Vacation-Home Sales Plummet 31%

by: Barry Ritholtz

More ugly Real Estate news:

Each year, the National Association of Realtors [NAR] puts out a survey of Investment and Vacation Home Buyers. As is their congenital compulsion, the trade group spun the data to somehow make it appear less negative: "Second-Home Sales Accounted For One-Third of Transactions in 2007".

As if Vacation Home "market share" is a significant statistic.

Puh-leeze.

The data point we are always interested in are the year over year, NSA, sales. In 2006, 1.07 million vacation homes were sold -- a record number. In 2007, second home sales had fallen 31% to 740,000, according to NAR data. The median price of a vacation home was $195,000 in 2007, down 2.5% from $200,000 in 2006.

2007 also saw speculators exiting the housing market: Homes bought purely for investment dropped 18% to 1.35 million last year, compared with 1.65 million in 2006. That is versus a 10% decline in primary-residence sales, (2007 = 4.34 million, down from 2006 = 4.82 million).

59% of vacation homes purchased in 2007 were detached single-family homes, 29% condos, 7% townhouses or rowhouses, and 5% other. In 2006, single family homes were 8% higher (67%) and condos 8% lower (21%). This suggests that some vacation home buyers are shifting towards purchasing smaller, less expensive properties. Perhaps the aforementioned decline in speculative purchases was also a factor in this shift.

Last, the typical vacation-home buyer in 2007 was 46 years old, had a median household income of $99,100, and purchased a property that was a median of 287 miles from their primary residence.

Sources:
Second-Home Sales Accounted For One-Third of Transactions in 2007
NAR, March 28, 2008

Vacation-Home Sales Plummet
Amy Hoak
WSJ, March 28, 2008