IRVINE, CA—According to a recent report from RealtyTrac,the top 20 beach-town housing markets in the country are mostlylocated in the West—Hawaii and California, to be exact—with theremainder in Florida. The firm rated markets based on home values,weather, air quality and crime rates.

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For the report, RealtyTrac first selected the top 100 best beachtowns based on four criteria: average temperature, percent of sunnydays, percent of days with good air quality and crime rates. Thetop 100 towns based on these criteria were then sorted by medianvalue of single-family homes and condos, from lowest to highest.The top 20 markets all had median home values below $1 million.

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According to Daren Blomquist, VP of RealtyTrac,“Buying near the beach is one of the best ways to ensure a propertywill appreciate in value. Whether buying for retirement, a vacationhome or a primary residence, homes located in quality beach townsbenefit from virtually unlimited demand and a finite supply of landto build on.”

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Hawaii accounted for 11 of the top 20 beach-town housingmarkets, the most of any state, led by Waianae in Honolulu Countyon the island of Oahu. Waianae has an average temperature of 76degrees, 74% sunny days and 100% days with good air quality and arelatively low median home value of $309,328. Other Hawaii beachtowns among the top 20 were Wailuku at #4, Kahului at #7 Kihei at#9 and Lahaina at #12—all on the island of Maui—and Ewa Beach at#8, Waipahu at #10, Honolulu at #13, Pearl City at #14, Kaneohe at#15 and Kailua at #18—all on the island of Oahu.

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Meanwhile, five California beach towns were in the top 20, ledby Los Osos in San Luis Obispo County on the Central Coast of thestate. The town of about 15,000 had an average temperature of 60degrees, 78% sunny days, 100% good air-quality days and an Acrime-rate grade. Its $418,403 median home value was the lowestamong all California beach towns on the list and ranked it #6 amongthe top 20.

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Other California beach towns among the top 20 were Morro Bay at#11, also on the state's Central Coast, along with the OrangeCounty towns of Dana Point at #16, Seal Beach at #17 and SanClemente at #19.

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Four of the top 20 were in Florida, led by Hobe Sound, a town ofless than 15,000 located in Martin County. The market has anaverage temperature of 76 degrees, 64% sunny days, 98% of days withgood air quality and a crime grade of A+. The town ranked #1 on thelist thanks to its low median estimated market value of homes andcondos of $191,189.

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For the complete list of top 20 beach-town housing markets,click here.

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As GlobeSt.com reported earlier this month, the number of UShomes repossessed by banks rose 4% in April from ayear ago, despite the fact that total US foreclosure activitydecreased 1% from the previous month and 20% from April 2013.According to a report from RealtyTrac, bankREOs were reported on 115,830 properties nationwide last month, andone in every 1,137 housing units had a foreclosurefiling during April.

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Carrie Rossenfeld

Carrie Rossenfeld is a reporter for the San Diego and Orange County markets on GlobeSt.com and a contributor to Real Estate Forum. She was a trade-magazine and newsletter editor in New York City before moving to Southern California to become a freelance writer and editor for magazines, books and websites. Rossenfeld has written extensively on topics including commercial real estate, running a medical practice, intellectual-property licensing and giftware. She has edited books about profiting from real estate and has ghostwritten a book about starting a home-based business.