Yun: ‘Vacation Homes Are a Hot Commodity’

Vacation home deck overlooking a beach.

©borchee - Getty Images

Buyers flooded the real estate market in the second half of 2020 through April 2021 in search of a vacation home. Vacation home sales are posting double-digit growth as the pandemic has encouraged more consumers desiring a second home and more flexibility for remote work to take the leap.

Vacation home sales jumped 57% year over year in 2020 compared to the 20% annual growth in total existing-home sales, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ newly released 2021 Vacation Home Counties Report.

“Vacation homes are a hot commodity at the moment,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “With many businesses and employers still extending an option to work remotely to workers, vacation housing, and second homes will remain a popular choice among buyers.”

Median existing-home sale prices in vacation counties grew faster than the rest of the country, NAR notes. The median existing-home sales price for vacation homes increased by 14.2% in 2020 compared to 10.1% in non-vacation home counties.

Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Maryland had counties with some of the top vacation home sales over the past year.

NAR identified the following 10 counties as seeing the largest upticks in vacation home sales in 2020:

  • Lee County, Fla.
  • Oscoda County, Mich.
  • Swain County, N.C.
  • Collier County, Fla.
  • Dukes County, Mass.
  • Alleghany County, N.C.
  • Garrett County, Md.
  • Barnstable County, Mass.
  • Alcona County, Mich.
  • Macon County, N.C.

“The enduring opportunity for remote work will continue to raise the already high demand for property in these counties, particularly in those counties with reliable broadband internet service,” Yun says.

Buyers who purchased a vacation home are more likely to do an all-cash transaction than other home buyers. From January to April of this year, all-cash sales rose to 53% of all vacation home purchases.