Is a vacation home on a West Coast beach the ultimate trophy possession? Could be. After all, private jets and yachts can be produced as long as there is cash on the table, but as Mark Twain advised long ago, “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.”

The thinnest terra-firma ribbon that outlines the perimeter of water-bound land is usually the priciest piece of real estate around (one example here is selling for $784 a square foot). Homeowners are willing to pay a premium for white-capped views (and we’re not talking snowy mountains).

And yet, oceanfront homes are also a location, location, location where the price can drop $300,000 – a little more than the median home value in Oregon – and still not get swept up by a buyer.

Some financial advisers say coastal properties might not be a wise second home investment since there could be a constant tug of war between humankind and Mother Nature with storms and flooding, plus the emotional cost of watching prize possessions under water.

You decide.

For this week’s real estate gallery, we show homes on the market or recently sold that are perched on oceanfront property. Glancing at the price tags makes you wonder: Is there a tiny beach shack left on the Oregon coast? Let’s hope so.

— Janet Eastman

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