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One of the top concerns of vacation home owners prior to opening their homes to travelers includes concern of losing money (23 percent). But the survey debunks this myth: among those owners who have a mortgage on their vacation rental home, more than half (51 percent) are able to cover at least three quarters of their mortgage payment-an increase of six percent year-over-year from summer 2012. Additionally, nearly three-quarters (70 percent) cover at least half of their mortgage payment-an increase of six percent over last year.

Thirty-nine percent (39 percent), of owners originally purchased their vacation home for personal use. As such, there is a concern among 35 percent of owners that once the home begins to rent, they aren’t able to utilize the property for personal use any longer. However, nearly two-thirds of owners (66 percent) spent up to 28 days in their vacation rental in the past twelve months, and the majority (76 percent) of owners cites personal or work reasons for not being able to spend more time in their vacation rental, not guest bookings.

Another 15 percent of owners classify their vacation rental as a future retirement home. The average age in which owners purchased their vacation homes was 48 years old-six years younger than owners in 2012-and the average age in which owners began renting their vacation homes was 50 years old-also six years less than owners in 2012.

“Consistent with what we have seen from the National Association of Realtors year after year, vacation home buyers are getting younger, realizing the benefits of purchasing their future retirement home early and paying down the mortgage by renting it,” says Sharples.

For those considering making an otherwise vacant vacation home available for rent, or purchasing a vacation home, traveler demand to fill these homes is rising in the Florida Panhandle with Fort Walton Beach, Navarre Beach and Pensacola/Pensacola Beach leading the country as a vacation destination. Compared to this same time last year, the growth of inquiries and new vacation rental listings in the Florida Panhandle is rivaled by its neighbors Captiva & Sanibel Island and North Carolina’s Outer Banks region, which shows strong performance from Duck, Kitty Hawk, Corolla, and Kill Devil Hills.

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