Barrons’ Twenty Best Places to Buy a Second Home: Highlands, North Carolina

Highlands, North Carolina Real EstateFor second homes in America’s most affluent locations, the past year was ugly. No way else to describe it. Median home prices were down 50% in North Lake Tahoe, and 44% on Martha’s Vineyard, to cite two examples.

Last year was brutal for second homes in the nation’s most affluent areas. But the market is firming up again. Here’s our list, expanded to 20 sites, for those seeking top-tier refuges.

The mountain spa town known for its crisp air is on the cusp of becoming a destination. In 2001, billionaire A.O. Williams bought what is now known as the Old Edwards Inn and reopened it fully renovated three years later. The redo was so successful that Conde Nast Traveler gave Williams’ spa its top honors in 2010. Real estate here seems soft, but elevation and views, such as Ravenel Ridge and Bowery Road, hold their own.

Properties like Wolf Ridge, not for sale, get a steady stream of unsolicited bids. Shop McCulley’s for Scottish cashmere sweaters and Bascom Art Center for Moulthrop wooden bowls. Highland Hiker, owned by Mayor David Wilkes, caters to naturalists and fly fishermen heading into the surrounding mountains. Another draw is the Highlands Country Club golf course, built in 1928 and responsible for honing the skills of the most successful amateur golfer ever, Bobby Jones.

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