In the last 20 years second-home buying has evolved more than any sector in the housing industry in America. A market once reserved for retirees and those with expendable wealth has now expanded to include a vast demographic in almost all age groups who are looking to embellish the 2-home lifestyle well ahead of retirement. If you’re yearning for a home away from home, you’re not alone. There were 7.4 million second-homes sold in 2018 alone, or about 5.6 percent of the total housing market according to the National Association of Home Builders. Buying a second home has become one of the fastest growing trends in the United States. In fact, more than 30 million Americans are expected to enter the second-home market within the next decade. The most popular place for second homes is Florida with well over 1 million second homes sold each year. Other Southern and South Western locations that offer temperate climates have seen tremendous market growth. What is surprising is the amount of second home and vacation home growth in the Northeast and Northwest regions with 4-season activities that range from skiing, to snow-boarding, hiking, fishing, golf, tennis and even pickle ball (The fastest growing racquet sport in the country). A growing trend is homes that are great for all seasons with activities and amenities to match an active emerging demographic.
Assess Your Lifestyle. Think about all the things you love the most and the amount of time you will be spending in your vacation home. Visit your vacation spot during each season to get a good idea of what it’s like year-round. If you plan to retire to your second home one day, make sure that there is quality, accessible health care nearby, and the environment is both safe and affordable. It’s always important to check out the weather, especially if you plan to use for all seasons. Take your time and have some fun finding the right vacation home for you. Be sure to view at least 10 to 15 properties before making your decision. You can check out some virtual home tours on the Internet to help you get an idea of what’s out there. Managed communities mean less work, less maintenance and usually a host of amenities right in your community. This can be huge when you factor in getting the most out of your second home. If you love the mountains and winter sports make sure your home has close proximity and access to your favorite region.
How to Make it Happen. If you have reasonably low debt and money left over at the end of the month, you can probably afford a second home. Lenders want to make sure that your debt does not exceed 45 percent of your gross income. You’ll get the most competitive mortgage rate on your first home, not your second. The climate right now is great for getting a good rate because of competition between lenders. Make them work for you! A second home can actually help you out with regard to your taxes if you live in your vacation home more than 14 days per year; you can deduct your real estate taxes and mortgage interest, as long as your combined mortgages don’t exceed a million dollars.