I’m a Real Estate Agent: 4 Places I’d Buy a Vacation Home If I Had $1 Million

FiledIMAGE / Getty Images/iStockphoto
FiledIMAGE / Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s hard to imagine that most people haven’t, at one point or another, dreamed about the kind of sweet vacation pad they would buy if they had $1 million to spend on their home away from home. But where would someone who buys and sells houses for a living take their seven-figure budget if money were no object?

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Scott Beloian, broker and owner of Westcoe Realtors in Riverside, California, has several spots in mind. Naturally, all of them are places where he would want to spend his downtime — but as a real estate agent, he also evaluates each market with dollars and cents in mind.

“My choice of destinations for buying vacation homes with a $1 million budget reflects a blend of solid market understanding and local attractiveness,” he said. “Each of these locations offers distinct advantages from a real estate investment perspective, ensuring not just a beautiful vacation spot but also a prudent financial decision.”

Here are his top choices.

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Palm Springs, California

Although $1 million could buy you a property in most places on Earth, Beloian’s first choice is only about an hour from his home — Palm Springs, California.

“The city offers a great mix of leisure and investment opportunities due to its famous golf courses, stunning desert landscape and significant seasonal rental demand,” he said. “My experience in nearby Riverside has shown California’s desert regions maintain a robust appeal, particularly with those seeking out sunny retreats during colder months.”

With Zillow quoting the average home price at $672,466, $1 million would leave you sitting pretty in Palm Springs — as long as you’re not set on neighborhoods like The Mesa, Indian Canyon or Andreas Hills, where prices are closer to $2 million, give or take a few hundred thousand.

If Beloian’s dream comes true, he’ll hardly be alone in flocking to his favorite vacation spot. According to Tourism Economics, about 14.1 million people visited Palm Springs in 2022, matching pre-pandemic numbers almost exactly.

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Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada

Beloian’s second million-dollar spot straddles two neighboring West Coast vacation destination states and is named for North America’s largest Alpine lake, which is situated in the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains.

“Lake Tahoe, in California and Nevada, is another excellent option,” he said. “It is a dual-season destination attracting both winter sports enthusiasts and summer lake visitors, which ensures rental income year-round. The proximity to tech hubs like San Francisco intensifies its demand, adding to its worthwhile investment.”

Things are more expensive on Beloian’s side of the border. Redfin says the average home in Lake Tahoe, California, sells for $940,000. According to Realtor.com, it’s a more forgiving $675,000 on the Nevada side of the line.

CNN reports that 15 million people flock to Lake Tahoe’s world-class skiing, stunning scenery, beaches and trails every year.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Although he’s located on the West Coast, Beloian has his eye on one of the most popular vacation destinations on the other side of the country — a series of barrier islands that separate the Atlantic Ocean from the U.S. mainland.

“On the East Coast, I’d recommend the Outer Banks, North Carolina,” he said. “Known for its natural beauty and charming beach towns, this area has a growing tourism sector. Its resilient market conditions and frequent vacation rental use make it a strategic choice for extended value preservation and income.”

The following is a look at average home values in some popular Outer Banks towns, according to Zillow:

  • Kitty Hawk: $628,170

  • Nags Head: $718,994

  • Manteo: $505,041

  • Hatteras: $513,409

  • Duck: $989,994

The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce says the islands welcome five million vacationers per year.

Sedona, Arizona

Canyons, pine forests and a nationally renowned arts scene define Beloian’s second-favorite desert destination behind only Palm Springs.

“Lastly, Sedona, Arizona, with its red rock scenery and vibrant arts community, presents a unique vacation home market,” he said. “The area’s appeal to nature lovers and spiritual seekers ensures a diverse range of rental opportunities. In dealing with similar markets, I’ve noticed properties in unique, naturally wealthy environments tend to hold their value well and draw continuous interest.”

Sedona is the most expensive destination on the list — even more than the pricey California side of Lake Tahoe. According to Zillow, the average home value there is $944,879, but in neighborhoods like Flagstaff Ranch and Forest Highlands, it can go well over $1 million.

The Sedona Chamber of Commerce reports that roughly three million visitors flock to the city every year.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: I’m a Real Estate Agent: 4 Places I’d Buy a Vacation Home If I Had $1 Million