SLO County

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SLO-Town, as the locals call it, is on the development fast track. It's in the middle of the last semi-rural stretch of central California coastline, and it's also home to the state's rising star of wine production, Paso Robles, where even French vintners are buying property.

If this is your kind of town,...let me show you the neighborhood!

Yet the natural amenities, proximity to Southern California, and relatively low prices support forecasts of a continuing surge. Thousands of retirement-age boomers, it's said, will sell their SoCal homes for cheaper digs in SLO. Anti-development sentiment also helps. "They're not zoning quickly enough for the demand," Laughlin says. "Either they have to allow more homes or prices will go through the roof."

CAUTION: Prices are already getting ahead of job and income growth.

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