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25 Hottest Markets for Second Homes

24/7 Wall St. Logo By Sam Stebbins of 24/7 Wall St. | Slide 1 of 26: Beach houses along coast.

Conventional wisdom suggests that a second home, one where owners may spend weekends or entire seasons, is prohibitively expensive for the majority of Americans.

However, a report published by Trulia, an online real estate database, suggests that this is often not the case. This year, the second home markets growing fastest in popularity are in lesser-known, mostly inexpensive areas.

In order to determine the hottest markets for second homes, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed “Where the Nation Vacations,” Trulia’s report on where Americans are purchasing, or planning to purchase, a vacation home.

The hottest markets were in areas with a high share of seasonal or second homes that also had the greatest year over year increase in Trulia database searches from other parts of the country.

The median home value in Nantucket, Massachusetts, is over $880,000. In East Hampton, New York, the typical home is worth at least a million dollars. While these areas are iconic destinations, for a majority of people looking to buy a second home, they are prohibitively expensive.

In stark contrast, the cost of a typical home in 23 of the 25 hottest markets falls below half a million dollars. In nine of the same communities, the cost is actually less than the national median home value of $173,900.

In addition to being inexpensive, many of the most popular markets for second homes are not in especially well known areas.

While typical vacation destinations, including four communities in Florida and two in North Carolina, make the list, there are just as non-traditional locations. Among the areas identified in the Trulia report are four communities in Southern Kentucky and three in Idaho.

Despite the relative obscurity of some markets for second homes, each of the 25 zip codes on the list have obvious attractions -- either for those seeking a regular weekend getaway, or those relocating for an entire season.

Some areas, like Saint George Island, Florida, and Sunset Beach, North Carolina, are coastal communities that offer beaches and warmer climates for those escaping cold winters. Other areas, like Dagsboro, Delaware, offer relatively easy access to destinations like Cape May, New Jersey, at a fraction of the housing cost.

An outsized share of the most popular areas for second homes are in relatively remote areas. Such places, like Obsidian, Idaho, and Jamestown, Kentucky, feature easy access to protected park lands, forests, mountain ranges, or rivers and lakes.

To identify the hottest markets in the country for second homes, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Trulia’s report, “Where the Nation Vacations.” To be considered, at least 5% of homes had to be vacant for a majority of the year. Only zip codes with over 3,000 housing units were considered. Areas were ranked based on increases in the number of seasonally vacant properties between five year estimates from 2011 to 2014 from the U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS) and on year over year increases in property searches within the Trulia database from different metro areas only.

Click through the slideshow to see the 25 hottest markets for second homes.

© Brad Sloan/Getty Images
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