Twilight of the vacation-home buyers

Posted by: Peter Coy on April 1, 2008

vacation home.jpg

The National Association of Realtors announced last week that vacation-home sales dropped 31% in 2007 from 2006. Sales of homes for investment fell 18%. That compared to a drop of 10% in sales of primary residences.

Demographics:

“The typical vacation-home buyer in 2007 was 46 years old, had a median household income of $99,100, and purchased a property that was a median of 287 miles from their primary residence.”

“Investment-home buyers last year had a median age of 42, earned an income of $92,900, and bought a home that was relatively close to their primary residence – a median distance of 27 miles.”

Me, I could never see the appeal of a vacation home. Driving there, driving back. Or flying, which is worse. Worrying about raccoons or burglars breaking in. Burst pipes, peeling paint. The feeling that you have to go there a lot to get your money’s worth. The number that shocked me in the NAR release wasn’t the big decline in sales. It was the median distance of the vacation home from the primary residence: 287 miles! Oof!

Reader Comments

ZF

April 1, 2008 4:25 PM

27 miles?

That's either a misprint or these are not vacation homes.

Disguised rentals?

BW Economics Editor Peter Coy

April 2, 2008 9:44 AM

ZF--read the piece again. The 27 miles is for investment properties. The figure for vacation homes is 287 miles.

mike

April 2, 2008 10:46 AM

the writer obviously never owned a vacation home...the benefits far exceed the forementioned drawbacks. i'm speaking as a person who owns a waterfront beach house 120 miles from my primary residence...it is awesome beyond your understanding.

CBH

April 2, 2008 1:46 PM

Half of buying a vacation home is not the time you have their but the calm it gives you to have a place you know you can go to that is yours. Its like having a car in the garage that you rarely use but know you can.

My house is exactly 287m away and I get there 3-4 weeks a year. I rent it for 10 to cover the taxes and maintenance. Never buy a vacation house thinking renting will cover everything. Unless you have a place that is a destination 12 months a year its extremely difficult to recoup costs. Its a luxury good that may appreciate, not an investment. I also own it with my brother which helps cut costs.

Steve

April 7, 2008 9:39 PM

The twilight of vacation homes?

They let you write for business week?

This must be the twilight of Business Week.

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About

BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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