Foreclosure Bargains on the Beach10 coastal communities offering potential vacation home savings
By Joel Cone
The smell of the salt water. The feel of a cool ocean breeze. The sight of the marine layer hanging like a blanket overhead. The feel of the hot sand beneath your feet. And let’s not forget . . . the view. All these amenities come included with a vacation home near the beach, a luxury that many dream of, but few think they can afford.
But bargain beach homes are available in many idyllic coastal communities, and bargains could become more common thanks to a cooling housing market. Although vacation home sales rose 4.7 percent last year, the median price dropped 2 percent, to $200,000, according to the 2006 National Association of Realtors Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey. And with foreclosures up 90 percent nationally in May on a yearly basis, according to RealtyTrac, more homeowners and lenders will be motivated to sell at discounted prices — even in vacation hot spots.
Here are the top 10 Bargain Beach Towns based on neighborhood data from www.neighborhoodscout.com and foreclosure sale data from www.realtytrac.com. These communities are potential treasure troves of great deals on wonderful vacation homes:
(as of 6/11/07)
|Rocky Point, NY|
|Somers Point, NJ|
|Carolina Beach, NC|
|Mount Pleasant, SC|
|Melbourne Beach, FL|
|Oak Harbor, WA|
San Luis Obispo
1) CLINTON, CONNECTICUT
Overlooking the Long Island Sound, Clinton is located in Middlesex County, 38 miles south of the state capital of Hartford, and equidistant from both New York City and Boston. The first seat of Yale University (called Collegiate School at the time), the town has more than 3,500 residents and 1,600 households counted in the 2000 Census.
Median home sales prices in the Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford metro area were estimated to be $255,000 for the first quarter of 2007 by the NAR. The most recent homes sales data available from NAR for Middlesex County showed that 5,000 homes sold during the fourth quarter of 2006 (seasonably adjusted) at an average sales price of $335,100.
During the first quarter of 2007 RealtyTrac reported 30 foreclosed properties being sold in Middlesex County for a median price of just over $291,600 — an average savings of 17 percent below full market value. One recent search found 77 homes in some stage of the foreclosure process in Clinton.
2) ROCKY POINT, NEW YORK
Located on the north shore of Long Island in Suffolk County, N.Y., Rocky Point is a community in the town of Brookhaven. Home to almost 10,200 people and 3,950 households, Suffolk County had a median home price of $411,000 in April 2007, according to the New York State Association of Realtors.
A recent RealtyTrac search showed 118 properties in some stage of foreclosure in Rocky Point. In all, 512 foreclosed properties sold in Suffolk County during the first quarter of 2007 at an average sales price of slightly over $404,000 — a 16 percent discount below full market value.
3) SOMERS POINT, NEW JERSEY
Originally known as the Somerset Plantation, the city of Somers Point is the oldest settlement in Atlantic County. The city is seven miles southwest of Atlantic City and 60 miles east of Philadelphia. The 2000 Census recorded a population of more than 11,600 people living in 5,400 households.
Atlantic County had 82 foreclosures sell during the first quarter, at an average sales price of $292,000 — 22 percent below full market value on average. Five properties were recently found to be in some stage of foreclosure in Somers Point on the RealtyTrac website
4) CAROLINA BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA
Situated between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean, the City of Carolina Beach is located 13 miles south of Wilmington and 133 miles southeast of Raleigh. Settled long before the Revolutionary War, the surrounding area is famous for its plantations and their gardens, as well as being infamous as a former base of operation for pirates.
The 2000 Census shows a population of 4,700 people with almost 4,100 households in Carolina Beach. Figures released by the North Carolina Association of Realtors® show a median home price of $287,154 for April 2007.
Carolina Beach recently showed nine properties in some stage of the foreclosure process on RealtyTrac. Overall 16 foreclosed properties sold in New Hanover County during the first quarter of 2007 for an average sales price of $238,700 — more than 37 percent below the full market value on average.
5) MOUNT PLEASANT, SOUTH CAROLINA
Across the harbor from the city of Charleston sits the town of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The town has a population of approximately 47,600 and nearly 20,200 households.
Home sales numbers released by the South Carolina Association of Realtors show an average home sales price of $208,000 in the Charleston Trident MLS region for April 2007. A recent RealtyTrac search uncovered 54 properties in some stage of foreclosure in the town. For the first quarter 2007 there were 73 foreclosures sold in Charleston County at an average sales price of $360,700 — an average savings of 16 percent below full market value.
6) MELBOURNE BEACH, FLORIDA
Just named by U.S. News & World Report as one of the "10 Bargain Retirement Spots" in the country, Melbourne Beach is Brevard County’s oldest beach community. Just 25 miles south of Cape Canaveral on a barrier island separating the Indian River from the Atlantic Ocean, and little over an hour’s drive to Orlando, the town houses 3,335 people in almost 1,560 households.
A recent search on RealtyTrac found 40 homes in foreclosure in Melbourne Beach. For the first quarter of the year, 146 foreclosures were sold in Brevard County at an average sales price of $224,300 — an average savings of more than 26 percent below full market value.
7) ENGLEWOOD, FLORIDA
On the west coast of Florida, along the Gulf of Mexico, sits the town of Englewood, a beachfront community on Lemon Bay in Sarasota County that is home to almost 16,200 people.
A total of 43 foreclosed properties sold in Sarasota County during the first quarter of 2007 at an average price of $313,000 — an average savings of 35 percent below the full market value.
8) OAK HARBOR, WASHINGTON
Named for its Garry Oak trees, Oak Harbor is the largest incorporated city on Whidbey Island, one of nine islands that make up Island County in Washington’s Puget Sound. Comprising an area of nine square miles, the town has a population of about 20,000.
First quarter 2007 data collected by the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at Washington State University shows a median home price of $293,000 in Oak Harbor. RealtyTrac recently showed 41 properties in some stage of foreclosure in the town. Island County had nine foreclosures sell during the first quarter 2007 at an average sales price of almost $187,000 — 23 percent below full market value on average.
9) MCKINLEYVILLE, CALIFORNIA
Named for President William McKinley after his assassination, McKinleyville is a bedroom community located north of Eureka and Arcata. Sited on almost 21 square miles of northwestern California shoreline property in Humboldt County, the town has a population of about 13,600.
Real estate in McKinleyville ranges in price from around $250,000 to over $1 million. April 2007 statistics released by the Humboldt Association of Realtors show the median sales price for the region at $312,000 for the month. A recent search on RealtyTrac revealed 52 properties in some stage of foreclosure. In all, nine foreclosed properties were sold in Humboldt County during the first quarter of the year at an average sales price of nearly $286,000 — 22 percent below full market value on average.
10) CAMBRIA, CALIFORNIA
Midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on U.S. Highway 1, and just six miles south of the legendary Hearst Castle, lies this quaint seaside artist colony with a population of more than 6,200.
For April 2007 the California Association of Realtors reported a median sales price of $607,140 for San Luis Obispo County. A total of 39 foreclosed properties sold in San Luis Obispo County during the first quarter of the year at an average sales price of $442,000 — 18 percent below full market value on average. RealtyTrac recently showed 21 properties in some stage of the foreclosure process in Cambria.