Vacation Home Sales Rose Last Year

Washington, DC, April 3, 2013 -- Vacation home sales rose in 2012, and investment purchases remained elevated for a second consecutive year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

NAR’s 2013 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, covering existing- and new-home transactions in 2012, shows vacation-home sales rose 10.1% to 553,000 from 502,000 in 2011.

Investment-home sales declined 2.1% to 1.21 million from 1.23 million in 2011, but those sales had been well under a million during the market downturn.  Owner-occupied purchases jumped 17.4% to 3.27 million last year from 2.79 million in 2011.

Vacation-home sales accounted for 11% of all transactions last year, unchanged from 2011, while the portion of investment sales was 24% in 2012, down from 27% in 2011, marking the second highest share since 2005.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said favorable conditions are driving second-home sales.

“We had a strong stock market recovery, which helps more people in the prime ages for buying vacation homes.  Attractively priced recreational property is also a big draw,” he said.

The median investment-home price was $115,000 in 2012, up 15.0% from $100,000 in 2011, while the median vacation-home price was $150,000, compared with $121,300 in 2011, reflecting a greater number of more expensive recreational property sales in 2012.

Investment-home buyers in 2012 had a median age of 45, earned $85,700 and bought a home that was relatively close to their primary residence – a median distance of 21 miles, although 29% were more than 100 miles away.

“Property flipping modestly increased in in 2012,” Yun said.  “However, this isn’t flipping in the sense of what took place during the housing boom.  Rather, investors generally are renovating and improving properties before placing them back on the market to resell at a profit.”

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