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Vacation Home Sales Surge in 2013, Investment Property Declines

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Buyers listed many reasons for purchasing a vacation home: 87 percent want to use the property for vacations or as a family retreat, 31 percent plan to use it as a primary residence in the future, 28 percent wanted to diversify their investments or saw a good investment opportunity, 23 percent plan to rent to others and 22 percent intend it for use by a family member, friend or relative.

Forty-one percent of vacation homes purchased last year were in the South, 28 percent in the West, 18 percent in the Northeast and 14 percent in the Midwest.

Investment-home buyers in 2013 had a median age of 42, earned $111,400 and bought a home that was relatively close to their primary residence – a median distance of 20 miles.

Fifty percent of investment buyers said they purchased for rental income, 34 percent wanted to diversify their investments or saw a good investment opportunity, and 22 percent bought for a family member, friend or relative to use – often to house a son or daughter while attending college.

Seven percent of homes purchased by investment buyers last year have already been resold, and another 10 percent are planned to be sold within a year. Overall, investment buyers plan to hold the property for a median of 5 years, down from 8 years in 2012.

Thirty-eight percent of investment properties purchased last year were in the South, 25 percent in the West, 18 percent in the Northeast and 19 percent in the Midwest.

More than eight out of 10 second-home buyers, both for vacation and investment homes, said it was a good time to buy.

Approximately 43.4 million people in the U.S. are ages 50-59 – a group that dominated second-home sales in the middle part of the past decade and established records. An additional 42.7 million people are 40-49 years old, which is the historic prime age range for purchasing second homes, while another 40.4 million are 30-39 years of age.

NAR’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows there are 8.0 million vacation homes and 43.7 million investment units in the U.S., compared with 74.7 million owner-occupied homes.

NAR’s 2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, conducted in March 2014, includes answers about 2,203 homes purchased during 2013 from a representative panel of 2,008 U.S. households. The survey controlled for age and income, based on information from the larger 2013 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, to limit any biases in the characteristics of respondents.

For more information, visit www.realtor.org/prodser.nsf/Research. The report is free to NAR members and costs $149.95 for non-members.

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