Vacation home sales rose 10.1% to 553,000 last year, up from 502,000 in 2011, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Investment home sales declined 2.1% to 1.21 million from 1.23 million in 2011, while 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.Â
The median investment-home price was $115,000 in 2012, up 15% from $100,000 in 2011, while the median vacation-home price was $150,000, compared with $121,300 in 2011. All-cash purchases remain common in the investment- and vacation-home market – half of investment buyers paid cash in 2012, as did 46% of vacation-home buyers. Forty-seven percent of investment homes purchased in 2012 were distressed homes, as were 35% of vacation homes.
‘We had a strong stock market recovery, which helps more people in the prime ages for buying vacation homes,’ says Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. ‘Attractively priced recreational property is also a big draw. Investors have been very active in the market over the past two years, attracted mostly by discounted foreclosures that could be quickly turned into profitable rentals. With rising prices and limited inventory, notably in the low price ranges, investors are likely to step back in coming years.’