Panama City Florida Rated #1 Place to Own a Vaction Home

By
Real Estate Agent with Prudential Shimmering Sands Realty

AOL just featured "The Top Five Places to Own a Vaction Home", as rated by SmartMoney.com and beautiful Panama City Florida was #1! Here is the article, as it appeared on AOL

By Kelli B. Grant,

Reporter, SmartMoney.com

Credit-crunch-squeezed homeowners and investors are unloading second homes en masse, offering up

desirable vacation properties at some pretty steep discounts.

"When the market is down and there's blood in the streets, someone else's misfortune could work in your

favor," says Ken Kamen, president of New Jersey-based Mercadien Asset Management. Buying now entails

some risk, however. After all, prices could drop even further. But for those looking to hold a property long

term for a family vacation spot or eventual retirement retreat should feel confident that they'll recoup the

investment, he says.

Here are five places where vacation-home bargains abound:

1. Panama City Beach, Florida

There's something for everyone in this Panhandle town where white "sugar sand" beaches along the Gulf of

Mexico give way to inland attractions, including six championship golf courses and an active restaurant and

nightlife scene. Prices for beachfront property run the gamut from $100,000 for a one-bedroom condo, to $2

million-plus for single-family homes of five bedrooms or more, according to vacation rental site

HomeAway.com.

Why Buy Now: Besides the weather (temperatures rarely dip below the 60s, even in January) a New

International Airport is slated to open in the next couple of years. With it comes low-cost carriers and an

abundance of nonstop flights. (Currently, flying from New York involves at least one connection and travel

time of anywhere from 4.5 to 13 hours. In comparison, a nonstop flight from New York to Orlando takes

about two hours.) That ease of access should help boost tourism -- and property values, says Anil Pereira,

CEO of SecondSpace.com, a property-finding service. "It'll be more feasible to own a second home there,"

he says. "People will be able to fly in for the weekend."

 

2. Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania

Looking for a destination for all seasons? The Pocono Mountains offer skiing (winter), horseback riding

(spring), sailing (summer), and hiking (fall). (There's even a Fall Foliage Hotline to point you to the most

spectacular views and scenic driving routes.) Single-family homes range from $175,000 to $300,000, with

lakeside and mountainside properties available, according to HomeAway.com.

Why Buy Now: A popular destination in the 1950s and 60s, the Poconos is experiencing a resurgence.

"[Baby boomer] buyers are looking in their comfort zone; places they know and love -- and probably also

where they vacationed as a child," says Christine Karpinski, a spokeswoman for HomeAway.com, a vacation

rental site. During the housing boom, home prices in Pennsylvania didn't climb as high as they did in some

other parts of the country. As a result, home prices in the four-county Poconos area haven't been as hard hit

in the current slump.

3. The Crystal Coast, North Carolina

The southern part of North Carolina's Outer Banks boasts unspoiled beaches, national parks and wildlife

preserves. World-class fishing results in abundant (and excellent) seafood restaurants. There's even

something for history buffs: Civil War forts and the town of Beaufort (reportedly the home of Blackbeard). Yet

this area is far from a tourist trap. "It still has a quietness about it," says Craig Venezia, author of "Buying a

Second Home: Income, Getaway or Retirement." "It's retained a lot of its charm and beauty." Prices for

waterfront property on the island start at $100,000 for a one-bedroom condo overlooking Bogue Sound (the

waterway between the Outer Banks and the mainland). However, oceanfront properties, especially in

popular towns like Indian Beach, can easily top $2.5 million.

Why Buy Now: Property values fell 18% this year, the first decline in more than a decade, says Venezia.

Because the popular vacation destination has seen little negative impact from foreclosures or speculative

real estate investments, it should rebound quickly, he says. Property values here have historically

appreciated by about 9% a year.

4. Lake Tahoe, California

With close to 71 square miles of mountainous shoreline, almost every property in Lake Tahoe boasts a view

of the water. In the winter visitors can ski at one of a dozen ski areas. In the summer, music, wine and

Shakespeare festivals abound for those who tire of swimming and boating all day. Lakeview homes start at

$250,000, with more ostentatious lakefront properties topping $25 million.

Why Buy Now: California home prices have plunged an alarming 26% since last March, according to

DataQuick, a real estate market researcher. "You'd almost have your pick of property," says Pereira. Beyond

single-family homes, there are condos and cottages, as well as purchase shares on larger homes. Given

Lake Tahoe's popularity, there's little doubt that home values will spring back as the economy stabilizes, he

says.

5. Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the country's most-visited national park (it gets 12

million visitors a year), this stretch of Tennessee and North Carolina sets the scene for a beautiful yearround

wildlife retreat. Rafting, hiking and camping in the summer, and skiing in the winter. There's also

plenty of the region's renowned barbecue. A two-bedroom cabin ranges from $130,000 to $250,000,

according to HomeAway.com.

Why Buy Now: Although property values have taken a hit, tourism spending remains high, says Karpinski.

High occupancy rates for vacation rentals mean buyers willing to rent out their property when they're not

using the place could handily break-even.

Read our story to learn more about taxes on vacation homes and click here for advice on insuring your

second home. View our slideshow to find out about recession-proof places to retire.

Contact Chuck Roberts of Prudential Shimmering Sands Realty, to take advantage of this great opportunity in sunny Panama City Florida. You can reach Chuck Roberts at 850-960-5507 or 866-784-1435.

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