Vacation-home demand, prices are growing

Increased wealth and a low mortgage rate environment have pushed the price of vacation homes upward, according to a new report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

According to NAR’s 2019 U.S. Vacation Home Counties Report, the median sales price in so-called “vacation-home counties” grew at a slightly higher pace (36%) from 2013 to 2018 than the median price growth of all existing and new homes sold (31%). The NAR defines “vacation-home counties” as counties in which the vacant housing for seasonal, recreational or occasional use makes up 20% or more of the overall housing stock.

Of the country’s 3,141 counties, the NAR considers 206 to be vacation-home counties.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said that the price increase is important.

“As of 2018, household net worth reached an all-time high of $100.3 trillion — that’s nearly double from a decade ago when wealth declined during the recession. Some of this tremendous growth in wealth, although concentrated, increased demand for vacation homes.”

Median price increases were consistent across both expensive and inexpensive areas. The largest price increases during the five-year period noted in the report were in three states: Pennsylvania (Pike and Monroe counties); Wisconsin (Price and Washburn counties); and Massachusetts (Nantucket County).


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