Real estate in general has long been a way for Americans to generate wealth. However, most Americans don’t venture outside of their primary residence when it comes to investing in real estate.
Owning a rental property in a hot market can generate both long-term capital gains and immediate cash flow. In many areas, rental income can far exceed the cost of the mortgage on the property. This means that you’ll essentially be paid to own a property as it appreciates in value. However, to reach this investment nirvana you’ll have to pick properties in hot areas that generate consistent rental income. Here’s a list of five areas that do exactly that.
The term “30A” isn’t known to much of the country outside the Southeast, but it’s a huge rental property area with room to grow. “30A” refers to the stretch of highway between the popular resort towns of Destin and Panama City, Florida, and it’s dotted with small communities full of charm and gorgeous views right on the sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. While flanked by touristy towns overrun with people during peak season, the small communities of Santa Rosa, Rosemary Beach, Seaside and others ooze small-town charm yet still maintain the strengths of the industry, namely gorgeous beaches, delicious seafood and friendly locals. As more and more visitors desire “authentic” travel experiences, places like 30A are well-positioned to be great investments.
Mammoth Lakes, California
Mammoth Lakes, California is a small resort town nestled about 30 minutes south of the East entrance to Yosemite National Park. While it’s known primarily for having the best skiing in California, Mammoth Lakes is actually a year-round resort. Rental income is high during the very lengthy ski season, which can run from November to as late as July 4, but it also peaks in the summer months, when outdoorsy types flock to the town to enjoy fishing, biking, hiking, boating and mountain biking. Property values have been rising rapidly, as have short-term rental prices, which can top $450 per night for a simple one-bedroom in peak season.
The Poconos, Pennsylvania
The Poconos seemingly have it all when it comes to a vacation destination investment. Located in northeast Pennsylvania, the Poconos have year-round appeal, from watersports and waterfalls in the summer to snowboarding and skiing in the winter. Even though the Poconos have timeless appeal and have been a vacation hotspot for decades, vacation rental prices are still easily within reach. Coupled with the $40,000-plus in annual rental income that many vacation homes in the Poconos draw, the risk/reward ratio for this type of investment is low.
Windham, New York
Upstate New York has always been a hot vacation destination for the urbanites fleeing New York City. But in terms of investment potential, the Hamptons and the Hudson River Valley are victims of their own popularity, with property values hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars more expensive than alternative options like Windham. In addition to its popularity as a ski destination, Windham is also a sophisticated summer destination, with outdoor recreation to go along with the town’s art galleries, wine bars and outstanding restaurants. With a median list price of under $500,000, Windham remains an affordable option for those looking to invest in rental properties.
McGaheysville, Virginia is yet another year-round vacation destination with small-town appeal. Visitors to this “under the radar” vacation hotspot enjoy both winter and summer recreation, with the largest draw being the Shenandoah National Park, home to a portion of the Appalachian Trail. Median annual revenue in McGaheysville is a whopping $49,000, meaning nearly all rental property investors are generating profits and some are making a true windfall. As the destination isn’t as well known west of the Mississippi, there is still plenty of room to grow for potential investors.
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