Vacasa Vacation Rental Report. Gatlinburg is #1

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Real Estate

2021: Top 25 best places to buy a vacation home


The red-hot real estate market of the past year may be starting to cool ever so slightly, but consumer demand for vacation rental real estate is still burning bright. If you’re in the market for a vacation rental property or second home, read on as we outline the Top 25 Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home. From coast to coast, we rank our top 25 markets based on cap rate, or rate of return on your investment, and provide helpful data points including median home sale price and annual gross rental revenue.


Today’s vacation rental real estate market

Overall buyer demand is decreasing, creating more opportunity

According to a June 2021 report, second home buyer demand is starting to taper off a bit from its earlier peak, which will open up more affordable inventory for those still in the market. This slight dip in demand is due to many buyers having already purchased a second home over the past 18 months, and uncertainty about the need to return to offices and schools.


Guest demand is high

Guest demand for vacation rentals remains incredibly high across the country, driving up year-over-year occupancy and rates. It’s a great time to get into the vacation home market and capitalize on the opportunity, if you intend to rent your home.


More vacation rentals and investment properties

As a result of this demand, we’re seeing more first-time real estate investors and second home owners renting out their properties for the first time. But don’t worry, there’s a critical need for supply in many areas throughout the country.

Buyers want to spend under $399,999

Vacasa’s 2021 Vacation Rental Buyer Report revealed that most buyers (36.4%) currently in the market are looking to spend under $399,999, which aligns nicely with median home sale prices in many of our 25 best places to buy.

Buyers want immediate rental income from their investments

In the same report, 46% of buyers said they’re looking to start generating income today, which is exactly where Vacasa can help—offering full-service vacation rental management.


1. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Our number four market in 2020 has climbed the ranks, claiming the top spot on this year’s Top 25 Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home report. And with a median sale price around $320,000 and a cap rate of 8.6%, it’s easy to see why. Gatlinburg has plenty to offer guests, including the world famous Skylift Park, where visitors can walk North America’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge. At the bridge’s center, more than 30 feet of glass panels serve as the floor, giving guests a thrilling view of the nature below. But don’t fret if you aren’t one for heights. Those who opt not to cross can take in views from the safety of the SkyDeck. Another big draw for tourists? The Anakeesta adventure park features everything from cozy fire pits to dueling zip lines. Explore Gatlinburg Vacation Homes Cap rate 8.6% Median home price $320,111 Annual gross rental revenue $47,328