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Whether it’s lounging on the beach, golfing or fishing, what you enjoy doing in your free time probably influences where you choose to vacation.

If you’re ready to invest in a second home but aren’t sure where to buy, prioritizing your interests and evaluation housing market data can help narrow down your options.

The Second Home Index assigns a score to cities near popular vacation destinations. The index weighs the number of vacation homes in the area, the median rent if you were to lease the property and the proximity to common vacationer activities such as boating, golfing, or visiting national parks, amusement parks, historical sites or beaches.

Here are some top-ranked cities throughout the country where you can purchase a second home near your favorite attractions.

1. Desert Hot Springs, CA

Although this market scored 99 on the index for cities near amusement parks and attractions, Desert Hot Springs is also well-suited for those seeking a slower pace.

With elevated views of Coachella Valley, this self-proclaimed “Spa City” is built over natural mineral water springs and is home to dozens of spas and hot springs. If you’re looking to buy a getaway property under the desert sun, this might be your year.

Home values are rising throughout Coachella Valley, and the Desert Hot Springs real estate market is heating up faster than other markets in the area.

The median home value in Desert Hot Springs is $193,800 and is predicted to grow 6 percent by this time next year.

2. Bonita Springs, FL

If you spend your free time fine-tuning your golf swing or reeling in a big catch, you might find yourself on Florida’s Gulf Coast, specifically Bonita Springs.

Boasting a score of 91 on the index for golfers, Bonita Springs has enough golf courses to satisfy the most avid of players.

With coastlines on both Estero Bay and the Gulf, it’s no wonder the city scored 95 for beaches and boating, too.

Bonita Springs housing market conditions are slightly more favorable for sellers, but home values are rising and predicted to climb further. If you can afford to buy now, while the median home value is $330,900, you can still expect future appreciation.

3. Sullivan’s Island, SC

Located at the entrance of Charleston Harbor, Sullivan’s Island offers beach life with a side of Southern history.

This 3.5-square-mile island served as a major battle site during the American Revolution, so it’s no wonder it scored 74 on the index for locations near historical sites. Sullivan’s Island is home to at least eight sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

However, with a median home value of more than $1.5 million — about 10 times greater than the Charleston metro overall — purchasing homes comes at a steeper price than other vacation spots.

4. Oak Hill, FL

Outdoor enthusiasts will find an ideal Atlantic Coast vacation spot in Oak Hill, which scores 81 on the Second Home Index for cities near national parks.

The city center is adjacent to the Canaveral National Seashore, which offers 25 miles of undeveloped shoreline and serves as a wildlife sanctuary for endangered and protected species.

The Oak Hill real estate market is healthy, and investors benefit from the steady growth in home values throughout the past five years. The median home value in Oak Hill is $157,000, which is predicted to grow another 4 percent by mid-2018.

Although cities in California and Florida, the ever-popular vacation destinations, score high throughout the Second Home Index, vacation means something different to everybody. Be sure to compare the investment opportunity metrics and nearby attractions of your favorite getaway city before committing to a purchase.

About the Author:
Article contributed by Christen Tien from the Zillow Team.

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