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Here’s Where Americans Are Buying Vacation Homes — and Some Destinations Might Surprise You

Travel + Leisure logo Travel + Leisure 4/22/2021 Meena Thiruvengadam
a tree with a mountain in the background: Cindy Robinson/Getty Images © Provided by Travel + Leisure Cindy Robinson/Getty Images

Even on vacation, there's no place like home.

From January through March of this year, vacation home sales in the U.S. were up more than 46% from the same period a year earlier, according to an analysis of mortgage data by Realtor.com.

And the most popular destinations among buyers may surprise you.

Coming in at number one is Marion, North Carolina. Second-home sales were up nearly 22% in Marion, which sits at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just an hour-and-a-half-drive from Charlotte.

At approximately 35 miles away, Marion is a more affordable alternative than booming Asheville and comes complete with its own adorable Main Street. This is a place where remote cabins are popular and outdoor entertainment (including a lake, several golf courses, and a couple of water parks) is abundant.

Hudson, a charming town in New York's Catskills region, came in fifth on the list. With a median home price of $595,000, Hudson is more expensive than some of the other cities on the list, but it offers a unique benefit: It's a comfortable small town with Hudson River views just a two-hour drive from bustling Manhattan, one of the least affordable housing markets in the U.S. It's also linked to Manhattan by Amtrak and bus services.

a tree with a mountain in the background: Vacation home sales have been on the rise across the U.S. © Provided by Travel + Leisure Vacation home sales have been on the rise across the U.S.

Branson, Missouri — one of the most affordable lake towns in the U.S., according to Realtor.com — landed in eighth place, thanks in part to its ample space and 43,000-acre Table Rock Lake, a perfect spot for paddleboarding, kayaking, and boating. The median home price in Branson is approximately $256,200.

Overall, second-home purchases accounted for about 6% of all mortgages in the first three months of 2021, Realtor.com reported, noting that data doesn't include all-cash purchases.

Meena Thiruvengadam is a Travel + Leisure contributor who has visited 50 countries on six continents and 47 U.S. states. She loves historic plaques, wandering new streets and walking on beaches. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

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