Best Places on the East Coast for Buying a Vacation Home without Going Broke

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Are you looking for a new “home away from home” on the East Coast? Perhaps a secluded coastal cottage in a laid-back town or a luxurious beach condo in a vibrant city by the sea? If so, take a look at these awesome East Coast vacation home locales. From the rocky shores of New England to the coastal plains of Virginia to the diversity of South Florida, one of these destinations could be your perfect match!

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Father and son surf fishing

Named one of Coastal Living’s top “Dream Towns,” the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire is a breath of fresh air compared to the congested and touristy beach towns. Here, you’ll find a lot of historic charm, friendly locals and plenty of fun things to do – even in the off season. The only real downside to life in this coastal town is that beach-friendly weather can be pretty restricted, as cold temps tend to hang around into the spring and are quick to return in the fall. Fortunately, there are tons of great attractions that are off the beach path. Check out the local theatres, art galleries, shops and restaurants to get a real feel for the local vibe. And while you’re at it, be sure to check out the town’s Green Card program, where you can receive special discounts for spending in a number of local establishments.

Want to make Portsmouth, NH your home-away-from-home? Here’s a look at the local real estate market, courtesy of

Average listing price: $491,782
Median sales price: $322,300


Buckroe Beach, Hampton, Virginia

Surfer girl carrying board in her head.

Situated north of Fort Monroe on the Chesapeake Bay, Buckroe Beach is a popular coastal destination for beach-goers of all ages. If you’re looking for a great place to find an affordable second home for your family, don’t let this fun and friendly East Coast town slip under your radar. Widely known as a family-oriented beach town, Buckroe Beach offers fun for the young and old alike. Enjoy lounging on the clean, sandy shore to taking a pedal boat into the calm waters to planning a family picnic in a beautiful park-like setting, Buckroe Beach is a great place to visit and an even better place to live.

In addition to offering plenty of fun activities, Buckroe Beach also has an interesting history. Originally the site of a tobacco plantation in the early settler days, Buckroe Beach became a thriving fishing town before the Civil War. After WWII, the place became a popular destination for vacationers.

Check out some cool historic photographs that journal the town’s progress.

If you’re thinking about investing in real estate in Buckroe Beach, here’s a look at some of the area’s market stats:

Average listing price: $194,338
Median sales price: $127,677


Delray Beach, Florida

Relaxing on beach at dusk.

For those in the market for a vacation home in a vibrant, exciting locale, Delray Beach, FL offers plenty of stimulation – not to mention a beautiful beach. From high-end shopping to fine dining to lively entertainment, Delray isn’t your ordinary small beach town. Delray is known for its diverse culture, posh hang outs and happening nighlife, making it a popular place for the younger crowd as well as artists and musicians. In addition to the numerous galleries, shops and cultural festivals, Delary also offers 2 miles of public beach access, which attracts numerous tourists each year. While the tourism may make for heavier traffic and busier attractions in the peak months, Delray Beach is known as a “sociable city,” which identifies the town’s overall openness towards visitors.

If you’re looking for a beach community that’s more tucked away, Delray may not be the choice for you; however, if you’re looking for an exciting place that always has something going on, then Delray Beach is definitely worth considering. But don’t just take our word for it. Delray Beach was awarded “Best of the Road – Most Fun Small Town in America” by Rand McNally & USA Today.

Want to know how much homes typically go for in Delray Beach? You may be surprised to find out just how affordable homes in the area are. Take a look:

Average listing price: $578,844
Median sales price: $110,000

Please note that the real estate figures in this post are subject to change. Contact a licensed real estate agent in the area for the most up-to-date sales figures.


Financing Vacation Homes

If you’re interest in purchasing a vacation home there are two types of financing you may need to consider.  If you hope to rent the property out when you’re not there, you’ll likely need an investment property loan. If you’re not going to rent out the property, you can buy it as a second home. What’s the difference? Brian Mitchell of Gateway Bank Mortgage explained that “investment properties require a more substantial down payment, often 25% or greater, and rates are typically higher.”

Still, with today’s historically low rate environment and affordable housing prices, now might be the perfect time to consider purchasing a second home. When you speak with your mortgage professional be sure to ask about how many days a year you may be able to rent a home before it would be classified as an investment property.

Have fun at the beach this summer!

Steph Meyer is a contributor to the Blog and keeps us up to date on interesting happenings within the world of home financing and real estate. She’s got a quick wit and keen eye on making smart financial decisions. My Google Profile+

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