Home > Mortgages > The Best Places to Buy a Beach House

Comments 0 Comments

This time of year, it’s natural to dream about owning a beach home. Perhaps you’ve even stared longingly at listings taped to a real estate agent’s windows in your favorite beach town — and then walked away sad.

But if you are willing to try some overlooked, small towns, and travel a bit farther, there are still beach homes around the country that are … if not “affordable” … at least worth thinking about.

The folks at RealtyTrac crunched the numbers to find the best beach “bargains”, and they’ve come up with an intriguing list. It’s not purely about cost: the report also weighed factors like crime rates and days with good air quality. Only cities bordering the ocean with a population of 50,000 or fewer and with an average June-to-August temperature between 60 and 80 degrees were included.

From the resulting list of 1,400 cities, RealtyTrac came up with the top bargain beach town in all 15 states that met the criteria.

“Buying a second home or investment property in a beach town can help families save on summer vacations for years to come and also potentially generate vacation rental income,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at RealtyTrac, in a press release. “While real estate close to the ocean tends to be pricier, bargains are still available, particularly smaller towns off the beaten path where home prices have been slower to bounce back from the housing downturn.”

A few predictable names are on the list, like Palm Beach, Fla. (2016 median price $497,500. So, not exactly affordable) and Bethany Beach, Del. ($467,500. Same deal). But there’s a few surprises. Madison, Connecticut is between New York and Boston, making it not terribly convenient for residents of either city, and that helps keeps the 2016 median price down to $378,000. Crisfield, Md., is the southernmost town in Maryland, making it a tough ride from Washington D.C. — but the 2016 median price there is $50,559.

Of course, if things are really a bargain, there tends to be a reason. RealtyTrac’s top bargain for New Jersey is Keansburg, an oft-overlooked beach that’s even closer to NYC than popular the Sandy Hook area. But Keansburg was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy — as were many beach towns. So buying there comes with its own set of issues. Still, with a 2016 median price of $71,000, it’s another place worth thinking about.

Here’s the full of RealtyTrac’s top 15 beach bargain towns.

image (1)

Remember, whether you’re buying a beach house or primary residence, it’s a good idea to check your credit before applying for a mortgage. Good credit scores generally qualify for the best terms and conditions on a home loan, so you’ll want to see where you stand and whether you can do anything to improve your credit — like disputing errors on your credit report — ahead of the home-buying process. (You can view two of your credit scores, updated every 14 days, for free on Credit.com.)

[Offer: If you need help fixing errors on your credit report, Lexington Law could help you meet your goals. Learn more about them here or call them at (844) 346-3296 for a free consultation.]

More on Mortgages & Homebuying:

Image: Susan Chiang

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team