Top 10 places in the U.S. to buy a vacation home based on the rate of ROI

Buying property is a significant investment and — some experts say — one of the best decisions you could make right now, especially if you plan to use the space to bring in some extra income.

Vacation rental management platform Vacasa released exclusively to CNBC Make It, its new ranking of the best places to buy a vacation home based on the capitalization rate also known as the rate of return on investment.

To determine the ranking, Vacasa did the following:

  • Analyzed home sales and vacation rental performance data from the last 12 months
  • Used actual performance data for the market as a whole, where available, to determine average gross rental income
  • Considered the averages of the following in each market: property taxes, utilities, HOA fees, insurance, and property management fees to calculate the average cap rate

It’s important to note that Vacasa suggests buyers check local regulations before buying a vacation home that they plan to use as a rental property because different places have their own rules about renting.

For the second year in a row, Lake Anna, Virginia ranked as the best place to buy a vacation home.

Adam Mustafa | Istock | Getty Images

No. 1 best place to buy a vacation home in 2023: Lake Anna, Virginia

Median annual rental revenue: $64,121

Median listing price: $405,500

Example cap rate: 10.32%

Lake Anna, Virginia, topped Vacasa’s list as the best place to buy a vacation home in the United States. In 2022, it also ranked as the no. 1 best place to buy a beach house.

Lake Anna is Virginia’s second-largest lake, with about 200 miles of shoreline. It is split into two sections: a public side with waterfront restaurants and a private side where no commercial operations are allowed.

The lake is also easily accessible to those in the Fredericksburg, Richmond, Charlottesville, Northern Virginia, and Washington, D.C., areas.

Homes on the lake stretch across three counties with plenty of waterfront options that offer a cap rate of 10.32% for homeowners, according to Vacasa.

Okaloosa Island is just six miles from the popular vacation destination, Destin, Florida.

Mike Whalen / 500Px | 500Px | Getty Images

Top 10 best places in the U.S. to buy a vacation home 2023

  1. Lake Anna, Va.
  2. Okaloosa Island, Fla.
  3. Sandbridge, Va.
  4. Rehoboth Beach, Del.
  5. Navarre, Fla.
  6. Gulf Shores, Ala.
  7. Palm Coast, Fla.
  8. Corolla, N.C.
  9. Nags Head, N.C.
  10. Rockaway Beach, Ore.

Okaloosa Island in Florida is the second best place to buy a vacation home.

Just six miles from the famous Florida vacation destination, Destin, Okaloosa Island offers an average annual rental revenue of $53,832, a cap rate of 9.08%, and the median home price is $360,000, according to Vacasa’s report.

Okaloosa Island is a part of Santa Rosa Island, which is also home to communities like Pensacola Beach and Navarre Beach.

SANDBRIDGE, VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES – 2015/07/15: Colorful condominiums at Sandbridge Beach. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

John Greim | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Sandbridge, Virginia rounds out the top three.

It is a coastal community of Virginia Beach, just 25 miles south, and is considered part of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, according to Southern Living.

The secluded beach hideaway offers an average annual rental revenue of $88,702, a median home price of $928,900, and a cap rate of 6.47%, according to Vacasa.

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