Have $500,000? Here Are Five Waterfront Homes for You.
This amount of money can go further, depending on the location.
This article is part of our latest special report on Waterfront Homes, which focuses on living near, and sometimes even on, the water.
Waterfront living is hard to get for a bargain, said Julian Walker, the director of Spot Blue International Property, a global real estate company based in London. “Everyone wants to live close to the water, and it can be an expensive lifestyle, for sure,” he added.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t find a home. While Mr. Walker said that prices for waterfront properties differed significantly, depending on the destination — your money would go further in a small town on the Turkish coast, for example, or in parts of Asia, than it would in Miami — $500,000 is a modest budget for such a purchase.
“You won’t get a lot of amenities for that price and will likely be living in an apartment, versus a home, especially in an established location, but there are options,” Mr. Walker said.
Here is a look at residences in five destinations around the world that each cost approximately $500,000.
Price about $561,177
This lodge in Cornwall, a rugged area in southwest England, is within a 100-acre lakeside resort in the heart of the countryside, with a restaurant, a spa, an indoor pool, a gym and a children’s club and playground. There are numerous beaches within a 10-minute drive, and Cornwall Airport Newquay, which offers both domestic and international flights, is 15 minutes away. The coastline is full of historical villages and castle ruins, and water sports, including surfing, abound.
Size 1,194 square feet
The home Featuring a contemporary aesthetic, the single-story dwelling has three large bedrooms and bathrooms, and light wood flooring throughout. The kitchen has marble finishes, and the large windows overlooking the lake ensure natural light and picturesque views.
Outdoor space There’s a spacious exterior deck with a hot tub.
Taxes around $350 a month
In the heart of Playa del Carmen, a vibrant beachfront city, this condominium is part of Aldea Thai, an Asian-inspired building with rock gardens. Other amenities include an ocean-view pool with a swim-up bar, as well as a restaurant and a gym. A long white sand beach — one of the most popular in the area — is a half block away, while Fifth Avenue, a bustling thoroughfare with restaurants, stores and clubs, is a five-minute walk.
Size 1,500 square feet
The home With two bedrooms and bathrooms, it has ocean panoramas from both the living room and the master bedroom. The contemporary style includes dark wood finishes, marble floors, white walls and stainless steel appliances.
Outdoor space There’s a small terrace with water views.
Taxes $500 a year
Salema, a fishing village in the Western Algarve region of Portugal.Credit…Getty Images
Price 410,000 euros (about $500,750)
This two-story townhouse in Salema, a fishing village in the Western Algarve region, is within an oceanfront resort. The development has two pools, and the beach is a short walk away. There’s also a nearby golf club, where homeowners get discounted rates, and the region’s main airport, in Faro, is less than an hour’s drive. Numerous seafood restaurants are within walking distance.
Size 1,313 square feet
The home With a distinct Mediterranean feel, this two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse features unobstructed ocean views from both floors. The entry level has a spacious, open-concept living and dining area that leads to a modern kitchen. The ground level, below, has both bedrooms.
Outdoor space The property has a generous terrace, with ocean views, and a second smaller terrace off the kitchen on the entry level, as well as a small terrace on the ground level.
Taxes $3,600 a year
This apartment is on the island of Eleuthera, which is about a 30-minute flight from Nassau and known for its many scenic beaches, such as Twin Coves. It’s in a building in Governor’s Harbour, the island’s main hub, and within walking distance from the beach, restaurants and stores.
Size 1,500 square feet
The home Featuring uninterrupted water views, this two-bedroom, two bathroom turnkey apartment comes fully furnished with contemporary pieces, some in bright hues. The large windows, light wood floors and white finishes give it a bright and airy feel, and the large living and dining areas are ideal for entertaining.
Outdoor space The home has a spacious balcony.
Taxes .625 percent of home price annually
In a town that’s part of the upscale waterfront region of the Hamptons, this apartment is in a gated beachfront complex that has three other buildings. Shared amenities for residents include a heated pool, an outdoor shower, 24-hour security, parking and laundry. The hamlet of East Quogue is part of Southampton, which is full of notable restaurants and stores.
Size 565 square feet
The home This studio has a distinct beachy feel, with white cedar floors and large windows that overlook the bay and are prime viewing spots to catch picturesque sunsets. The full-size kitchen has white finishes and a long counter that doubles as a bar with seating. The sleeping area has a folding wooden partition for privacy.
Outdoor space The apartment has a bay-facing balcony that’s large enough to accommodate a table with four chairs.
Taxes about $40 a month, with $560 in homeowner fees
How To Spend Less for a Waterfront Home
Avoid top destinations Waterfront locations that already have a thriving real estate market and are in high demand are inevitably more expensive than less established spots. “You’re going to pay a markup on a property in a popular destination,” said Cicely Wedgeworth, managing editor for news and insights at realtor.com. If you’re keen on a particular location, but it’s out of your price range — Riviera Maya, Mexico, for example — you can probably find a less pricey home in a nearby region that offers the same beautiful beaches, but isn’t as well known.
Opt for a two-bedroom condo Rich Barnhart, owner of By the Sea Realty in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which sells waterfront properties, said two-bedroom waterfront apartments offer the most value. Homes that are three or four bedrooms are hard to come by and more costly because demand for them is so great. Mr. Barnhart added that one-bedroom condominiums tended not to hold their value and were not the best investment. However, they are an inexpensive option for second-home buyers who don’t need extra space and plan to hang on to the property.
Consider lakefront properties Generally, homes on or near lakes are more affordable than beachfront ones, Ms. Wedgeworth said. Buyers also have more choices to pick from. “There are more interior regions with lakes than there is coastline, which comes at a premium,” she said. “You can get more for your money and find a larger property for less on a lakefront.”
Forgo the amenities While most waterfront developments or buildings have swimming pools, expect to pay more for resort-style amenities like spas, restaurants and beachside food and cabana service. If these extras aren’t a priority, your cost of living — the home’s upfront price and its monthly maintenance fee — will be lower.
Location matters Where you buy within a particular destination or even within a building can significantly impact prices. Oceanfront properties, for instance, are more expensive than those that are a short walk to the water. “Oceanfront costs more to maintain and insure,” Mr. Barnhart said. “These buildings also tend to have round-the-clock security, which significantly increases monthly common charges.” Where your unit is situated in the building also changes the cost because homes with intracoastal or canal views command far lower prices than direct oceanfront properties.
Skip turnkey properties While fully furnished, renovated homes are popular options in waterfront markets, they are also more expensive than unfurnished properties that may need some work. “You’re going to pay a premium for the convenience of a home that’s ready to move into, but if you’re willing to undergo renovations yourself or live in a property that may be outdated, you can save a large amount of money,” Mr. Barnhart said.