Alabama town named best place to buy a beach house

A row of beach chairs on a sandy beach in front of vacation rental houses.

Whether you’re in the market for a vacation home to rent out for added income, are looking to retire on the waterfront or are simply dreaming of living on the beach, you might want to set your sights on Alabama.

Every year, the vacation rental management company Vacasa publishes reports on the best places to buy a vacation home. Vacasa ranks locations based on the yearly rate of return on investment, or cap rate.

This is found by comparing a home’s sale price and annual rental revenue after expenses. Vacasa includes costs like average taxes, homeowners association fees, utilities, insurance and management fees to determine the cap rate. A higher cap rate means the location is more profitable.


For 2022, Gulf Shores, Alabama topped the list with a median home price of $402,905 and a 10.2% cap rate, resulting in an average annual gross rental revenue of $56,198.

It’s not just the potential income that makes this a popular choice. Gulf Shores is known for white sugar sand beaches and clear, warm ocean water from the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, you can quickly drive to larger cities like Mobile and Pensacola, the crime rate is low, and residents enjoy an excellent quality of life.

“A lot of issues we have out in the world just don’t exist here,” realtor Angie Swiger told Gulf Coast Media. “They (city officials) are careful about how we grow so that we don’t turn into an over-commercialized area like a lot of other beach towns. People care about the community, and it makes people want to move here or visit. It is two-sided.”

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

Along with beaches, fishing and water activities, attractions include a local theme park, golf, nature trails, shopping, nightlife and special events, such as the Hangout Music Festival, Dauphin Island Gumbo Festival and the Sandcastle Showdown.

While Gulf Shores topped the list, it’s far from the only well-rated place to buy a beach house. Here is the full top-10 list for 2022, according to Vacasa.

10. Lahaina, Hawaii
9. Port St. Joe, Florida
8. Rockaway Beach, Oregon
7. Hatteras Island, North Carolina
6. Galveston, Texas
5. Daytona Beach, Florida
4. New Buffalo, Michigan
3. Navarre Beach, Florida
2. Corolla, North Carolina
1. Gulf Shores, Alabama

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

See you on the beach!

About the Author

Tricia Goss

Tricia is a professional writer and editor who lives in North Texas with her family and one smelly dog. She is a wannabe problem solver, junk food maven professional coffee practitioner, web guru and general communicator. More.

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