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RISMEDIA, April 3, 2010—HomeAway, Inc., one of the world’s leading online vacation rental marketplaces today welcomed news from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) that the vacation home market is showing signs of recovery, with sales up nearly 8% and increased prices (up nearly 13%) following three years of declines. With one out of four second home owners buying homes with the intent to rent, the number and diversity of available vacation homes for travelers continues to remain steady.

Homeowners are buying more vacation homes, particularly in popular vacation destinations such as Florida, California, Arizona and Nevada where home values have been hit hardest. The annual National Association of Realtors Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey finds more than 70% of vacation home sales in 2009 were in the South and West regions.

While baby boomers have historically led vacation home purchases, nearly half (47%) of the buyers in 2009 were under 45 years of age, with a median income of $87,500 – down from $99,100 just two years ago.

“It’s exciting that younger buyers are attracted to the vacation home market as both a long-term financial investment and a lifestyle decision,” says Brian Sharples, HomeAway co-founder and chief executive officer, who noted the NAR survey also finds vacation home owners plan to own their homes for an average of 16 years, up from 12 years in 2008 and 10 years in 2007.

The Internet plays an increasing role in the purchase of vacation homes, with nearly a third (32%) of vacation home buyers first looking online for properties for sale, up from 22% in 2008. One out of four (26%) vacation home buyers found their home on the Internet, up from 21% in 2008.

Recognizing that buyers and sellers of vacation properties are increasingly looking for specialized information on the rental income potential of prospective homes, HomeAway is launching HomeAway Real Estate. According to the company, it is the first online marketplace dedicated to buying and selling vacation homes, HomeAway Real Estate offers an extensive database of more than 200,000 vacation and second homes for sale in popular travel destinations, as well as specialized information including vacation home occupancy, rental rates throughout the year, and destination information.

According to the NAR report, nearly 70% of vacation home buyers who plan to rent their homes want to cover all or some of their costs.

“With more buyers looking to offset ownership costs with rental income, the HomeAway Real Estate platform uses HomeAway’s extensive knowledge of vacation rentals to help those buyers make better decisions about where to buy,” says Sharples.

The economy continues to impact homeowners’ decisions to rent their homes. Among vacation homeowners who rent their homes, nearly two-thirds (65%) said the economy had a slight to significant impact on their interest in renting their home, up from 58% in 2008. Homeowners wanting to generate a profit from their vacation property increased to 28%, up from 19% in 2008.

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