As our Mecosta County’s spring selling season edges toward summer, the allure of vacation houses is more likely to emerge as a front burner issue. The practical rewards of having a second home as a vacation retreat — sometimes one which can also be rented out part-time — is more likely to become an action item as the summer months near.
Earlier this month, we learned about some national trends in a report that detailed the numbers from last year. The NAR® released the summary which went into detail about 2015’s vacation house purchases and the buyers who claimed them.
Prices across the nation were up significantly, which explained why the volume of year-to-year sales had slightly contracted. Even so, they were still the second strongest since 2006, with more than 900,000 changing hands. More than a third of vacation house buyers intended to use their property for vacations or as a family retreat — roughly twice as many as planned to use it for retirement. The lion’s share were single-family residences, with a quarter preferring condos, and fewer still opting for a townhouse or row house.
None of those figures should come as a surprise for Mecosta County readers who are considering the purchase of their own second home. As the rising cost of vacations combines with a seemingly endless escalation in the amount of stress that air travel entails (it’s been called the “anti-vacation” experience), everything seems to argue for practical getaway alternatives. The NAR report showed that typical vacation houses didn’t demand an airport experience. They were distant, but not too distant: the median location was “driving distance” away (about 200 miles).
The biggest turnabout came via the median sales price vacation houses rang up for the year. It’s no exaggeration to characterize the rise as “soaring.” The median sales price was $192,000 — a massive 28% jump above 2015 prices! They made up 16% of all residential sales transactions for the year, and although that meant a decline from 2015, last year’s volume had comprised a virtual “explosion” (CNN Money’s characterization): an uptick of 57% over 2014.
The NAR report also sampled the opinions of the buyers, finding that 80% said they believed that now is a good time to purchase real estate. Since they had just purchased vacation real estate, that doesn’t seem to be much of a surprise — although I do have to admit I agree with them! If you’re inclined to agree, I hope you’ll give me a call. Right now Mecosta County’s market has a wide roster of great offerings at prices for every budget!