Do you dream of owning a vacation home for you and your loved ones to enjoy? And perhaps even earn some additional income by renting it out when you’re not there? Lucky for you, the U.S. is home to dozens of often-overlooked affordable vacation spots. It’s all about location, location, location, as it’s said so often in real estate, and there are many vacation spots that combine good location with affordability.
GOBankingRates conducted a study identifying the best places to buy a vacation home for under $200,000 based on AirDNA’s 2018 vacation rental report, which includes gross rental profit for one year, and home and rent prices from Zillow. From that study’s list of 20 cities, five were singled out as offering both the most underrated, beautiful and affordable cities.
Corpus Christi, Texas
Median home value: $148,500
Median rent: $1,364
One-year gross profit from renting: $31,552
Corpus Christi has a variety of outlets that vacationers will love. According to TurnKey Vacation Rentals, the downtown area has plenty of entertainment and nightlife. Northwest Corpus Christi is ideal for birdwatchers, and south Corpus Christi has access to beautiful flower gardens and beaches.
Corpus Christi has several beaches to choose from, as well as scenic offshore islands like Mustang Island and Padre Island. And the white sands of Whitecap Beach south of the city offer a relaxing setting.
Daytona Beach, Florida
Median home value: $142,000
Median rent: $1,200
One-year gross profit from renting: $29,493
You can find affordable vacation homes even on Florida’s Atlantic coast. Daytona Beach is a city on the northern half of Florida’s Atlantic coast, south of Jacksonville and northeast of Orlando. It’s perhaps best known for the Daytona International Speedway, where every February the Daytona 500 NASCAR race is held.
The city offers 23 miles of white sandy beaches, as well as the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier. Besides amusement rides and arcades, the boardwalk also features the Daytona Beach Bandshell that stages free summer concerts and other events.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Median home value: $184,800
Median rent: $1,226
One-year gross profit from renting: $44,384
There are plenty of beaches in Florida to go ’round, and Fort Walton Beach on the Gulf Coast is a great one. According to TripAdvisor, the town is home to two public golf courses, The Oaks and The Pines, as well as a championship course at Regatta Bay. Sport or boat fishing is excellent as the Gulf offers big-game fishing.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Median home value: $147,400
Median rent: $1,107
One-year gross profit from renting: $27,116
Myrtle Beach is a vacation city on South Carolina’s Atlantic coast, situated on the Grand Strand, a 60-mile string of beaches. The Grand Strand offers plenty to do, as does the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk. Residents can enjoy the arcades and restaurants, as well as the old-fashioned Family Kingdom amusement park and the SkyWheel, one of the country’s tallest Ferris wheels.
Median home value: $158,400
Median rent: $1,200
One-year gross profit from renting: $29,443
OK, so Detroit might not be top of mind when you think of “beautiful cities,” but hear us out. Detroit offers great affordability as well as unique features thanks to its location between Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. The Detroit River, which connects the two, features an active riverfront that has been developed and expanded by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. And many of Detroit’s former industrial parts have been redesigned into beautiful lofts.
What’s great about these five cities is that their gross profits are among the highest out of the study’s top 20 cities. Fort Walton Beach is No. 1, Corpus Christi is No. 3, Daytona Beach is No. 4, Detroit is No. 5 and Myrtle Beach is No. 7 in terms of the highest gross profit.
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