If you’re in the market for a vacation home, where is the best place to buy?
First, consider your goals. Is this property strictly for investment purposes, or will your family also enjoy staying there regularly? How far away are you willing to buy? Who is your target market? Do you want a nightly, weekly or monthly rental, or do you prefer longer-term tenants? Do you want beachfront property? How important are nearby attractions like skiing, golf, fishing to you?
When considering a vacation home rental, look for a popular vacation spot, with high demand, numerous nearby amenities, good rental rates and a strong return on investment (ROI).
To get you started, here’s a list of our top ten cities to invest in vacation home rentals, based on Zillow's most recent research on the best places to buy a vacation property.
Median home value: $120,600
Median monthly rent: $1,150
Minutes from Disney World and Universal Studios, Kissimmee is a hot market for vacation rentals. Orlando-Kissimmee is a popular destination year-round, making it a great place for a first-time investor. Short term rental are common. Many condo buildings offer onsite property management, weekly rental bookings and cleaning services, making it a great investment for long-distance landlords. Weekly rental rates vary anywhere from $500 to $2000 and more, depending on location and amenities.
Port Salerno, Florida
Median home value: $136,000
Median monthly rent: $1,472
Port Salerno caters to both golfers and beach lovers. Properties on the coast offer gorgeous waterfront views. A vacation home here gives you easy access to miles of beautiful sand including the Hutchinson Island Beach and Jensen Beach. For those who love to golf, there are dozens of nearby courses.
Median home value: $128,200
Median monthly rent: $1,264
Rio is presently small but ideally situated near golf courses and beaches. Located on the St-Lucie river near the Atlantic Ocean, vacation properties here have an island feel. Rental homes are ideal weekly or monthly rentals for snowbirds and tourists.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Median home value: $362,400
Median monthly rent: not available
Definitely a higher cost of living area, Cape Cod is still a great place to own a vacation rental. Home prices are higher, but so are expected rents. During the summer, an oceanfront property can rent from $1,500 to $4,000 per week depending on its size.
Thousand Palms, California
Median home value: $158,600
Median monthly rent: $1,393
A 20 minute drive from Palm Springs, the city of Thousand Palms is small but affordable. Located in the Coachella Valley, tourists can explore the nearby mountains or desert. Area attractions include the Canyons of the San Andreas Fault, the Joshua Tree National Park and the Indian Canyons.
Haines City, Florida
Median home value: $110,700
Median monthly rent: $1,029
Centrally located in Florida, Haines City is a haven for golfers. It is also near Kissimmee and Orlando, so nearby attractions include LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, Disney World and Universal Studios. A vacation home in Haines City can easily rent for $1,000 per week during peak season.
Daytona Beach, Florida
Median home value: $94,400
Median monthly rent: $961
Daytona Beach is a popular destination for those looking to escape winter. Known as “the world’s most famous beach”, vacationers enjoy over 23 miles of sandy beaches. Fishing, boating, golf, strolling on the boardwalk – there is plenty to do in Daytona Beach. The nightlife attracts many tourists, as does the Daytona International Speedway. If you’re looking to buy a vacation rental in an exciting place, Daytona Beach is for you. Both weekly and monthly rentals book up fast. Expect to get your highest returns with weekly rentals during February and March, due to the Daytona 500 and the perennial flock of students during spring break.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Median home value: not available
Median monthly rent: $858
Myrtle Beach’s vacation rentals are popular year round thanks to its gorgeous beach and many golf courses. Beachfront condos are common, and get their highest rents during July and August. For example, a modern two-bedroom condo directly on the beach can easily rent for $1,500 weekly throughout the summer.
Median home value: $126,200
Median monthly rent: $1,000
Located in the heart of the Poconos, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania is a popular destination for skiers, hikers and ATV enthusiasts. Home values in this area took a heavy hit during the housing crash of 2007, but the local real estate market is finally starting to show signs of recovery. Peak season for vacation rentals is from December to March. An updated 3 bedroom chalet can easy rent for $2,000 weekly or more during peak seasons.
Median home value: $135,800
Median monthly rent: $900
Another popular haven for snowbirds, Tucson is a great location for vacation rentals. During the peak winter months, rates can range from $800 to $2,500 per week, given its warm winters and golf courses.