Vacation-home sales increased in 2009

The National Association of Realtors’ 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. 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.”

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.

The distribution of investment sales was fairly close to the distribution of population: 35 percent in the South, 25 percent in the West, 24 percent in the Midwest and 16 percent in the Northeast. There was a higher share of condos in investment sales: 27 percent of investment homes were condos vs. 21 percent of vacation homes.

Here is a breakdown of statistics from the survey:

Vacation-Home Buyers

  • Only one in four vacation-home buyers plan to rent their properties to others.
  • 26 percent of vacation-home buyers intend to use the property as a primary residence in the future.
  • The vacation-home market share rose a percentage point to 10 percent.
  • The median transaction price of a vacation home was $169,000 in 2009, compared with $150,000 in 2008.
  • Three out of 10 vacation-home buyers in 2009 paid cash for their properties
  • The typical vacation-home buyer in 2009 was 46 years old, had a median household income of $87,500, and purchased a property that was a median distance of 348 miles from their primary residence.

Investment-Home Buyers

  • One in five investment buyers plan to use their homes for vacations or as a family retreat.
  • 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.
  • The total share of second homes declined from 30 percent of sales in 2008 to 27 percent in 2009.
  • The median investment property sold for $105,000 last year, down 2.8 percent from $108,000 in 2008.
  • Half of investment buyers paid cash.
  • Investment-home buyers last year had a median age of 45, earned $87,200, and bought a home that was relatively close to their primary residence – a median distance of 24 miles.
  • Roughly one in four investment buyers purchased more than one property in 2009.

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