Clients who resisted the lure of a vacation home when prices were spiraling higher may feel a pressing need to buy now. Second-home prices have plunged and historically low mortgage rates reinforce the idea that this is the time to grab a dream beach house or mountain cabin.

The opportunity is just that appealing for Lon Morton, who heads a wealth management firm in Calabasas, Calif. He's in the process of buying a place near Palm Springs. "If you want it and can afford it, you can take the attitude that you're saving a bundle from what you would have paid a few years ago," he says.

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