SOURCE: ERA Real Estate

ERA Real Estate

June 14, 2012 08:51 ET

ERA Real Estate Uncovers Five Under the Radar Vacation Markets

Leading Real Estate Franchisor Identifies Affordable Second Home Sanctuaries

PARSIPPANY, NJ--(Marketwire - Jun 14, 2012) - As summer heats up, so do popular -- and pricey -- second home markets like Martha's Vineyard and South Padre Island. Considering a second home but want to avoid sticker shock? Check out these under the radar vacation markets with all or many of the hotspot amenities, minus the lofty price tag.

Seafarers and Nature Enthusiasts: Love Martha's Vineyard? Explore Rockland, Maine
A quick flight from Boston, Mass. and drivable from New York City, Rockland, Maine offers that comfortable New England vibe, including 14 local lighthouses and numerous maritime activities, without the pricey home prices one would encounter in Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

"Waterfront homes overlooking the harbor sell at an average sale price of $325,000," according to broker Russell Wolfertz Jr. of ERA Cousens Realty. "Riverfront condos sell at an average of $240,000 and second and seasonal homes in retirement communities are on average selling at around $250,000. We have a great downtown area, too, with properties averaging between $175,000 and $225,000. You often hear people boasting they want Martha's Vineyard and those same buyers would be surprised to learn Rockland offers much of the same without the lofty price tag. It's quite the bargain."

Lake Lovers: Adore Lake Minnetonka? Try Door County, Wis.
Wisconsin's Door County
offers five state parks, 11 lighthouses and 300 miles of shoreline extending into Lake Michigan. Lake lovers can stroll along the water's edge or explore one of 13 islands while skipping the more expensive Lake Minnetonka, Minn. market.

"The average residential sale price in 2011 was $219,200 and recently sales have increased by 13 percent, indicating growing interest and increasing home values in Door County," said broker Dennis Starr of ERA Starr Realty. "The market is comprised of various real estate options from hotel condo properties at an average sale price of $79,800 up to spectacular waterfront properties at an average sale price of $605,900. Compared to the popular Lake Minnetonka, it is a great buy and you won't miss any of the amenities; Door County has them!"

Outdoor Adventurers and History Buffs: Enjoy Jackson Hole? Check out Sheridan, Wyo.
Midway between Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore sits Sheridan, Wyo., home to Buffalo Bill and Little Bighorn Battlefield. Named a "Top Place to Live in the West" by American Cowboy magazine, Sheridan is affordable and offers many of the amenities boasted by Jackson Hole, Wyo.

"Currently, the average sale price of a residence is $210,638," said broker Dixie See at ERA Carroll Realty. "And if buyers are looking for new construction, the average price is even less at $209,051. Sheridan appeals to avid snowmobilers and is in close proximity to several national parks, driving summer tourism. Jackson Hole may be known as the place to go but Sheridan is just as enjoyable and much more affordable."

Beach Lovers and Siesta Seekers: Thinking about South Padre Island? Try Brownsville, Texas
North of the Mexican border, Brownsville, Texas is defined by the pristine Boca Chica beach, semi-tropical climates, shopping and nightlife at a lower cost than nearby South Padre Island, Texas.

"It is still a buyer's market here," said broker Nilo Ortiz of ERA Sunrise Realty. "Many waterfront condos are available for well under $200,000 and average sale prices are attractive. If, you're thinking South Padre Island, give thought to Brownsville. You will save money and enjoy a very scenic and relaxed atmosphere."

Wine Connoisseurs: Have a Taste for Napa Valley? Sample Chautauqua Lake, N.Y.
Wine lovers, foodies and families will love Chautauqua Lake, N.Y. Known as the world's oldest and largest Concord grape growing region, visitors can explore the 22 wineries along the area's wine trail, then dine lakeside at one of many restaurants offering French cuisine, tavern food and Italian fare. Finish the day with a sunset cruise around the lake. On rainy days, check out the Lucille Ball -- Desi Arnaz Museum, and for an adrenaline rush, take the family to the nearby Midway Amusement Park. Golfing, swimming and skiing are also options.

"Whether it is by foot, by car or by boat, vacationers make a regular practice of making their way around the lake in search of new tastes," said broker Bill Soffel, ERA Team VP Real Estate. "Market-wide, the average home sale price is $116,071 and within the lake and vacation segment of the market, sales prices average $237,691. There are various options to choose from including lakeside and vineyard-side properties. It is an affordable and enjoyable area for retirees, empty-nesters and families alike."

To view photos, click here. To view town profiles, click here.

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