The great divide in the experience of the pandemic was especially evident in the vacation home sales market. While many families suffered from illness, unemployment and financial distress from the coronavirus pandemic and economic shutdown, people who were able to keep their jobs and work remotely faced less severe monetary consequences.
Many saved more money and saw their home values increase, which meant they could purchase a second home where they could work remotely and spend time with their families.
The National Association of Realtors’ 2021 Vacation Home Counties report provides the data to prove what’s been anecdotally evident for months: 2020 was the year of the vacation home.
Sales of vacation homes rose 16.4 percent in 2020 compared with 2019, while the total growth of all existing-home sales was just 5.6 percent during that same period. And 2021 appears to be shaping up the same way: From January to April 2021, vacation home sales jumped 57.2 percent year-over-year compared with the 20 percent year-over-year growth in total existing-home sales.
Home buyers in 2021 need more cash, face more competition
Naturally, demand drove prices higher at a faster pace for vacation homes, too. The median existing-home sales price rose by 14.2 percent in vacation home counties, compared with 10.1 percent in nonvacation home counties. A county is considered by NAR to be a vacation county if at least 20 percent of the homes are identified as seasonal, occasional or recreational-use housing.
The surge of vacation home purchases began in the second half of 2020 and continued at least through April 2021, according to NAR’s report.
Top 10 vacation home rankings by county are:
- Lee County, Fla.
- Oscoda County, Mich.
- Swain County, N.C.
- Collier County, Fla.
- Dukes County, Mass.
- Alleghany County, N.C.
- Garrett County, Md.
- Barnstable County, Mass.
- Alcona County, Mich.
- Macon County, N.C.
Regionally, home sales in vacation home counties grew fastest (nearly 31 percent) in 2020 compared with 2019 in the South Atlantic, which includes Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and D.C.
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