I divide the year into two parts – the weeks I’m relaxing on one of the “30A” beaches along Florida’s northern Gulf coast, and the weeks when I’m dreaming about relaxing on a 30A beach. The 30A coast is a favorite of Atlantans like my wife and I who flock to Rosemary, Watercolor or Seagrove for the gorgeous beaches, calm waters and slow pace. We visit so often that we know exactly how long it will take us door-to-door, factoring in which kid drank how much juice.
At some point on every trip, we discuss whether we should buy a place instead of coughing up hefty rental fees a couple of times a year. Not long ago, I actually did some looking with an eye towards finding a bargain. Too late. The recovery was in full swing and all the foreclosures prompted by the 2008 meltdown had been snapped up by wealthy individuals, investment groups and even a few hedge funds.
Given that experience, I was intrigued when Yahoo Travel came out with a list of 10 beach towns where foreclosure bargains can still be found. There are some great locations here, including my favorite place on Earth. Even if you’re just maybe, sorta in the market for a beach house, this is great food for thought – or daydreams.
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL. – Small town vibe, moderate temperatures and great wildlife watching. The average home is selling for $93,188 with a three-bedroom place currently on the market for $95,100.
Corpus Christi, TX – A very popular tourist destination that combines a vibrant arts and entertainment scene with everything you could want from the ocean, including great scuba diving areas and seabird watching. Homes in CC are selling for an average $79,000.
Naples-Marco Island – One of those gorgeous “playground of the rich” places. It’s great for adults, not so much for kids. The area is a retirees’ paradise with white sand beaches, high-end shopping and lots of natural wonders to see, including the Everglades. The average house is selling for $156,000.
Santa Barbara, CA – My favorite place on Earth. My wife and I went there for our 10th anniversary and we fell in love with the magnificent views of the deep blue Pacific Ocean. We actually spent some time looking for houses on that trip. Even at a discount, it ain’t cheap. Average home sale price: $274,000. Ah, well…maybe one day.
Charleston, SC – Amazing food, historic atmosphere and scenery, plus great golf courses on nearby Kiawah and elsewhere. What’s not to like? Again, magic isn’t cheap. The average home is still selling for about $160,000.
Hilton Head, SC – A fantastic resort destination for families. Twelve miles of beach and all sorts of water and recreation activities from biking to golf and tennis. Houses there are currently a bargain, (for the right person/bank account) at about $202,000.
Atlantic City, NJ – Ummm… Look, all I know about Atlantic City I learned on spring break in high school. It’s not my cup of tea these days. But if you like to gamble and/or have roots in the Mid-Atlantic, I get it. There’s clearly a market for AC. Houses average $162,000.
Honolulu, HI – Not sure this qualifies as a bargain for most of us. While home prices are down 31%, they still average $346,00. And, of course, you gotta get yourself out there (no weekend getaways to this place) and pay the exorbitant Hawaiian prices for, well, everything – food, gas, entertainment.
Barnstable, MA – I think Northern beaches are too often overlooked as destinations by my fellow Southerners. I’ve always enjoyed the cooler temperatures and change of shoreline scenery. Barnstable is pretty swank, which is why even after a 30% tumble, prices still average $237,000.
Santa Cruz – A classic NoCal beachside town, Santa Cruz has it all – surfing, hiking, stunning views, cute restaurants, and cool summer temperatures. All you need to know on price is that Santa Cruz is lies between San Francisco and Monterrey. But again, deals are in the eye of the beholder. Prices have dropped 28% to an average $356,000.