10 Best Places in Florida to Buy a Vacation Home

By Marisa Spyker 

Updated June 30, 2020

If there’s a common wish on every beach lovers’ bucket list, it’s to own a vacation home by the shore. But aside from the obvious benefit of providing a breezy escape from reality, a beach house can also be a lucrative asset–particularly if you invest in one in Florida.

According to a new report from Rented.com, the land of sunshine and white sand holds more profitable vacation rental markets than any other state in the country, with 19 Floridian cities poised to earn homeowners more bang for their buck in 2019. And if what you’re looking for is the maximum return on your beach house investment, you should look no further than the panhandle town of Panama City Beach, which beat out all other coastal towns for its affordability and popularity as a year-round vacation destination.

Drone Aerial Beach View of Panama City Beach, Florida, USA during Spring Break.

The annual report from the property management site, which analyzes trends in housing costs and tourism to forecast a destination’s rental success, culled together a ranking of 150 best places to buy a vacation property in 2019. Of the top 25, six are located in Florida, with Panama City Beach coming in highest at number 3, a drop from its first place position in 2018. (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, owns this year’s top honor.)

To determine a market’s rental potential, Rented.com looked at factors including real estate prices, property taxes, and average maintenance costs, as well as rental and occupancy rates, rental property demand, and any legal regulations that might make renting short-term on platforms like Airbnb difficult. Because of the latter, many urban markets fell off the hot list this year, paving the way for affordable, traditional vacation markets to step in.

“The trend this year is to focus on markets that are as recession resistant as they come,” reads the report. “They are established vacation destinations where family traditions are made. They remain affordable family destinations even during an economic downturn.”

As a vacation capital, Florida is an obvious choice for a rental property investment. And with hundreds of miles of attractive shoreline peppered with small- to medium-sized beach towns, occupancy rates tend to be high year-round while competition can be low. Throw in the fact that you can score an oceanside home for less than $200k in some cities, and, really, there’s no reason not to buy a beachfront escape in Florida as soon as possible.

Agreed? Check out the 10 Florida destinations with the highest projected ROI for rental property owners below, and get the full list of 150 destinations here.

  1. Panama City Beach: Median Listing Price: $325k | Estimated Rental Income: $20,000
  2. Palm Coast: Median Listing Price: $220k | Estimated Rental Income: $33,000
  3. Jacksonville: Median Listing Price: $215k | Estimated Rental Income: $35,500
  4. Navarre: Median Listing Price: $260k | Estimated Rental Income: $39,000
  5. Kissimmee: Median Listing Price: $224k | Estimated Rental Income: $20,500
  6. Cape San Blas: Median Listing Price: $224k | Estimated Rental Income: $66,500
  7. Cocoa Beach: Median Listing Price: $360k | Estimated Rental Income: $30,500
  8. Fort Myers: Median Listing Price: $199k | Estimated Rental Income: $24,000
  9. Miami Beach: Median Listing Price: $519k | Estimated Rental Income: $61,000
  10. Davenport: Median Listing Price: $235k | Estimated Rental Income: $25,500