A record number of United States property buyers are snapping up vacation homes – with many looking for luxury resorts in Central Florida. Sales of vacation homes across the US in 2014 hit 1.13million, the highest total since surveys began and up by more than half (57.4%) on the previous year, says the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says vacation sales in 2014, calls the growth astonishing and says the steady rise in home prices reassures buyers that real estate remains an attractive long-term investment. “Furthermore, last year’s impressive increase also reflects long-term growth in the numbers of baby boomers moving closer to retirement and buying second homes to convert into their primary home in a few years.”
Vacation-home sales accounted for 21% of all transactions in 2014, their highest market share since the survey was first conducted, according to the NAR’s 2015 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey.
Leading Orlando agent and developer, the Feltrim Group, has seen an increase in holiday home buyers from both US and other countries, particularly for property in resort developments with top-class amenities. According to CEO Garrett Kenny; “What a lot of overseas buyers would like to do is buy in a beautiful rental property that you can visit whenever you want and bring in income by renting it out for the rest of the year. And that is something we try to provide”.
“Our Tuscany Preserve development, which is by beautiful Lake Marion, a 2,990-acre natural lake, is a superb development. You can relax by the pool, enjoy water sports and fish, have a picnic or enjoy the wonderful food and drink at the bars and restaurants.
“The more energetic might like to try the Tuscany Preserve Clubhouse fitness center, play golf, tennis, basketball or go for a bike ride.
“Tuscany Preserve is ideally placed, around half an hour from Walt Disney World and is within easy reach of Legoland Florida, Universal Orlando and all the attractions that the city has to offer. People are looking for this kind of combination” adds Mr Kenny.
Demand from buyers was buoyed by the fact that median prices of vacation homes across the US fell 11.1% year-on-year to $150,000 – although the decline may be due to more buyers switching to cheaper townhouses and condos, the NAR survey says. Just over half (54%) bought a single-family home, but those buying a condo (27%), or townhouse or row house (18%) rose from 2013. Buyers plan to own their property for a median of six years, unchanged from 2013.
In 2014, 45% of vacation homes purchased in 2014 were distressed properties – either a home in foreclosure or a short sale.
One-third plan to use their property for vacations or as a family retreat, 19% plan to convert their vacation home into their primary residence in the future, and 13% bought for potential price appreciation, because of low real estate prices and where buyers found good deals.
Metro areas like Orlando – including many in the South and Southwest – with a lower cost of living and sunnier weather and rising number of baby boomers moving in and buying a home in coming years are set to see rising numbers of buyers, says the NAR.
The sales estimates are based on responses from nearly 2,000 US adults who purchased a residential property in 2014.