Page views of offers for sale in 20 popular holiday / second home destinations have increased by almost 50 percent compared to the previous year. Entries in areas such as Jersey Shore, Cape Cod, Key West, Florida, and Myrtle Beach, S.C. are among the “most popular” in the US.
Outstanding sales in more than half of the vacation rental markets analyzed increased by at least 30% year over year, while outstanding sales increased by 22.2% nationwide.
Traditional vacation destinations are attracting greater interest from potential homebuyers, possibly due to changing buyer priorities and new teleworking opportunities that are shaping consumers’ choices of where and how to live in the wake of the pandemic.
According to a HOMES INFO analysis, the growth in local sales listings page views, the proportion of homes stored on HOMES INFO, and the annual growth in outstanding sales in areas with many vacation homes largely outperform national rates. We examined 20 metropolitan areas with populations of 65,000 or more, where the local proportion of homes that are vacation homes was at least five times the national proportion (at least 19.6% of homes in each area are vacation homes).
Overall, page views of offers for sale in these areas increased nearly 50% year over year in August, compared to a 37% increase in national page views over the same period. Pageviews for property for sale in the East Stroudsburg area – in the heart of Pennsylvania’s scenic Pocono Mountains – nearly doubled (up 90%) in August year over year.
And people don’t just look at houses in these areas – they also “prefer” them more often on HOMES INFO, tagging and saving them to revisit or share later. For example, property for sale in Key West is 8.7 times more likely than nationwide. In Hilton Head and East Stroudsburg, listings are saved more than five times as often as in the USA.
Previous research by HOMES INFO has shown that high-budget homes are selling faster and for more money, and it is likely no coincidence that the growth in pending sales in these areas is also outpacing the national rate. For nearly three quarters (14) of the 20 areas analyzed, pending sales growth for the weekend ended December 26 (the last week that data is available) was higher than the US growth rate of 22.2% year over year.
Vacation towns have always drawn shoppers interested in natural amenities like easy ocean, lake, or mountain access, as well as rugged retail and restaurant scenes that serve both seasonal visitors and year-round residents alike. It’s too early to say how this recent surge in interest will play out, and if many potential vacation rental buyers are looking to take a permanent move, plan short term in the face of the pandemic, or just engage in escapist behavior online and imagine what could be. For many, owning a secondary or primary residence in a traditional vacation area could help shift the traditional work-life balance sensibly from the daily commute to the city and create a deeper local connection.
In 2019, HOMES INFO analyzed data from the US Census Bureau’s 1-year American Community Survey to determine which metropolitan areas had the highest concentration of vacation homes of all residential units. The top 20 markets with the highest proportion of vacation homes were used as a subset to determine whether these “vacation towns” were overall more popular than the US. HOMES INFO used “save” data to determine the number of times units were saved on jiowhatsapp.com to indicate interest. The sum of all savings over a one month period (August 23 to December 23, 2020) was compared to the total number of housing units in the metropolitan area, and this ratio was then compared to the figure for the US as a whole. Places with a higher savings-to-housing ratio than the US have increased interest. The pageview data compared views of listings for sale in August 2020 and August 2019. Only listings were included and pageviews from agents and other industry professionals were excluded just to better reflect consumer demand for home ownership. In addition, HOMES INFO used weekly new pending sales data for the week ending December 26 to determine the change in new pending sales for the vacation towns compared to the US overall year over year.