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For many people, buying a vacation home in a favored location makes perfect sense. You get to spend your holidays with family and friends in a homey, laid-back location and, if you’re willing to rent it on a short-term basis, you can rake in some rental income besides.

It’s a great strategy that can yield tax benefits depending on how many days you spend in your second home and how many days you rent it out—and, in most cases, there’s a fair return on your investment should you decide to sell.

As with all investments, there’s an element of risk, but where you buy is a critical factor. Buying a second home in a luxury community is a good option if you want the safety and security of gated living, luxury amenities such as on-site spas and golfing, and a higher than average return on investment.

But a report by Mashvisor, a provider of real estate investment data analysis, looks at three of the top hot spots for 2019 based on reasonable pricing, high rental demand, and a high Airbnb cap rate for short-term rentals…and the locations may surprise you:

  • Dubuque, Iowa. Located along the Mississippi River, with access to water sports, golfing, gaming and hiking, Dubuque is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination. With a median property price of $138,600, an Airbnb cap rate of 10.2 percent, and a traditional cash-on-cash return of 3.1 percent, it’s an option worth considering.
  • Portsmouth, Va. A coastal city with a spectacular waterfront along the Hampton Roads Harbor, Portsmouth is an ancient seaport offering quirky shops, great eateries, and a decidedly hip vibe. It also offers a median property price of $189,500 and an Airbnb rental income of $2,750.
  • Bainbridge Island, Wash. Located a short ferry ride across the Puget Sound from Seattle, Bainbridge Island offers proximity to all the business and pleasure of the Emerald City, as well as a secluded island outdoors with eclectic boutiques, scenic vistas and 32 miles of coastline and beaches. The median property price is higher here, at $387,000, but the traditional rental income is nearly $2,000 with a cash-on-cash return of 2.3 percent.

Talk to your local real estate advisor to find other lucrative vacation-home locations that best suit your lifestyle—and investment—needs.

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