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(Updated March 2016)

Vacation home sales boomed in 2014 to above their most recent peak level in 2006, while investment purchases fell for the fourth straight year. For transactions in 2014, vacation-home sales catapulted to an estimated 1.13 million last year and vacation sales were up 57.4 percent from 717,000 in 2013. Investment-home sales in 2014 decreased 7.4 percent to an estimated 1.02 million in 2014 from 1.10 million in 2013. Owner-occupied purchases fell 12.8 percent to 3.23 million last year from 3.70 million in 2013. The sales estimates are based on responses from nearly 2,000 U.S. adults who purchased a residential property in 2014, and exclude institutional investment activity. In this field guide, you will find information on the activity in the vacation/second home market as well as tips on working with the vacation/second home buyer. You'll also uncover a variety of resources available from the National Association in addition to updates on the RSPS certification. (K. Bartlett Walsh, Senior Quality Assurance/Customer Advocate)

PVI Homes

E - EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page.

Buyer Motivation and Expectations: ​Vacation Properties vs. Investment Properties

To use for vacations or as a family retreat

  • Vacation Properties - 33%
  • Investment Properties - 8%

For future retirement

  • Vacation Properties - 19%
  • Investment Properties - 10%

Potential for Price Appreciation

  • Vacation Properties - 13%
  • Investment Properties - 15%

To rent to others

  • Vacation Properties - 11%
  • Investment Properties - 37%

Low mortgage rates

  • Vacation Properties - 9%
  • Investment Properties - 7%


  • Vacation Properties - 2%
  • Investment Properties - 6% 

Source: The 2015 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey can be ordered by calling 800-874-6500, or online. The report is free to NAR members and accredited media and costs $149.95 for non-members. 

Vacation/Second Hom​e Market Activity

Second Home Residences on the Rise in Santa Fe, (Albuquerque Journal, Nov. 21, 2015). E

Perennial Vacation, Second Homes are Becoming the New Retirement Focus, (Alaska Airlines Magazine, July 6, 2015).

NAR Talking Points – How to Talk About the Second Home Market (National Association of REALTORS®, June 2015).

Vacation Home Rentals – Recent Tax Developments, (Tierra Grande, Feb. 11, 2015). E

Don’t give up on Millennials in the Housing Market, (Home Accents Today, Feb. 1, 2015). E

Vacation Homes Sizzle as Investment Homes Fizzle, (National Mortgage Professional, Oct. 14, 2014).

Vacation Home Sales Surge in 2013, Investment Property Declines, (National Association of REALTORS®, Apr. 2, 2014).

Tax Deductions for Vacation Homes, (HouseLogic, Dec. 21, 2012).

Vacation Home Market (Realty Times, June 19, 2012).

Real Estate Outlook: Vacation Sales Surge (Realty Times, Apr. 9, 2012).

Easy on the wallet and the earth, miniscule houses are winning fans, (CottageDigest, 2011).

Bed and Breakfast Inns being sold as vacation homes, (The New York Times, Feb. 24, 2011).

Tax Rules for Second Homes, (Kiplinger, Sept. 2010).

Working With Vacation/Second Home Buyers

Tax Rules for Vacation Home Sales, (Tierra Grande, Oct. 29, 2015). E

Second Home Buyers Still Relying on Family for Cash, (Daily Mail, Oct. 17, 2015). E

Who gets the Vacation Home?, (Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, May 1, 2015). E

The Master Series, Second Home Specialist John Resor, (REALTOR® Magazine, 2014).

Keeping Up With the R&R Crowd, (REALTOR® Magazine, May 2014).

Vacation Home Buyers Face Financing Hurdles (REALTOR® Magazine Online, Feb. 15, 2013).

Vacation Home Buyers are Back (REALTOR® Magazine Online, June 18, 2012).

Vacation Home Buyers Stay Close to Home (REALTOR® Magazine Online, June 3, 2012).

Second Home Buyers Stay Close to Home (REALTOR® Magazine Online, May 3, 2012).

More Buyers See Opportunity in Vacation Homes (REALTOR® Magazine Online, Apr. 4, 2012).

Resort life blog, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2013).

Foreign buyers snatch up U.S. Property, (REALTOR® Magazine, Oct. 5, 2010).

RSPS (Resort & Second-Home Property Specialist)

RSPS Certification (National Association of REALTORS®, 2016).

Find a RSPS Specialist (National Association of REALTORS®, 2016).

Resort Area and Second Home Specialty, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2016).

NAR Education Matrix—Resort and Second Home Markets, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2016).

eBooks & Other Resources

The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Buying a Second Home (Adobe EPUB and Adobe PDF)

The Complete Guide to Buying a Second Home or Real Estate in Mexico (Adobe PDF, Overdrive)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Services at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Investing in a vacation home for pleasure and profit, (Mason, OH: Thomson South-Western, 2006). HD 1341 B69

How a second home can be your best investment, (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2004). HD 1341 K28

REBAC roundtable 2004, volume II, resort, vacation and second home markets, (Chicago, IL: Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council, Inc., 2004). CD016

Making money from a second home: a practical guide to buying and managing a property for long lets, holiday lets or university accommodation, (United Kingdom: HowTo Books, Ltd., 2004). HD 1341 P26

Field Guides & More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Hotel/Motel Properties

Field Guide to Investing in Real Estate

Field Guide to Foreign Investment Trends in the U.S.

Field Guide to Listing & Selling Luxury Properties

Field Guide to Short-Term Rental Restrictions

Information Services Blog

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.