NJ beach town is country’s top vacation destination, Zillow says

When it comes to the most sought-after place to vacation in the U.S., Lavallette is No. 1, according to a newly released analysis by online real estate marketplace Zillow.

In the website’s list of most popular markets for searches in 2022, the Ocean County community beat out towns in Florida (Indian Rocks) and California (South Tahoe Lake) to be named a top summer vacation destination.

“Lavallette features long, sandy beaches for swimming, surfing and fishing in the Atlantic, space for bocce, tennis and rollerblading; and opportunities for crabbing, sailing and other water sports in Barnegat Bay,” Zillow wrote in its report, noting that the town is a hot spot for New York City residents, as well as retirees.

In general, vacation areas have seen a surge in popularity as remote work make them viable for visits longer than just holidays and weekends.

Zillow's most popular markets of 2022

Zillow’s most popular markets of 2022 – ZILLOW


Between 2019 and 2020, applications for mortgages in vacation areas rose 30%, particularly around mountains and coasts, a Zillow review of Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data found.

Applicants for vacation home mortgages across the U.S. earned more than twice the median household income as applicants for primary homes ($170,000 compared with $79,000) and skewed much older, with the majority of second-home applications coming from Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

Rounding out the rest of Zillow’s top 2022 markets are Prairie Village, Kan. (most popular overall), Grand Rapids, Mich. (most popular large city), Beverly, Mass. (most popular seaside town), Dunedin, Fla. (most popular retirement town), Windham, N.H. (most popular small town), Tempe, Ariz. (top college town),

For the list, Zillow analyzed thousands of ZIP codes within the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas to compile the site’s most popular U.S. cities and whittled down its rankings based on factors such as pageview traffic, available housing inventory, sales and price appreciation.

“The most popular places on Zillow showcase a few trends we’ve noticed over the course of the year — most notably that affordability has become the chief driver of the market. The Midwest and most Northeastern markets saw relatively small run-ups in home values over the course of the pandemic, and now are still affordable enough for residents to shop in,” said Anushna Prakash, economic data analyst at Zillow.

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