1. Marion, NC
Median home price in March: $344,500
Increase in second-home sales percentage: 21.8%
Known as “Where Main Street Meets the Mountain,” Marion is situated in Western North Carolina at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Just an hour and a half by car from Charlotte, Marion boasts a quaint downtown and easy access to hiking trails.
The Marion area offers an affordable alternative to nearby Asheville, a popular destination known for its thriving arts, brewery, and dining scenes.
“It’s a stone’s throw away, but you tend to get more bang for your buck and also get more elbow room,” says Ameliah Davidson, a real estate agent with Greybeard Realty. (For reference, the median list price for homes in Ashville was $492,000 in March.)
The town’s historic Main Street is home to shops, restaurants and breweries, and a seasonal farmers market. There is also camping and fishing at nearby Lake James as well as several golf courses and a couple of water parks not far from town.
Cabins in the woods are most popular here, especially if there aren’t too many neighbors around, Davidson says.