OCEAN CITY – A leading online financial corporation has ranked Ocean City as one of the most popular towns to buy a vacation home.

“Families are jumping at the chance to make the second/vacation home purchase,” said Mark Fritschle, Condominium, Realty, LTD and Coastal Association of Realtors (CAR) member. “Interest rates are better than they have ever been and the potential tax savings on a second home can’t be beat.”

As mortgage rates remain low and banks become more lenient with lending, the demand for vacation homes is rising.

“Absorptions rates are higher and inventory is shrinking, which means there is a demand for new development,” said Sheila Dodson, Coastal Association of Realtors Executive Director. “After our inventory shrinks to a certain point, prices will have to go up. So now is the time to invest. Buy now and retire later. In the meantime, rent the property to start paying it off until you are ready to move in permanently.”

24/7 Wall Street, an online financial news corporation, first reviewed the 10 most searched places for vacation homes, on a real estate listing service. It looked at the median asking price in each area and ranked and published them accordingly. Marketwatch.com, an entity of the Wall Street Journal, recently republished the findings and reported Ocean City, Md., as number four on the list.

“Ocean City, Md. offers affordable beach front property paired with a wide variety of amenities and conveniences,” said Dodson.

According to Dodson, the numbers reflect the demand for beach front property in the resort town with a 114-percent increase in new contracts in 2013 over 2012; settlements up by 18 percent; and the average median sale price coming in at $275,000.

“Ocean City is a family oriented resort with easily accessible, free, public beaches and a multitude of peripheral resources surrounding the town,” said Joy Snyder of Prudential PenFed Realty and CAR member. “We are seeing third generation consumers who grew up in the town with their parents and have a strong commitment to the town, making the purchases now to plan for the future.”

Ahead of Ocean City, ranked at number one is Ocean City, N.J., with a median asking price of $525,000 and a .5-percent decrease from 2012, followed by North Wildwood, N.J., ranked at number two with a $289,000 median asking price and a 16 percent change from 2012, and Kissimmee, Fla., ranked as number three with a $298,000 median asking price and a 34.8 percent increase from 2012.

Falling in after Ocean City, which was ranked fourth, were fifth place, Marco Island, Fla., $499,000, unchanged; sixth place, Big Bear Lake, Calif., $335,000, 14.9 percent increase; seventh place, Lake Arrowhead, Calif., $399,000, 13.2 percent increase; eighth place, Panama City Beach, Fla., $284,245, 1.7 percent increase; ninth place, Gatlinburg, Tenn., $179,600, 5.6 percent increase; and 10th place, Cherry Grove Beach, S.C., $219,900, unchanged.