What a year 2020 was! Although many of us have faced unprecedented challenges, it’s not surprising that we want to look forward to the future with hope and confidence.
With a renewed focus on the comfort and functionality of our homes, there’s also a greater appreciation of the natural world outside, and the need to maintain health and fitness. At the same time, many people’s thoughts are turning to ways to secure their financial future in times of economic turmoil.
Purchasing a second home, in a desirable location, can be a solid investment for the long-term. Whether you want to build a nest-egg from the rental income, prepare a home for your retirement, or use it as a weekend or vacation get-away from the city, it can bring many benefits.
Of course, you’d also have to take into account that the property would need to be managed when you’re not there. If you’re considering renting it out, for vacation stays, there will be local regulations to take into account – some towns place restrictions on the type and number of properties allowed to let to tourists. And if you’re going to take out a mortgage to finance your purchase, this is likely to be more expensive than one for your main residence and require a significant deposit of 25% or more.
Whether you’re ready to jump in and invest, or if it’s still a long way from becoming a reality, it’s worth thinking about the best locations. We’ve selected 6 desirable places for a second home below. For the perfect weekend getaways, 4 of these are within 3 hours drive of NYC. The others will be a plane ride away but are aspirational, sun-drenched places, ideal for longer visits or retirement.
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1. Phoenicia, Catskills
This is the first of our choices, and it’s less than 3 hours drive from the city. In the heart of the Catskill Mountains, this cool yet sleepy town is the perfect base for an outdoor lifestyle – from easy strolls around the shops and galleries to more energetic hikes to the spectacular Kaaterskill Falls and other beauty spots. If you are looking for a second home that will also generate rental income, this is a great choice. The town hosts a couple of interesting cultural events – such as the Festival of the Voice in August, which bring the tourists flocking.
2. Fire Island Towns
The towns of Fire Island and the other smaller islands lie to the south of Long Island and are a popular weekend retreat from the bustle of the city. There’s no way that property here can be considered inexpensive, but the income from summer rentals could still make this an interesting location for a second home. A further advantage would be how easy it would be for you to enjoy the laidback lifestyle, beaches, and fresh ocean air, out of season and at weekends.
3. Atlantic City Environs
A complete change of atmosphere, yet still within easy reach of the city. While Atlantic City itself has seen its fortunes rise and fall over decades, and is still associated with gambling and casinos, the towns around it definitely do deserve a second look. For example, Ocean City, in Maryland, has all the facilities of a beach resort, the boardwalk, and plenty of things to do- it’s a family-friendly base for those with kids and teenagers in tow. When the hordes of summer tourists head for home, it’s a relaxed and liveable getaway. Or towns such as Galloway, with a young, liberal vibe, great schools, and abundant greenery.
Less than an hour’s drive from Harlem, Ossining is one of the best choices for an affordable second home in Westchester County, Connecticut. Rents typically range between $1,500 and $3,000 per month. It’s an informal and friendly small town with a low crime rate: great for singles, families, or retirees with low crime rates, perfect for singles, new couples, and retirees alike.
If year-long sunshine is what you’re pining for, then let’s look a little further! Although it’s definitely a plane ride away, Arizona is a state with a wonderful climate and spectacular scenery. From the arid climate of the southern desert region to the pine forests of the northern mountain ranges, this is a state that enjoys, on average, 320 days of sun per year. Perhaps choosing to base yourself in Peoria, less than 14 miles from the growing capital of Phoenix, could bridge the gap between your desire for a get-away and the opportunity to generate a decent rental income. From heritage properties to new homes for sale in Arizona, there are a wealth of options to choose from, as well as limitless opportunities to enjoy the state’s laid-back, outdoorsy lifestyle.
A natural choice for New Yorkers! In the depths of the NYC winter, the annual migration to the sunshine and beaches of Florida is easy to understand. At around 18 hours it’s a long, but do-able drive to reach Miami down the I-95, and there are plenty of fascinating places to take a break on the way. Once you reach the vibrant, cosmopolitan center of Miami, it’s worth the effort. There’ll be plenty of time to kick back and enjoy the beaches, shops, and vibrant night-life. Rentals are always at a premium, year-round, while it’s possible to pick up property bargains at this time, especially in tourist hotspots such as South Beach or characterful Coconut Grove. For something quieter, opt for a condo on Brickell Avenue, or maybe a 30’s style home in Coral Gables. Let a realtor deal with the management for you, and you’ll always have an income to cover the costs of the vacations you’ll definitely want to enjoy.
Investing in property is always a smart choice, so selecting a location that combines your ideal get-away destination with great income-generating potential is definitely something to aim for. Whether it’s a short-term possibility or a long-term dream, it’s never too soon to start planning!