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Now's the time to buy a vacation home

The price of vacation homes dropped about 11 percent from 2009 prices.

The price of vacation homes dropped about 11 percent from 2009 prices.

The median price of vacation homes in 2010 was $150,000, down 11.2 percent from 2009's average of $169,000, according to HomeAway as part of the National Association of Realtors' 2011 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey. Thirty-eight percent of buyers purchased vacation homes last year because of the lower prices.

"Vacation homes are more attainable than ever for consumers of all ages, thanks to attractive prices and the fact that people can rent them to travelers to help offset costs," said HomeAway Chief Executive Brian Sharples.

In 2010, the typical buyer of a vacation home was 49 years old, had a median household income of $99,500 and moved into a property that was an average distance of 375 miles from their primary residence, the Chicago Tribune reported.

A popular vacation spot for Midwesterners is Galena, Illinois, where 80 percent of vacation home buyers are from Chicago. The Galena Territory resort had 142 homes on the market in the first half of 2011 with an average price of $283,000, selling at an average of $233,000, a Galena broker told the Chicago Tribune. According to the National Association of Realtors, one in 10 real-estate transactions in 2009 was for a vacation home, the Wall Street Journal reported.