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Americans Decide to Work Where They Vacation as Second-Home Purchases Rise

While challenges and stresses have emerged because of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the world, the opportunity that some homeowners have had to work remotely has changed their perspectives on their homes. If, for instance, you’re living in Kansas City in a higher cost of living neighborhood in order to be convenient to the office, you might be wondering whether a larger or more comfortable second home outside the highest cost zones would be right for you.

According to HomeLight’s Q4 Survey of Top Real Estate Agents, you wouldn’t be alone in making this consideration and aiming to purchase a second home. After all, your dollar goes farther in some very comfortable areas, including areas that offer warmer weather, a larger floor plan, and access to nature or a body of water. This is also a time when purchasing with a mortgage is cheaper than ever before due to very low interest rates.

The Trends in Second Home Purchases

There are two separate trends occurring right now, one which affects purchases directly and one that is an indirect impact on the market. There is evidence that people who already owned two properties, either using one as a rental or keeping it for part-time use during a given season, are relocating to their second homes. After all, with additional needs to keep both short-term and long-term rentals safe, some people are seeing the ease of moving out of a city or other environment to a comfortable, vacation-style space as a way to make long days and weeks at home feel less dreary. The trend is so pronounced that some folks are selling their primary residence in the good seller’s market and moving full-time to their vacation residence, betting on the opportunity to keep working remotely.

The second trend is in people deciding that now is the time to make a second home purchase, even if they hadn’t bought one before. The appeal is the same as for those who already own a second home, but with the additional benefits that right now, low interest rates make it easier to pull the trigger and buy a vacation home. 

What We Value in a Vacation Home

Vacation homes can be located anywhere, though many people opt to find one that offers warmer weather than their primary residence. Other value-adds that many agents are seeing are affordability, which is an important quality for 44.9% of agents’ markets, and the possibility of getting rental income at least some of the time, important for 40.7% of markets. Other people focus on getting close to a body of water or to nature, since these both offer natural beauty and entertainment/leisure activities that are still appropriate for social distancing. People also look for a low maintenance home when they are shopping for a vacation home, since few people want to be putting lots of expensive repairs in on a home while in their vacation state of mind.

Overall, it’s a popular time to be buying a second home and getting away from the hustle and bustle to work remotely where you’d normally vacation.


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