A home in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Michael Robinson | Corbis Documentary | Getty Images
Ever since the Covid pandemic began almost two years ago, weary Americans hankering for a fun, but still safe, getaway have rejiggered their travel habits to jibe with the new normal.
Domestic road trips, national park visits and vacation home rentals and sales soared amid privacy and exposure concerns, and have remained popular even as pandemic restrictions have eased.
The vacation home market, in particular, has been vigorous and looks set to stay so, industry trackers say. In the first quarter of 2021, for example, vacation home sales rose 46% year-over-year, according to Realtor.com, and home sales in general should grow 6.6% in 2022.
“Given the pandemic, a second home offers a sense of security and personal space that a hotel or vacation rental may not,” said Joe Robison, data reporter at online moving resource MoveBuddha.com. “And with work-from-home protocols, the freedom to move between two different home offices could be tremendously attractive as it offers a change of scenery without the unknown variables of booking a vacation rental.”
Where are people buying or renting this winter?
Travel insurer Allianz Partners has found that 68% of Americans polled say a wintertime trip is important, and nearly as many (57%) intend to vacation domestically this year.
Rental platform Vacasa.com has compiled a list of the best places to buy a winter vacation home, based on cost and rental-rate returns, while MoveBuddha.com has put together a list of home prices in the best affordable — and more aspirational — winter holiday spots.
There are currently more than 5 million vacation homes in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In excess of 1 million of them are listed on major online platforms as short-term rentals, research firm AirDNA has found.
Americans shopping for winter retreats of their own are mixed in their motivations, said Shaun Greer, vice president of real estate and strategic growth at Vacasa. The firm’s 2021 Vacation Rental Buyer Report found 58% of shoppers wanted a rental they too could vacation at, while 42% wanted an income-generating investment first and foremost.
“It really depends on the buyer and their priorities,” he said. “Whatever the motivation, it’s critical for buyers to establish the financial goals of a rental property from the beginning and determine how often they plan to use it.”
The more you use your vacation home yourself, especially during periods of high-demand such as holidays, the less income you’ll earn, Greer noted, “so it’s important to factor that into projections and the overall budget.”
Daily rental rates are up this year in top markets, so gross revenue in the short-term rental market is up —…
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