The phenomenal real estate boom of the past several years has not been confined to sales of primary residences alone. Sales of second homes also have ratcheted up dramatically as vacationers and investors look to snap up these properties amid the lure of low mortgage rates and rapidly increasing home values.
According to a study conducted by the National Association of Realtors, 2.82 million vacation home purchases were made in 2004, up 16 percent from the previous year.
With the rising demand, prices also escalated; the price of a typical vacation home increased 21 percent from 2003 to 2004, about twice the rate of appreciation for the overall home market.
In addition to vacation homes, sales in the second-home market were bolstered significantly by those searching for steadily appreciating investments. Nearly 25 percent of all homes purchased in 2004 were done so for investment purposes – a 14 percent increase from 2003.
Against this backdrop, real estate firms are recognizing the importance of understanding and servicing this influential group of homebuyers.
“Second-home buyers represent a vital and growing part of the overall market,” said Brenda Casserly, president and chief operating officer of ERA Real Estate. “These discerning buyers have extremely specific and often widely varying needs, and real estate firms looking to lead in this segment must continue to provide these consumers with an efficient mix of one-on-one and Web-based services and resources.”
ERA Real Estate has been an industry leader in this area with its established Resort Properties International program. The program features a team of trained resort experts who can instantly access key resources from around the world and provide specialized information on second-home properties across all price levels and comfort needs.
ERA Real Estate also recently launched Resorts.ERA.com, a Web site designed specifically to meet the needs of second-home buyers. Visitors to the site can search for properties categorized by state or other criteria, such as waterfront locations, ski resorts and golf club communities.
Through the site, consumers can connect with sales associates who specialize in the resort and second-home market, and access links to state and local resources as well as market trends.