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Vacation (or Second Home) Ownership
Vacation homes have been with us for as long as humankind has needed a vacation.

The vacation home is about “getting away from it all.” Most people who own a vacation property have a perfectly nice home elsewhere. The change their looking for is not just about fresh air and a place to swim, but about a different set of priorities.

A second home is about sleeping in or getting up even earlier than usual to do some fishing. It’s about having a safe haven for family and friends or from the rest of the world. Second homes are where batteries are recharged, where harried souls can decompress.

The second home is synonymous with escape. And with a perfect second home, the escaping is to - not from. Owning a second home is and should be an affair of the heart. Yet you need to balance the emotional appeal of a second home with solid information. Maybe your thinking of renting it out occasionally, perhaps selling it eventually, or you plan to retire there sometime in future.

People buy vacation homes for different reasons: for their own personal use or also as a rental investment. In any case, it's usually their largest and most intimate investment.

We know the Texas Gulf Coast and why some like one area over another. Also which areas are a better investment based on the amount of money you are wanting to invest. If you are looking to the Texas Coast - and you are wise to do so - give us a call, and let us help you make the most of it.
Texas Gulf Coast Community and Location
Texas Gulf Coast Vacation Home Community and Location Information

Vacation Home Real Estate on the Texas Coast is the most profitable and enjoyable investment within reach of the average person.


The long term merits of stock ownership vs. real estate ownership are debatable, yet here are the top 3 standard arguments in favor of real estate plus one more:
  1. Real Estate prices are less volatile – they change more slowly and in a much smaller degree than stocks.
  2. Real Estate is leveraged – the actual cash investment is typically only 10 to 20%.
  3. Real Estate is tax advantaged – interest and capital gains are tax deductable.
  4. Texas Coast Real Estate is priceless compared to stock certificates - you can live in it.
    • Walking on the beach, boating, fishing, watching the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets – this is quality of life – and priceless.
    • These benefits apply to you, your children, your renters or your future buyers.
    • Yes - we still have oceanfront property for less than $200k.
The Real Estate Mantra is Location-Location-Location

You really only NEED to decide how much you can afford and how far you are willing to travel. Once you’ve established those needs, you can focus on your DESIRES. In general it is better to be closer to your primary residence - you can enjoy the property more often and manage it much easier.

The closer the property is to the water or the golf course the more valuable it is. Also, safety is becoming more and more of a concern and this trend favor’s areas farther away from places having crime issues.

The Texas Coast has it all and here are the 10 top ideas from the experts about choosing a second home location:
  1. Buy near the water.
  2. Buy within easy reach of a major population center.
  3. Choose a durable property that can withstand the stress of storms, renters and time.
  4. Choose an area that is relatively free from crime.
  5. Hire a reputable, effective and affordable property manager.
  6. Stay close to home – within a 2 hrs drive.
  7. Choose a quality neighborhood where the residents actively participate and care about its future.
  8. Choose a property that has desirable features for renters – easy to get to, close to recreational activities, close to the water, has a pool and large common areas.
  9. Choose a property that will be inexpensive to cool. Energy efficient homes are a must on the coast and the difference in utility bills can be thousands of dollars a year.
  10. Choose a location that will appreciate in value over time.
Choose a location that will appreciate in value over time.

The Texas Gulf Coast communities are all attractive to a large pool of buyers and renters – both short term and long term. Within these communities you want to identify an area or a specific property that will have the greatest chance to track or beat the market.

Being close to the water is the single biggest factor in property value and the amount of shoreline is limited. Therefore, most waterfront property is not only taken – but at its maximum price. If you can afford it, this is a proven investment.

If you cannot afford the premium waterfront properties, then you need to get in early on new developments in areas on the edges of the more popular ones.

Fortunately in the Texas Coast, we still have some of these areas. The key is to track the market fundamentals of these new areas to validate their potential for long term success and also to consider the financial strength and reputation of the developers. Choose one you find most attractive and buy into it.

We have several to choose from on the Texas Coast depending on your location and recreational preferences.

Some other factors to consider:
  1. What major employment, transportation, or development projects are on the drawing board - and is there government involvement - and when will these projects begin to effect jobs and the housing market.
  2. The rental demand and price of investment vs. annual rental income potential.
  3. Are there large capital investments being made in the local area that will increase population, or make the area more attractive and functional for housing development.
  4. Migration trends to the area - for retirement, climate, jobs, affordability, opportunities, etc.
  5. How close is the property to major population centers
  6. Will the area appeal to the 75 million Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964, who are about to retire in mass in 2010.
Take a look at our overviews of each of the Texas Gulf Coast resort areas to get an idea of which area(s) are most appealing to you – and then let us help you find a property that is ideally suited to your needs and desires.

It’s all good on the Texas Gulf Coast!
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Information
Reasons Given by Adults Age 40+ who are likely to relocate when they retire:
  • Overall cost of living 92%
  • Climate 81%
  • Cost of healthcare 76%
  • Ease of transportation 69%
  • Proximity to friends and family 49%
Harris Interactive conducted this online survey on behalf of Longevity Alliance between September 17 and September 19, 2007 among 1,509 U.S. adults ages 40+, of whom 381 are likely to relocate when they retire.
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Texas Gulf Coast Resort Communities
The sandy beaches, warm waters and various activities give the Texas Coast an irresistible allure.

Texas is one of the nation’s fastest growing states and strongest economies. Texas has now been named as the number one state in economic development by Business Facilities magazine. A total of $15.4 billion in investment and 9,335 jobs to be created have qualified it as State of the Year for 2007.

With this kind of economic strength and population growth, residents of Texas’ metropolises alone provide a large continual supply of buyers for our coastal properties. Factor in the growing interest we have from out-of-state and international buyers - and our future never looked better.

Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Austin ranked among the nation’s top thriving cities. Almost all the resort areas on the Texas Gulf Coast are within a two hour drive away from a large metropolis.

Port Aransas is just minutes away from Corpus Christi and a two hour drive from San Antonio and Austin. Rockport and Port O’Connor are close to San Antonio and Austin.

Houston is less than an hour away from Galveston and about an hour away from the Bolivar Peninsula.

Beaumont Port Arthur is less than an hour from the Bolivar Peninsula. With energy companies investing nearly 20 billion dollars in the Beaumont Port Arthur area, the Bolivar Peninsula is experiencing tremendous growth.
South Padre Island
South Padre Island is one of our "Branded" areas on the Texas coast known worldwide. It's long term success is also assured.

South Padre has the bluest water, whitest sand and the only true tropical climate - providing a year-round warm climate.

Yet, South Padre is the only Texas Gulf Coast area not located within a two-hour drive from a major Texas metropolis. It is however, within a 3-hr drive from Monterrey, Mexico and only an hour drive away from the Rio Grande Valley.

The island attracts people from all over the world, but the main source of buyers come from three different places.
  1. Monterrey, Mexico
  2. Rio Grande Valley
  3. In-state and Out-of-state visitors just a plane ride away

Mexican buyers have been a strong sector in 2007 for South Padre due to the weak dollar and strong oil prices. Mexico’s economy is heavily influenced by oil prices due to a large part of their GDP coming from this industry. Many Monterrey natives visit the island over Easter break with their families and have seen the rental income potential for the area.

While investments from Mexican “nationals” increased in 2007, this has not offset the weak national buyers sector. Consumer hesitancy has stemmed once again from a depressed national home market due to negative news regarding real estate investments and the high-risk mortgage problems.

Thus, total sales decreased by $58 million, yet median price showed a small increase of $1,000. The average month supply was 30 months and the average spread rose to approximately $45K.

Developers have increased supply causing many motivated sellers to lower their asking price. Most homeowners can wait out the return of the national buyer’s pool, which is why we think median prices will hold in the coming year.

We see the current downturn in South Padre as temporary. As the home market recovers, second home buyers looking for retirement or those looking for investment opportunities will once again flock to internationally popular South Padre Island.

The tropical resort of the Texas Coast.
Galveston Island
Galveston Island is one of our "Branded" resorts known worldwide - less than an hour away from Houston and has long been a favorite weekend destination of Houstonians. Galveston's long term success is assured.

Houston ranks as the largest city in Texas and ranks as the fourth largest city by population nationwide, according to the US Census Bureau. Known as the “nation’s energy capital,” Houston economic strength is due mainly to its energy industry which translates into an extraordinary large buyer pool for second homes.

Real estate sales in Galveston did not demonstrate a significant decrease. The difference between 2006 and 2007 was just $192K. The median price rose to 239K from 225K in 2006. At the rate property was sold in 2007, there is currently an 18 average monthly supply and the spread was approximately $18K. These fundamentals suggest that while the market may not have been as strong in the past years, it still remains steady.

The Galveston real estate market slowdown in 2007 was influenced by the following factors:
  1. Beach erosion issues
  2. Crime levels: Inner-city crime numbers need to be controlled and they are working hard on that.
  3. Real estate national news: created hesitancy among buyers
  4. Home Insurance cancelations: the huge concentration of high-valued property available in the area has made insurance companies nervous of losing a large amount of money in an event of a hurricane like Katrina.
  5. Inventory Supply: builders didn’t anticipate national problems which in turn would create buyer hesitancy.
Despite these factors, we anticipate an increase in demand for real estate in 2008. Besides its local economic strength, Houston attracts many international visitors and with the weakened dollar the possibility of international investors in Galveston Island is high.

Galveston has more attractions, housing choices and recreational opportunities than any other Texas coast area.

If you want an active and varied lifestyle - come to Galveston where they have it all, including the Texas Coast's first mega-high-rise oceanfront skyscraper condominium resort, Palisade Palms - which rivals anything in the world.
Corpus Christi Port Aransas
Corpus Christi - The "Sparkling City of the Sea" ranks among the most visited cities in Texas, drawing scores of vacationers, spring breakers, prospective home buyers, and winter residents each year.

Located on prime real estate overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, Corpus offers a variety of business and recreational opportunities, boasting a downtown Arts District, Texas State Aquarium, and the resting place of the U.S.S. Lexington.

Unique wildlife environments, such as the Laguna Madre--one of only four hypersaline bays on the planet--keep fish stocks and preserves bustling with flora and fauna, which in turn provide excellent fishing, hunting, and ground cover along Texas beaches.

North Padre Island is considered a “last frontier” in waterfront real estate development, while the Western Seaboard is overpriced and overdeveloped, The future growth of North Padre Island is from the vacation market.

Port Aransas on Mustang Island is a growing waterfront community rich in property and natural beauty and is a town set to boom with its new enhancements such as a world class Arnold Palmer signature golf course and spectacular first class new urbanism resort developments.

Port Aransas still has reasonably priced lots and great locations.

Developments like Cinnamon Shore are set to combine residential and commercial areas, creating healthy investment opportunities and high returns.

The area's median price increased in 2007, but sales volume fell short of 2006 from buyer hesitancy attributed only to negative press about the national home market.

With strong sales from San Antonio's and Austin's elite - and numerous home buyers, we see the area as one of the best long term investments, because it's literally across the bay from the Corpus Christi metropolis offering the retirement population quick and easy access to every type of big city attraction and health care - yet it has remained isolated from big city crime issues.
Matagorda Bay Area
The Matagorda Bay area is the most rural and least expensive area of the Texas Coast.

Located between Galveston and Corpus Christi, the area is within driving distance of San Antonio and Austin.

The area is most popular to people who really want to get away from it all, yet the area also has some major new self-contained resorts under development, including the popular Sanctuary at Costa Grande.

The areas relatively low prices and sales volume made accurate sales forecasting of past and present difficult, but the general thinking is land prices have risen considerably over the past few years.

The most popular resort city is Port O'Connor which has is located right on the waterfront with direct access to the Gulf of Mexico passing the southern end of Matagorda Island.

The barrier Island in front of the area, Matagorda Island, has no electricity, concession, or drinking water and is currently undeveloped with no plans to develop it. The island is 38 miles long and is known for its seclusion and untouched natural beauty.

This area is a hunter and fisherman's dream location for a second home or retirement. Its lower prices, but lack of actual oceanfront property - and relative isolation of the area, should provide slow - but steady growth, in a very secluded, quiet and safe environment.
Bolivar Peninsula Crystal Beach
Crystal Beach located on the Bolivar Peninsula, was the only real estate market on the Texas coast which experienced significant sales growth in 2007.

The median Price also rose from $134K to $150K. The average spread between asking and selling price was among the lowest at 12,000 and its average month supply was one of the lowest on the coast.

Its proximity to Beaumont, Port Arthur and Houston as well as the fact that it’s not overbuilt, has made this a favorite destination for families looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Its low crime rate and small rural town feel as well as great boating and fishing activities have attracted people to the area for decades.

Most people are aware that the Texas Gulf Coast is considered a best bet for coastal resort property compared to the nation’s other coasts including California, Florida and the East Coast. And more are becoming aware that the Bolivar Peninsula offers the best value on the Texas Gulf Coast.
  • The Bolivar Peninsula was devistated by hurricane Ike September 12th 2008 and will take years to rebuild.
  • Bolivar has beautiful oceanfront property.
  • Modern utilities just became available: drinkable water, sewer, and Internet in the last two years making high-end resort development possible.
  • Modern and local construction techniques are providing hurricane resistant homes.
  • Bolivar’s shores are within driving distance of thriving Houston and Dallas’ large retirement population who are seeking a family oriented second home environment.
  • Bolivar’s oceanfront property cost less and has a greater potential for appreciation than other resort markets on the Texas Coast.
  • Rental demand exceeds supply.
A second home purchased on Bolivar today can actually pay for itself through rental income while it appreciates in value catching up with the other Texas resort coastal markets. Today, Bolivar Peninsula median home prices are almost half that of the other Texas Coast resort markets with the greatest potential for appreciation due to the large capital investments being made less than an hour away.
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