Vacation destinations double as hot home markets over past 12 months

A new Redfin study searching for the housing markets that have heated up the most during the past year found that vacation towns have been the biggest beneficiaries of recent market trends.

Five of the 10 markets that have heated up the most in the last 12 months — including four of the top five — qualify as vacation destinations, which have gained popularity as house hunters have availed of work-from-home flexibilities to emphasize affordability, space and recreation over the length of their commute.

That includes El Dorado County, California, the top market evaluated by Redfin. The area, which includes the eastern fringes of Sacramento but stretches west to cover the southern shore of Lake Tahoe — saw home prices vault 36% year over year in January, with the median number of days on market plummeting 50 days from the same month last year.

“Parts of El Dorado County, like Lake Tahoe and the upscale community of El Dorado Hills, have been hot throughout the pandemic, partly thanks to remote work,” said Ellie Ruiz Hitchcock, a local Redfin agent. “About half of buyers in El Dorado Hills are coming from the Bay Area and half are locals, including people coming from neighboring Sacramento, who are upgrading their homes. Tech workers moving out of Silicon Valley are seeking larger homes, more overall space and simpler lifestyle at a fraction of the cost. Most homes in the area are receiving multiple offers.”

Other scorching vacation markets include Santa Cruz County, California (second in Redfin’s ranking); Bend, Oregon (third); Cape Cod, Massachusetts (fifth); and the Jersey Shore (ninth). All saw median prices rise at least 18% year over year in January, while properties have seen their median time on market plunge by at least 40 days.

More affordable suburbs of big cities have also seen interest jump over the past year. The top 10 of Redfin’s ranking includes suburban counties of Chicago (fourth); Washington, D.C. (sixth and eighth); and New York (tenth).


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