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7 Top Hot Spots for Winter Vacation Homes

March 1, 2021

Properties in ski towns may offer a big income stream for second-home buyers. After all, vacation homes have been trending during the pandemic, whether it’s a home in a cold- or a warm- weather locale.

Second-home sales jumped 44% in 2020, according to data from the National Association of REALTORS®. Snowy hot spots are among those seeing surging demand. Searches for homes in ski towns surged 36% annually in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to research from realtor.com®. In fact, ski towns were rising higher in buyer interest than warmer areas of the country, realtor.com® noted.

Vacasa, a vacation rental management firm, identified the best places to buy a winter vacation home this year. The company factored in some of the top annual returns on investment for property owners if it’s used as a short-term rental. Vacasa researchers analyzed home sales data from the last 12 months in popular vacation destinations and ranked the markets using their cap rate, factoring in averages for property taxes, utilities, homeowner association fees, insurance, and property management fees, and median home costs. Here are the markets that topped its list:

Big Sky, Mont.

  • Cap rate: 9.2%
  • Median home cost: $541,842

Poconos, Pa.

  • Cap rate: 8.2%
  • Median home cost: $200,190

Conway, N.H.

  • Cap rate: 6.5%
  • Median home cost: $238,930

Killington, Vt.

  • Cap rate: 6.2%
  • Median home cost: $218,917

Vail, Colo.

  • Cap rate: 6.1%
  • Median home cost: $648,651

Big Bear, Calif.

  • Cap rate: 6%
  • Median home cost: $313,667

Breckenridge, Colo.

  • Cap rate: 5.9%
  • Median home cost: $588,324