Lake Anna, Virginia Named No. 1 Place To Buy A Beach Home

Southern destinations nearly pulled off a clean sweep in Vacasa’s annual list.

You can’t put a price on quality rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, you can put a price on the vacation home where you might find said rest and relaxation. Luckily for Southerners, the best places to buy a beach home in the United States happens to be in the South.

Best Place to Buy a Beach Home
Courtesy of Vacasa.

Recently, Vacasa released its Best Places to Buy a Beach House 2023 list. Nine out of the 10 winners were located in the South, with Lake Anna, Virginia taking home the top spot. While Lake Anna isn’t technically on the coast, the second largest lake in Virginia does boast 17 miles of sparkling water and sandy beaches, so there’s plenty of opportunity for waterfront fun. The destination also ranked first on Vacasa’s 2022 list of the Top 25 Places to Buy a Vacation Home.

Lake Anna, Virginia home
A home on Lake Anna, Virginia.

Courtesy of Vacasa

To pick winners, Vacasa calculated the average capitalization rate, the rate of return on a real estate investment, for popular vacation rental destinations. According to the study, an average Lake Anna vacation home or condo costs around $385,000 and yields a cap rate of around 12.08%, resulting in around $69,723 in annual gross rental revenue. To calculate average cap rate, Vacasa considered average property tax utilities, homeowner association fees, insurance, and property management fees in each destination. To determine average gross rental income, the study used performance data from the market as a whole, as well as performance data specific to Vacasa properties.

If saltwater is essential to your definition of a beach vacation, don’t fret. The South’s eight other best places to buy a beach home all have ocean tides in abundance.  Hatteras Island, North Carolina took home the number two spot with a cap rate of 9.51%, followed by Navarre Beach, Florida at number three Palm Coast, Florida at four, and Surf City, North Carolina at five Last year’s winner for the best place to buy a beach home, Gulf Shores, Alabama, dropped down to the number six spot this year, with a cap rate of 5.55% compared to its 2022 rate of 10.2%. Other Southern destinations rounding out the list are Destin, Florida at number seven, North Topsail Beach, North Carolina at number eight, and the 30A beach towns of the Florida Gulf Coast at number 10.    

Gulf Shores, Alabama Beach Home
A beach home in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Courtesy of Vacasa

“The real estate market has changed significantly since we published this report last year. Interest rates are higher, mortgage applications have slowed and generally the market has cooled,” Daned Kirkham, senior director of real estate for Vacasa, said in a release. “The bidding wars keeping some second home buyers out of the market a year ago may be less of a headwind today, which can open up the right opportunity to purchase if buyers are comfortable with some level of increased costs to purchase.”

In other words, for those of you riding the fence about whether to buy a beach home, now may be the perfect time! These Southern destinations could be your one-way ticket to paradise.

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