Where Do People in Dallas Get Vacation Homes?

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Breckenridge, Colorado; Santa Fe, New Mexico, which I have always called a bedroom community of Dallas, South Padre; Galveston and the Gulf Coast of Florida: Alys Beach, Watercolor, Seaside and Rosemary Beach. Panama City Beach was 8.3% of all Dallas originated searches. This according to a report from the folks at Trulia, who checked into which vacation hot spots are becoming more popular for second homes, and “which are being ditched in favor of sandier beaches.”

Interesting that Texas is becoming a popular destination for people in colder climates seeking warm weather, while we are escaping to cooler climes including McCall, Idaho. One of the top ten most popular vaca home spots is Hallettsville, Texas, a rural stretch in Lavaca County between San Antonio and Houston. 

0 County Road 125

Here’s a nice recreational ranch 10 miles south of Hallettsville with good deer hunting, secluded but with good county road access. Seller will convey some minerals, partial fencing and there’s an additional 186 acres behind on Ragsdale Creek that would give it more water front. 187.82 acres for $845,190. No house.

Hallettsville mobile

Or here is a trailer on 3 acres for only $129,000. Pretty cheap get-away.

No shock that The Hamptons and Key West are the most expensive spots for vacation homes, through I would put Pebble Beach, Lake Tahoe and Jackson Hole not too far behind. (Stay tuned for my report on Martis Camp!)

Trulia also looked at expanding and new vacation retreats:

In addition to looking at the most searched vacation zip codes[1] nationally, we also used U.S. Census and Trulia search traffic data to create a list of the areas that are turning into vacation retreats (or into bigger vacation areas) at the fastest rate and those that have stabilized or even seem to be moving the other direction. We found:

  • Since our last look at the top 20 vacation-home destinations three years ago, the three most expensive areas – Harvey Cedars, N.J., East Hampton, N.Y. and Nantucket, Mass. – have dropped completely off the list. All of the new top 20 most searched areas have a median listing price of less than $600,000.

  • Locations in and around Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Florida dominate vacation-area home searches even more now, making up 9 of the top 20 places, up from 6 of the top 20 three years ago.

  • McGaheysville, Va., and McCall, Idaho, are among the top hot-spot places that have added vacation properties and rapidly increasing search interest from the previous year.

  • The most expensive of these growing vacation areas is Vashon Island, Wash., near Seattle, which had a median listing price of $529,000 during the past year.

  • Priced out: vacation destinations scoring the lowest in our hot-spot ranking were 31% more expensive on average than the places at the top of the list. These more expensive places included areas in the Hamptons, N.Y., and the Florida Keys.

  • People from more northern, colder cities consistently search for homes in vacation areas that are further south and warmer as searchers from cities such as Chicago, Indianapolis, Ind., Akron, OH, Detroit, Mich., and Buffalo, N.Y. all have several Florida and Coastal-Carolina search destinations in their top 10. Those who are already living in warm climates are either searching for vacation homes in other warm areas or in the mountain areas such as Albuquerque, N.M. El Paso, Texas, Austin, Texas, New Orleans and Birmingham, Ala.

Here is a look at where Houstonians vacation:

Houston_v022Pretty similar to Dallas, though not sure we frequent Gatlinburg as much as Houstonians do. Click here for the Dallas results.

It is interesting that the Texas Hill Country did not make this list for either Dallas or Houston, nor did the lake communities east of Dallas.

Perhaps the answer is in Trulia’s methodology: they took U.S. Census data and Trulia search traffic data. They compared 5 year data from 2011 to 2014 to find increases or decreases in seasonal vacant housing units in areas with at least 3000 units where 5% of the housing stock was vacant for seasonal or occasional use.

Then they took that and compared to a more recent zip code search (June 1, 2016), and compared to a year earlier. Vacation home areas were defined as zip codes with at least 3,000 housing units where at least one quarter of the housing units are for seasonal or occasional use, in zip codes outside of the searchers own zip code.

Amazing, isn’t it how much our internet searches tell the world.

The only thing that would skew this somewhat is that vacation homes in smaller, more rural areas  spread over several zip codes might not be included. And are people window shopping on the web or actually buying? At the very least, this exercise shows us where people are DREAMING of a vacation home.


Reader Interactions


  1. dormand says

    The cited Vashon Island is noted as having the most liberal voting record in the US. Thus, if ken Paxton is one’s
    favorite public servant and if one has an NRA bumper sticker on their vehicle instead of NPR, it might be
    good to consider before cutting that check for a half mill for that ideal getaway retreat.