The 10 Best Places to Buy Winter Vacation Homes in the U.S., According to Data

Looking for a mountain spot to call your own? Here's where you should be scouting property.

Love spending time in the mountains but hate the commute? As city dwellers migrate to the country, winter vacation homes are top of mind for those looking to spend more time on the ski slopes. And Vacasa has collected data on exactly where to buy.

To help would-be winter vacation homeowners figure out the best place to buy, the vacation rental company found the ideal, cold-weather U.S. destinations based on estimated cap rate, or more simply, "yearly return on investment," says Vacasa in a blog post about their findings.

"Vacasa ranks the best places to buy a vacation home by analyzing median home prices and actual vacation rental performance data from the past year — along with estimated taxes, utilities, and operational costs of a rental — in destinations across the country where we care for homes," Shaun Greer, Vacasa's former vice president of real estate and strategic growth, told Travel + Leisure. "We also consider the regulatory landscape in each market and a homeowner's ability to use their vacation property as a short-term rental."

A winter vacation home in Big Sky, MT
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The northeast and East Coast claimed more than half the top spots; it's the first time Vacasa has seen the region overcome more traditionally popular Western ski markets.

Vacasa also found that more under-the-radar winter destinations made the list in 2022, compared to years prior, including Newry, Maine, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Deep Creek, Maryland. As a spokesperson from the company explained, the interest in these destinations may indicate a rise in winter vacations that go beyond traditional skiing and snowboarding, with many travelers looking for other outdoor activities as well.

Vacasa also reported an uptick in average rental rates in their finding's top markets, which could translate to more vacation rental income for owners looking to rent out their winter vacation homes to earn passive income.

As for the top markets, Newry, ME came in first with a 12.3% cap rate and a $245,965 median home cost.

A winter vacation home from Ludlow, VT
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A vacation home at Conway, NH
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"Though the northeastern part of the country may not come to mind as the best place to hit the slopes, the powder at the Sunday River Resort helps boost the town's 12.3% cap rate," Vacasa shared in the previously mentioned blog post. "And, not to be ignored is the Jordan (nope, not that one) — the fastest eight-person chair lift in North America — to take you to the top."

A winter vacation home in Deep Creek Lake, MD
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Gatlinburg, TN, a famous town off of the Appalachian Trail, came in second with an 8.4% cap rate and a $335,750 median home cost, while the Poconos, Pennsylvania came in third with a 6.9% cap rate and $274,500 median home cost. Rounding out the top five are Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, which came in fourth thanks to its 6.2% cap rate and $439,367 median home cost, followed by Conway, New Hampshire in fifth place with a 4.8% cap rate and a $343,412 median home cost.

Want to see the entire top 10 list? Check out Vacasa's complete findings here.

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