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Ranking the Top Markets for Winter Vacation Homes

Homebuyers with a penchant for snow and an eagerness for owning a second property are the focus of Vacasa’s new listing of the best places to buy a winter vacation home.

This year’s list was based on a home sales data analysis covering vacation destinations over the last 12 months, which was overlaid with performance data for thousands of vacation rental properties. Vacasa calculated each area’s cap rate with averages involving property taxes, utilities, HOA fees, insurance, and property management fees.

For this year’s list, the top winter vacation site for buyers in the market for a second home was Big Sky, Montana, with a cap rate of 9.2% and a median sales price of $541,842. The resort area was touted as being able to “yield big returns for homeowners with an annual gross rental revenue of nearly $80,000.”

Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains region ranked second, with a cap rate of 8.2% and a median home cost of $200,190 and an annual gross rental revenue of $38,079. Conway, New Hampshire, which is often cited as the birthplace of American skiing, placed third with a cap rate of 6.5%, a median sale price of $238,930 and an annual gross rental revenue of $31,971.

Rounding out the top five spots on the list were Killington, Vermont, with a cap rate of 6.2%, a median sale price of $218,917 and an annual gross rental revenue of $37,121, and Vail, Colorado, with a cap rate of 6.1%, a median sale price of $648,651 and an annual gross rental revenue of $65,998.

Vacasa pointed out that the top five locations were not limited to cold weather retreats—all five are year-round resorts, with top ranked Big Sky also taking the number one place on Vacasa’s 2020 listing of summer locations for homebuyers. And the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic appears to have played a major role in calling more attention to second home sales—Vacasa also cited National Association of Realtor data that showed second home sales were up 44% in 2020.


About Author: Phil Hall

Phil Hall is a former United Nations-based reporter for Fairchild Broadcast News, the author of nine books, the host of the award-winning SoundCloud podcast "The Online Movie Show," co-host of the award-winning WAPJ-FM talk show "Nutmeg Chatter" and a writer with credits in The New York Times, New York Daily News, Hartford Courant, Wired, The Hill's Congress Blog and Profit Confidential. His real estate finance writing has been published in the ABA Banking Journal, Secondary Marketing Executive, Servicing Management, MortgageOrb, Progress in Lending, National Mortgage Professional, Mortgage Professional America, Canadian Mortgage Professional, Mortgage Professional News, Mortgage Broker News and HousingWire.

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