The past year will be remembered well for many reasons, but 2020 also will be known as the year of the second-home market.
While many areas of the American economy suffered throughout 2020, the real estate market thrived, particularly in areas traditionally considered second-home markets where affluent individuals often go to vacation. A recent analysis by Redfin indicated the demand for second homes doubled from June to the end of October, compared to last year’s numbers. Redfin included that eight of the 10 most popular counties that had seen surges in demand were vacation spots.
Second-home purchases by affluent citizens were not only driving the real estate market throughout the hardships of 2020, they were influencing a new way of life for all Americans. The ability to work remotely changed the way many viewed their everyday lives, and made many more question the need to live in a city if they could easily work from home. This new line of thinking inspired thousands to move outside the city permanently to places that are not traditionally primary hometowns.
In the states in which I operate my firm, there has been higher demand for homes in areas that are normally second-home markets, particularly in the luxury real estate industry. Places like Palm Springs, California, and Park City, Utah, which is mostly considered a vacation town for skiers and outdoor fanatics, are seeing more and more people looking for a homes to live year-round.
Even as the pandemic subsides, it would not be surprising to see the demand for exclusive residential properties and new home-build projects outside urban areas continue to rise.
Coming back to the city will be tough for most, especially if you have been living among the ski resorts in eastern Utah or the beaches in Florida, in what was previously your second home. If people are able to continue to work remotely, it’s possible that many will choose to stay in their vacation home and demand will keep rising, even in off-seasons.
The combination of all-time low mortgage rates, notable stock market gains and the attraction of an enjoyable resort-style life all year will not be the only things driving people to stay in second-home markets. Second-home markets also can provide families with a sense of security, privacy and a place that feels healthy and clean, all of which will play in Americans’ homebuying decisions in 2021.
If the dominant trend of wealthier individuals swapping their primary residences for their second home continues throughout 2021, it could shape the demographic quite a bit for places like Park City or Lake Tahoe. Those towns would no longer just be tourist areas for some months throughout the year: They would have their own batch of locals that will keep growing and contributing to the local economy
Michael Gardner is the principal and lead architect of studio g ARCHITECTURE, a holistic architectural and interior design studio based in Henderson. He founded the award-winning firm in 2010 and is licensed in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah; and New South Wales in Australia. Gardner also is the founder and owner of another Henderson-based firm, luxus DESIGN BUILD, which offers all-in-one design-build services. For more information, visit www.studiogarchitecture.com or www.luxusdesignbuild.com.