The nation's top bargain beach town is right here in New Jersey, at least for summer 2016, according to a new report from housing data firm RealtyTrac.

The report ranked oceanside towns across the country based on their median home prices, air quality, average summer temperatures and density of registered criminal offenders.

And the city with the highest "Bargain Beach Town Index" is ... Keansburg.

Keansburg? That's right. It registered a score of 353 out of 500.

"What catapulted it up to first place is the very relatively low price of properties there," said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president for RealtyTrac. "We're showing a median price of $71,000."

The report suggests the housing market in the Monmouth County town has been struggling to bounce back since the economic downturn last decade. According to the report's numbers, median home prices in Keansburg are 68 percent below their level from 10 years ago, which is considered the peak of the housing bubble.

The town also registered an average June-through-August temperature of 71 degrees, and 91.3 percent of summer days present good air quality.

Atlantic City ranked at No. 13 on the index (the grid above shows the top town in each state), moved along by a 74 percent drop in home property values over the past 10 years.

Only beach cities with a population of 50,000 or fewer, and an average temperature between 60 and 80 degrees, were included in the study.

The report suggested investing in a property at the beach can be a smart financial decision.

"Buying a second home or investment property in a beach town can help families save on summer vacations for years to come and also potentially generate vacation rental income," Blomquist said. "While real estate close to the ocean tends to be pricier, bargains are still available, particularly in smaller towns off the beaten path where home prices have been slower to bounce back from the housing downturn."

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at Dino.Flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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