Vacasa, North America’s leading vacation rental management platform, just released its report on the Best Places to Buy a Winter Vacation Home 2022-2023. The list ranks the best U.S. destinations to purchase a vacation rental property based on average cap rate. Read on to see which locations ranked in the top ten.
With crystal-clear water and snow-capped mountains, Wallowa Lake, Oregon, is the number one place to buy a vacation home this winter. The area is a peaceful winter wonderland offering plenty of outdoor activities, like skiing and snowboarding. The area surrounding Wallowa Lake is a year-round travel destination that appeals to buyers, with a strong cap rate of 9.9%
The ski towns within the Poconos region have moved up from number three spot in Vacasa’s 2021 list. The Poconos continue to be a draw for skiers, thanks to the area’s mountains, deep snow, and attractive trails. The median home price is still under $300,000, making it an attractive buy for those looking to purchase a winter home.
Bear Lake, Utah
Bordering Utah and Idaho, Bear Lake is a freshwater lake surrounded by two mountain ranges and has the nickname, The Caribbean of the Rockies, for its brilliant turquoise waters. During winter months, Bear Lake is one of the most popular ice-fishing spots in Utah, known for cutthroat trout. The area is also popular for snow-mobiling and cross-country skiing. Bear Lake is also just a two-hour drive from Salt Lake City and could bring in an annual gross vacation rental revenue close to $50,000.
South Fork, Colorado
Located in the foothills of the San Juan Mountains, South Fork is a popular destination for outdoor adventure. The locale is only a short drive from Wolf Creek Ski Area, which is known for having the most snow in Colorado—and 225 miles of winter recreation trails. The popularity of South Fork translates to short-term rentals potentially delivering a cap rate of 5.5%.
Banner Elk, North Carolina
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Banner Elk is centrally located between two major ski resorts—Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain Resort—making it a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to the area for North Carolina’s only double Black Diamond run the state’s only mountaintop sky bar. Banner Elk has jumped up five spots on the Vacasa list from 2021, with a cap rate just under 5%.
The area around Ludlow is renowned for its world-class amenities and terrain options for all levels of skiers and snowboarders—it is also home to the popular Okemo Mountain Resort. In addition to growing in popularity as a prime winter home locale, it is also growing in popularity as a popular winter travel destination.
Warren is home to one of the largest ski resorts in New England, Sugarbush Resort. Skiers love the area for its expansive slopes that offer varying levels of difficulty, making it perfect for both beginners and pros. Aside from skiing, Warren offers cozy coffee shops, quaint restaurants, and craft breweries. The town’s median home cost is just under $370,000, makes it a great basecamp to explore an East Coast winter.
Located less than an hour from the Anchorage airport, this idyllic Alaskan mountain town is perfect for a winter escape. The area is popular for skiing, exploring the frozen terrain via snowshoeing, and gazing at the northern lights. After a chilly day of outdoor activities, bundle up next to the fire with a cup of hot cocoa in your own winter hideaway—an investment that could gross over $40,000 in revenue.
Teton Village, Wyoming
Teton Village is located at the foothills of the Teton Mountains and is home to the world-class Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Visitors can enjoy a full range of outdoor activities and also take advantage of incredible sightseeing via local tram rides. Due to the popularity of the area year round, homes sell for a higher median sale price, but annual gross rental revenue could bring in more than $100,000.
Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho
Lake Pend Oreille is the largest lake in Idaho, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains and national forests. The popular Schweitzer Mountain Resort is nearby and offers incredible skiing, with over 2,900 skiable acres. The neighboring state parks are also a popular draw for cross-country skiing. With Lake Pend Oreille’s increasing popularity as a wintery destination, investors can expect an annual gross revenue of nearly $50,000.
- To determine its ranking of top vacation rental markets, Vacasa analyzed home sales and vacation rental performance data from the last 12 months for vacation destinations throughout the country where Vacasa and its licensed subsidiaries manage at least 50 units. To determine average gross rental revenue (homeowner revenue made from bookings, excluding any fees) for a market, we averaged actual performance data for Vacasa managed units in the past 12 months and adjusted that number to reflect assumed usage by the owner. To calculate average cap rate, we considered the averages of the following in each state: property taxes, utilities, insurance, and property management fees. Markets with strict permit caps or regulations that make it difficult to operate a short-term rental were removed from the list.