Buying a home in 2022 has become very expensive. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller US National Home Price Index, which tracks the purchase prices of single family homes, says that prices rose 19.2% in the one-year period ending in January 2022. When you add in proximity to the water, prices can be even more discouraging. However, there are some cities that are more affordable than others when it comes to owning a beachfront property.
To uncover the most affordable beach towns, SmartAsset analyzed data for 211 beach towns and ranked them by four key real estate metrics: average home sale price, average number of rooms per house, median monthly property taxes paid and monthly housing costs. For details on our data sources and how we put all the information together to create our final rankings, read the Data and Methodology section below.
This is SmartAsset’s seventh study on the most affordable beach towns in America. Check out the previous version here.
- The top three cities claim the same rankings a year later. Biloxi and Gulfport in Mississippi and Port Arthur in Texas rank in the top three for a second consecutive year. While most housing costs for these top cities increased slightly since last year’s study, Gulfport saw a minor decrease in median property taxes paid.
- Mississippi and Florida dominate the top 10. Seven out of 10 cities at the top of our list are located in Mississippi and Florida. For Mississippi, these include Biloxi, Gulfport, Ocean Springs and Bay St. Louis. And for Florida, Pensacola, Daytona Beach and Fort Walton Beach also rank in the top 10. In all seven cities, the average home sale price between March 2021 and February 2022 was less than $305,000.
- Top beach towns pay significantly lower property taxes and housing costs. On average across the top 10 beach towns in our study, homeowners pay $1,231 in median annual property taxes and $839 in median monthly housing costs. Comparatively, on average across the bottom top 10 cities, homeowners pay $8,885 and $3,036 in median annual property taxes and median monthly housing costs, respectively.
1. Biloxi, MS
Biloxi, Mississippi is again the most affordable beach town in 2022. The average sale price of a home in this city is about $229,800, which ranks eighth-lowest for this metric. The average number of rooms per house is 6.4. Residents can expect to pay just about $800 in monthly housing costs (ranking seventh-best) and roughly $1,200 in annual property taxes (ranking 12th-best).
2. Gulfport, MS
The average home sale price in Gulfport, Mississippi is $166,583, ranking third-best for this metric, and houses boast an average of 6.1 rooms. Annually, the median property taxes paid are nearly $1,100 (ranking ninth-best) while monthly, residents can expect to pay $822 on housing costs (ranking eighth-best).
3. Port Arthur, TX
Port Arthur, Texas ranks best overall for its average home sale price ($127,917) out of the total 198 cities analyzed. Houses in this area have an average of 5.8 rooms. Residents can expect to pay roughly $1,100 for annual property taxes (ranking seventh-best) and just under $500 for monthly housing costs (ranking second-best).
4. Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach is the only South Carolina city in the top 10, jumping up from 13th place in 2021 to fourth in 2022. This beach town also ranks in the top 15 across three metrics: third-best median property taxes ($909), 10th-best average home sale price ($234,750) and 12th-best for monthly housing costs ($885).
5. Pensacola, FL (Tie)
Pensacola ranks as the most affordable beach town in Florida. The average sale price for a home is $240,417 (ranking 13th-best) and a house in this area has an average of 6.4 rooms. Annual property taxes will set a Pensacola resident back about $1,400 (ranking 18th-best) and monthly housing costs hover just above $1,000 (ranking 27th-best).
5. Ocean Springs, MS (Tie)
Located to the right of the Biloxi Bay Bridge, Ocean Springs is the third Mississippi city to rank in the top 10. Out of the four metrics in our analysis, Ocean Springs ranks highest for the average home sale price with $221,917 (seventh-best). Houses in this city have an average of 6.7 rooms, the highest-ranking figure across our top 10 towns. However, both median property taxes paid ($1,442) and monthly housing costs ($1,144) are the highest (and lowest-ranking) of any in the top 10.
7. Bay St. Louis, MS
Just a 45-minute drive from Biloxi, Missouri's Bay St. Louis ranks seventh-best in our study. This city places 19th-best for the median property taxes paid ($1,394) and 21st-best for both the average home sale price ($278,833) and monthly housing costs ($962). Houses in this area have an average of 6.3 rooms.
8. Freeport, TX
In Freeport, Texas, residents have the lowest monthly housing costs ($450) in the study and the median property taxes paid hovers just below $1,100 (ranking eighth-best). Freeport also ranks fourth-best for its home sale price (averaging $202,417).
9. Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Beach, Florida claims the No. 9 spot for the second year in a row. Average homes here cost $216,917 (sixth-best) and monthly housing costs are $758. Median property taxes paid are $1,355 (15th-best). Finally, the average number of rooms per house (5.6) is lower than similarly priced houses in other beach towns, ranking 140th for this metric.
10. Fort Walton Beach, FL
Fort Walton Beach, Florida is a newcomer to the top 10, previously ranked 11th in 2021. This city also has the highest average home sale price of the top 10 ($303,833), but the average number of rooms per house is high, at 6.5. When it comes to additional costs, the median property taxes paid are just over $1,400 (21st-best) and monthly housing costs are nearly $1,100 (34th-best).
Data and Methodology
To find the most affordable beach towns in the country, SmartAsset compared 198 places including cities, towns and census-designated places located directly on an ocean (including bays and sounds). Specifically, we examined the following four metrics:
- Average home sale price. Data comes from Redfin and reflects home sale prices between March 2021 and February 2022.
- Number of rooms. This is the average number of rooms per house. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2020 5-year American Community Survey.
- Property taxes. This is the median, annual property taxes paid. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2020 5-year American Community Survey.
- Monthly housing costs. This is the median, monthly housing costs. Data comes from the Census Bureau’s 2020 5-year American Community Survey.
First, we ranked each city in each metric. Next, we found each city’s average ranking, assigning an equal weight to each metric except for the average number of rooms, which received a half weight. We then ranked cities according to this average. The city with the best average ranking received a 100. The city with the worst average ranking received a 0.
Tips for Home Buying
- Know what costs to expect. Stepping into your dream home means taking on more than just a mortgage. SmartAsset offers free tools to understand what your closing costs could be and how much to expect to pay in property taxes.
- Give yourself an advantage. You may have a lot of questions about the home buying process. Don’t worry - we compiled a list of books that you should read before buying a home that help make this important financial decision less daunting.
- Work with an expert. A financial advisor can help you get a clear understanding of your assets before you buy a home. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
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