top-destinations? Not at all. Following are some of NAR’s study vacation home buyer metrics not included in this study:

  • Rental income – 29 percent of vacation home buyers rented or attempted to rent their property
  • Distance from the buyer’s primary dwelling – 21 percent of vacation home purchases were more than 1,000 miles distant from the buyer’s primary dwelling
  • Size of the home – median square footage was 1,460 square feet with 32 percent having less than 1,001 square feet
  • Motivation for purchase – 18 percent bought for future retirement and 10 percent for price appreciation

No doubt there are other factors such as access (airline service, highway access), property taxes and related holding costs.

Want to see what the available listings look like in these markets? Head to and type in your desired destination at  In the number-one ranked Crossville, Tennessee, there are 722 active single-family, townhouse and condo listings available to buy.

Happy vacation home shopping.



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