In a recent ranking of the best beach town's by RealtyTrac, Hawaii held a slim majority over California and Florida with 11 of the top 20 beach markets in the nation. The company based its selections on four criteria: average temperature, percentage of sunny days, percentage of days with good air quality, and crime rates.
The top 100 towns were further sorted by median value of single family homes and condos (from lowest to highest). The top 20 markets all had median home values below $1 million.
"Buying near the beach is one of the best ways to ensure a property will appreciate in value," said Daren Blomquist, VP at RealtyTrac. "Whether buying for retirement, a vacation home or a primary residence, homes located in quality beach towns benefit from virtually unlimited demand and a finite supply of land to build on."
Four of the top 20 beach town housing markets were in Florida, with Hobe Sound, Florida grabbing the top spot. Naples, Florida followed closely behind in second, with Waianae, Hawaii; Wailuku, Hawaii; and Marco Island, Florida rounding out the top five.
Hobe Sound, Florida was the only city on the list to snare a crime grade of A+. The city has an average temperature of 76 degrees with 64 percent of sunny days a year. "Other Florida beach towns in the top 20 were Naples at No. 2 and Marco Island at No. 5—both in Southwest Florida—and Key Biscayne south of Miami at No. 20," the company reported.
The company added, "Other Hawaii beach towns among the top 20 were Wailuku at No. 4, Kahului at No. 7, Kihei at No. 9, and Lahaina at No. 12—all on the island of Maui—and Ewa Beach at No. 8, Waipahu at No. 10, Honolulu at No. 13, Pearl City at No. 14, Kaneohe at No. 15, and Kailua at No. 18—all on the island of Oahu."
California's top beach housing market was Los Osos, California in San Luis Obispo County on the central coast of the state, coming in sixth overall.