Thanks to deeper pockets and low mortgage rates, more people are buying vacation homes – boosting both demand and price, revealed the National Association of Realtors’ 2019 U.S. Vacation Home Counties Report.
The median sales price in vacation home counties increased at a pace of 36 percent in the five years between 2013 and 2018 – five percent ahead of the growth rate for all new and existing homes sold, which was 31 percent.
Household net worth increased to an all-time high – $100.3 trillion, which is nearly double from a decade ago.
The NAR report also found that vacation home buyers usually pay cash, or if they decide to take out a mortgage, they make a 20 percent down payment.
Cape May, New Jersey, topped the list of vacation home counties where second home mortgages were the largest share of home purchase loans.
Who saw the biggest price increases? Pennsylvania’s Pike and Monroe counties, Wisconsin’s Price and Washburn counties, and Massachusetts’ Nantucket County.
The NAR report takes data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to look at counties where vacant housing for seasonal or occasional use made up 20 percent or more of a county’s total housing stock. A total of 206 counties were identified as vacation home counties.
The NAR’s top 26 vacation home counties include some nationally-known sites (like Nantucket, for instance) and some lesser-known sites that are more local destination spots, such as some of the counties in Wisconsin and Michigan.
Nantucket, Massachusetts, is the most expensive vacation home county, with a median sales price at $1 million. In fact, Massachusetts was home to several other counties that were close behind Nantucket when it comes to price.
Other popular places like Pitkin, Eagle, Summit, and Grand in Colorado; the Florida Keys and Naples area in Florida; and counties near Yosemite National Park in California also hit the most expensive list.
Least expensive areas included vacation homes in Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Michigan.
To see the whole study, click here.