For many Americans, the ultimate summertime fantasy has less to do with washboard abs and a killer tan than owning their own piece of beachfront real estate — aka bliss. From Memorial Day through Labor Day (and beyond), beach lovers across the U.S. find themselves dreaming of escaping the hellish deadlines, soul-sucking commutes, and humdrum daily grind — and trading it all in for salty ocean breezes, caipirinhas on the sand, and fresh lobster rolls from a seafood joint around the corner.
Now just imagine doing it from your very own place.
There’s just one problem: Conventional wisdom suggests that only the seriously loaded can afford to own prime beach–area real estate. But we’re here to tell you that you don’t need seven-figure bank balances to make this sunny reverie into a reality. You just have to find the right beach town, one serving up a magical combo of home affordability and surfy satisfaction.
That’s where the sunburned data team at realtor.com® comes in. As we do every summer, we scoured the U.S.’s 95,471 miles of shoreline to locate the most affordable beach towns in the nation. What we discovered were a sometimes surprising selection of sun-and-sand options that are a lot more financially feasible than a “country cottage” in the Hamptons or Malibu, Calif.
And we never lose sight of a very important fact: A beach home is more than a dream, it’s an investment.
So, what’s the key to avoiding a financial belly-flop of a beach house?
“At the outset, you should have some exit strategy,” says James H. Boykin, author of “Investing in a Vacation Home for Pleasure and Profit.”
In other words, getting into a sweet place with plenty of peace and quiet might be easy. But if you buy in a place that’s not desirable to other beachgoers, you might have a hard time selling or renting it out.
To find America’s most affordable beach towns, our number-crunching ninjas located the country’s biggest metropolitan areas with the highest share of listings with keywords such as “beach,” “beachfront,” and “ocean.” (Metros include an area’s main city and its surrounding suburbs, exurbs, and urban areas.) Then we made sure these markets had lots of fun water-based activities, narrowing our list to the places that boast the highest percentage of things like rafting, kayaking, surfing, boating, and fishing on Yelp.com. We then ranked these metros based on their median prices for the 12-month period of May 2018 to April 2019.See the 10 cities HERE