6 U.S. Islands Where You Can Buy a Home for Under $150k

Find out where to look for bargain island homes without needing to travel abroad.

Island living sounds like a dream, but the cost prevents most of us from making that dream a reality. However, the U.S. is full of islands where buying a vacation home is more accessible than you might think. So before you grab your passport in search of affordable island homes, give these six U.S. destinations a second look. With any luck (and the help of our tips), you'll score a vacation property that will fit into even the most modest buyer's budget.

Guayama, Puerto Rico

Island view of San Juan, Puerto Rico
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The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory in the Caribbean. Outside the mainland, there are smaller islands, such as Culebra and Vieques, that are breathtaking too. Some people come for vacation but fall in love with the culture—a mix of indigenous Taino, European, and African peoples. With an abundance of direct flights to/from various cities on the east coast and Midwest, there are many transplants from the lower 48 states.

What $150,000 Will Buy You

At any given time, there are several hundred properties under $150,000 for sale. Many inexpensive properties are inland or in some state of despair—ideal for DIY buyers with imagination. But turnkey beach lovers also have a lot to choose from. For example, at $100,000, you can purchase a two-bed, one-bath home in Guayama—near Jobos Bay Natural Research Reserve.

To stay closer to the action in the capital of San Juan, condos near the University of Puerto Rico are solid choices. Investors with an eye for the long game can find value in fourplexes in Canovanas. But beware that even if a favorite comes in well under budget, the town may not allow short-term vacation rentals.

Key West, Florida

High angle view of sea against sky,Big Pine Key,Florida,United States,USA
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The Flordia Keys are known for being fun for the whole family, snowbirds or retirees, spring breakers, and party lovers. These 137 square miles of tropical escapes are hard to forget, and this might just be where you want to put down some island home roots.

What $150,000 Will Buy You

Key Largo and Islamorada are off-limits for budget buys, but Key West, Florida's southernmost point, has a few small condos available in the Santa Clara community that fit the bill. Alternatively, there are some boathouses docked in Marathon just waiting for their next adventurous (and budget-friendly) owner.

Kurtistown, Hawaii

Scenic aerial views of Kauai, Hawaii from above
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Shocked to see Hawaii on a list for cheap properties? Well, it goes to show that no matter how hot the market gets, there's always a deal to be had. With over 1.4 million people spread across 137 islands, the Hawaiian archipelago has nooks and crannies to keep nature lovers enthralled and beach babies satisfied.

What $150,000 Will Buy You

This state has been a champion for sustainable development and eco-tourism. If you're searching for a pocket-sized island home in Hawaii, there are dozens of properties available for under $150,000. Hidden gems include tiny houses sitting on large lots near the Kilauea Caverns of Fire in Kurtistown, HI, and small cabins in the Ohi'a forest.

Smith Island, Maryland

Scenic sunset view of Smith Island, Maryland
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Maryland has over 280 named islands, and the Eastern Shore is the heart of the Chesapeake Bay boat culture. While the state has some affordable real estate, its bay and seaside coastlines aren't typically where you can find it. With the help of the Maryland Office of Tourism, we found a few nontraditional ways to get the best value for this price range.

What $150,000 Will Buy You

These islands are more marshland than white sand, making them ideal for people who love fishing, hunting, crabs, and crayfish. An affordable island home in Fishing Creek is just shy of $200,000, but farther south, there are more homes right on budget. For example, a home on Deal Island that sold for $109,900 was marketed as just a quarter-mile away from public hunting and fishing areas.

There are also multiple lots available for someone who wants to build from scratch or just come with their RV. Search in areas like Smith Island, nestled in the Tangier Sound, which is the home of Maryland's Official State Dessert. Although this island is surrounded by marshland, many houses there would close under budget.

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Ocean view of Charlotte Amalie Overlook, USVI
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The U.S. Virgin Islands are best known for the three largest isles: St. John, St. Croix, and St. Thomas. But there are over 50 smaller cays and islands in this archipelago. This territory may be synonymous with luxury real estate and seaplanes, but for the discerning budget buyer, there are always a handful of homes that could become a vacation paradise.

What $150,000 Will Buy You

St. Croix tends to be the most affordable of the three spots, although timeshares in St. John are available for under $150,000—depending on how long and where you'd like to stay. For a true vacation home, however, there was a $149,000 condo with "cathedral ceilings" available for sale in Queen's Ridge. Also, there was a top floor, corner unit in a gated community outside of Christiansted that was priced just above budget at $165,000.

Mustang Island, Texas

Horace Caldwell Pier on Mustang Island in Corpus Christi, Texas on a sunny day
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This 18-mile-long island off Corpus Christi is beloved for its beaches and powdery sand. The food and hospitality of Port Aransas are just part of the reason why people fall in love with this barrier island off the Gulf of Mexico. The state park is ideal for campers, and the summers are full of local tourists.

What $150,000 Will Buy You

Real estate under $150,000 tends to be RV slips and vacant land ready for a fresh build, but there are also a handful of condos selling in this sweet spot. For example, you can easily purchase and decorate a studio unit at this price point, which would be fine if you plan to vacation and spend most of your time outside.

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