Vacation-Home Sales Up in 2009 but Investment Sales Down

Vacation-home sales recovered in 2009 while investment sales fell sharply, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

NAR’s 2010 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, covering existing- and new-home transactions in 2009, shows vacation-home sales rose 7.9 percent to 553,000 last year from 513,000 in 2008, while investment-home sales fell 15.9 percent to 940,000 in 2009 from 1.12 million in 2008. Primary residence sales rose 7.1 percent to 4.04 million in 2009 from 3.77 million in 2008.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “The typical vacation-home buyer is making a lifestyle choice, with nine out of 10 saying they intend to use the property for vacations or as a family retreat,” he said. “Investment buyers primarily seek rental income, with six in 10 planning to rent to others, although one in five wants a family member, friend or relative to use the home.”

Only one in four vacation-home buyers plan to rent their properties to others, while one in five investment buyers plan to use their homes for vacations or as a family retreat. However, 26 percent of vacation-home buyers and 8 percent of investment buyers intend to use the property as a primary residence in the future.

The market share of homes purchased for investment was 17 percent in 2009, down from 21 percent in 2008, while the vacation-home share rose a percentage point to 10 percent. The total share of second homes declined from 30 percent of sales in 2008 to 27 percent last year. “First-time buyers were at record levels in 2009 with fewer sales of second homes,” Yun said.

The median transaction price of a vacation home was $169,000 in 2009, compared with $150,000 in 2008. “The higher vacation home price may reflect increased sales in higher priced markets, particularly in areas of Florida and California where prices became highly attractive for buyers over the past year,” Yun said.

Half of vacation homes purchased last year were in the South, 21 percent in the West, 17 percent in the Midwest and 12 percent in the Northeast. Seven out of 10 were detached single-family homes.

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