International vacation rental expert Vacasa.com has released its annual rankings of the Top 10 places in Florida to invest in vacation rentals, with five of its Top 10 locations coming from Northwest Florida.

The ins and outs of making money off vacation rentals probably seem pretty basic to those on the outside looking in.


Buy a home - not where you want to live - in a really cool place. Preferably by the water. Rent it out to strangers. Sit back and watch the money flow in.


To no one's surprise, it's quite a bit more complicated than that. And thanks to a new study from industry juggernaut vacasa.com, we know exactly what the best places are in Florida to buy a vacation home after they recently released their Top 10 rankings for the state.


Not surprisingly, several areas in Northwest Florida made the list; No. 3 Navarre Beach, No. 4 Panama City Beach, No. 6 Pensacola Beach, No. 8 Destin and No. 9 Miramar Beach.


Kissimmee, with its proximity to Disney World, came in at No. 1 with a cap rate of 6.9 percent and the lowest median home sale price in the Top 10 at 250,046.


The defining metric in Vacasa's study was capitalization rate - cap rate - which determines the yearly rate of return on an investment property.


To figure out cap rate, you need only determine the yearly income for the property per year, minus expenses and divide that by the purchase price.


So the higher the cap rate, the more money you're making on your rental property.


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In Navarre Beach, the cap rate is at 6.1 percent with the median sale price for homes sitting at $382,932 and had an estimated market annual gross rental value of approximately $45,000 per year. It was barely behind No. 2 Port St. Joe (6.2 percent).


Navarre Beach earned glowing praise from Vacasa, which also noted it was one of the smaller markets to make the list.


"The main attraction in Navarre is captured in just one word: relaxation," Vacasa wrote in its rankings. "The area's award-winning beaches are named among the nation's best year after year, and it's been noted that crossing the Navarre Beach Bridge feels like you're journeying into absolute bliss."


Panama City Beach, at No. 4, had what Vacasa called a "healthy" cap rate of 5.6 percent against a median home sale price of $289,757 and a rental value of approximately $35,000 per year.


While Navarre Beach earned praise for its relative seclusion, Panama City Beach earned praise for its proximity to amenities, including Pier Park, Ripley's Believe It or Not and Gulf World Marine Park.


At No. 8, Destin's inclusion on the list was notable because its median sale price of $476,332 trailed just No. 7 Key West ($652,530) and No. 10 Middle Keys ($537,839) in the top 10.


Destin had a cap rate of 4.7 percent against yearly rental value of approximately $44,000.


At No. 9, Miramar Beach had a cap rate of 4.6 percent, median sale price of $415,886 and yearly rental value of approximately $40,000.


"This South Walton neighborhood is another classic Florida charmer," Vacasa wrote. "One might argue that the best way to enjoy a Miramar Beach vacation is simply to kick back and soak up the sun."