7 most lucrative second home destinations loved by U.S. Presidents

Published Date: February 7, 2023

A small lighthouse on a beach next to the ocean
On Presidents Day, many across the U.S. celebrate the nation’s past, present and future leaders with a restful day off. It's no secret that our commanders-in-chief, too, enjoy their own vacation time. From small towns in Texas to multi-generational coastal compounds, presidents across history have retreated to unique destinations for some R&R — many spending their time in a second home.In honor of the holiday, we analyzed seven second home destinations where U.S. presidents vacationed before, during, and after their time in office. Since history shows that luxury real estate remains resilient even during uncertain economic times, we also took a close look at the value of the POTUS-worthy destinations over the past year. So, which president chose the getaway spot with the greatest price appreciation? Hint: He was the 40th president of the United States.

Key takeaways

  • Seven Presidential second home destinations saw more than 11% year-over-year price appreciation
  • The largest YoY luxury home value increase was in Santa Barbara County, the home of the Reagan Ranch.
  • Duke’s County, Massachusetts — home to Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard estate — has the both the highest-priced luxury real estate and the lowest YoY price appreciation.
  • McClennan County, Texas has the lowest-priced luxury real estate with an average home price of $512,931.

1. Goleta, California (Ronald Reagan)

Six presidential getaway destinations saw more than 17% growth in median second home price from last year — with the biggest growth being 20.55% in Santa Barbara County. The average luxury home value in this California county almost doubled from $776,767 to $1,247,645 over a five year period.Santa Barbara County is not only home to the popular cities of Santa Barbara and Montecito, but also the chosen getaway destination for Los Angeles city dwellers and, previously, the Reagans. The famed Rancho del Cielo where President Ronald Reagan retreated with his family, also known as the “Western White House” is located in Goleta, California. The presidential ranch is situated atop the Santa Ynez Mountain overlooking "The Good Land," a breathtaking 10-mile stretch of beautiful coastal and agricultural land.
Credit: Young America’s Foundation
Photo Credit: Young America’s Foundation

2. Hyannis, Massachusetts (John F. Kennedy)

Barnstable County, Massachusetts recorded the next largest growth in second home price year over year with 19.73% increase. Barnstable County is home to the popular coastal community of Cape Cod and its associated islands.The picturesque seaside town has a rich history with the Kennedy family, which began in 1928 when President John F. Kennedy’s parents purchased a vacation home in Hyannis Port. JFK, his brother Ted and his sister Eunice later purchased the neighboring homes to bring to life the Kennedy Compound, a  three-house, six-acre waterfront property along Nantucket Sound."With serene beaches, quaint villages, colorful seafood shacks and lighthouses, the Cape embodies the best of New England charm and has long been a popular destination for second home owners and seasonal travelers," said Pacaso Co-Founder and CEO Austin Allison.
Credit: Vincent DeWitt
Photo credit: Vincent DeWitt

3. Rancho Mirage, California (Henry Ford)

Coming in third is Riverside County, California, where the 38th President Gerald Ford retreated at one time. The county saw a 19.61% price appreciation in its luxury home prices from 2021 to 2022. Most interesting is chance in price appreciation prior, during and following the pandemic — second home prices were up 4.24% year over year in 2020 but skyrocketed to a 20.66% growth in 2021, showcasing the demand surge for second homes after the onset of the pandemic.Nestled in Rancho Mirage between Palm Springs and Palm Desert, Ford’s home sat on the 13th hole of the iconic Thunderbird Country Club. The popular desert city is home nearly 300 days of California sun and great golf, and has long been a popular getaway for Hollywood and influential celebrities alike including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball, and of course, Gerald and Betty Ford.
Credit: The Times
Photo credit: Anson Smart

4. Crawford, Texas (George W. Bush)

Perhaps the smallest town on this list of presidential second homes is Crawford, Texas in McClennan County, and the home away from home of Laura and George W. Bush. While Crawford’s population is less than 1,000 people strong, the central Texas county saw a 18.98% increase in the value of luxury homes from 2021 to 2022, perhaps due to the charming county seat of Waco.Waco is approximately 35 miles east of the "Bush Ranch" and offers plenty for locals and visitors alike to do and explore, from Baylor University and Cameron Park to delicious barbecue, unique boutiques and more. The stars of popular home show "Fixer Upper" and owners of Magnolia, Chip and Joanna Gaines call Waco home and have also attracted fans to the central Lone Star state town who visit the Magnolia Market & Silos.The luxury home price in McClennan County is the lowest on the list with a $512,931 average.
Credit: Wyman Meinzer
Photo credit: Wyman Meinzer

5. Rehoboth, Delaware (Joe Biden)

Sussex County, Delaware saw an 18.27% year-pver-year increase in the value of luxury homes year over year. Sussex County is home to numerous seaside resorts and popular beach towns such as Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach, Fenwick Island, Lewes, and Rehoboth Beach. Properly nicknamed “The Nation’s Summer Capital” due to its popularity amongst politicians and its proximity to Washington, D.C., Rehoboth is the current escape for POTUS Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden. The Delaware-native had been vacationing to Rehoboth for decades prior to purchasing his second home in 2017. During Biden’s presidency, he and the First Lady have been seen in perusing Browseabout Books, grabbing an ice cream scoop at Double Dippers and strolling on Gordons Pond Trail, amongst others.
Credit: Google Maps
Photo credit: Google Maps

6. Kennebunkport, Maine (George H.W. Bush)

The value of luxury homes in Maine's York County increased 17.16% from 2021 to 2022. The southern Maine county is home to the charming coastal city of Kennebunkport, widely known as one of New England's most popular tourist destinations. President George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, inherited a "Summer White House" retreat in the town of Kennebunkport, rightfully named "Walker's Point Estate." Similar to JFK’s Massachusetts compound, Walker’s Point Estate consists of three family-owned properties and has long served as a multi-generational getaway destination for the Bush family.
Credit: George W. Bush Presidential Center
Photo credit: George W. Bush Presidential Center

7. Edgartown, Massachusetts (Barack Obama)

Dukes County, Massachusetts saw an 11.11% increase in the value of luxury homes from 2021 to 2022. The county consists of the island of Martha's Vineyard, the Elizabeth Islands, the island of Nomans Land and other islets.While the entire county only has a population of about 20,600, the largest island in the county is Martha’s Vineyard, which has long been a popular vacation home destination. The island is famous for its miles of public beaches, quaint shops and restaurants. In 2019, Barack and Michelle Obama bought a slice of Martha’s Vineyard by way of a 29-acre, seven-bedroom and eight-and-a-half-bath estate for $11.25 million. Despite having the lowest value increase year over year of the seven presidential second home destinations we analyzed, Dukes County has an average home price of $2,590,922 — the highest priced real estate of these markets.
Credit: LandVest
Photo credit: LandVest


To compile this report, Pacaso analyzed luxury real estate activity in counties where U.S. Presidents owned second homes and examined average values of homes in the top 20% of those markets and the year-over-year percentage changes. Home price data was provided by Zillow, MLS data sources, and real estate analytics firm Optimal Blue.

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Chrissy Bruchey

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