Second Home Sales Are Up, and the New Real Estate Hot Spots Will Surprise You

Branson Ferris Wheel in Branson Missouri
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Across the country, second-home purchases rose about 46%. These purchases make up 6% of mortgages from January through March of this year compared with the same period last year, according to a new analysis by realtor.com. And instead of these second homes being purchased in the “typical playgrounds of the uber-rich,” the analysis found that homes are being purchased in a slew of relatively affordable destinations.

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“The pandemic has underscored for many people the idea that it’s nice to have a place to escape to,” Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com, wrote in an article on the company’s website. “Meanwhile, being able to work from anywhere has made second homes more accessible year-round, so buyers are getting more bang for their buck.”

The sentiment is echoed by Aaron Carter, associate broker and co-founder of CarterMosier Group with HomeSmart, who told GOBankingRates that COVID-19 and the consequential stay-at-home orders “forced our focus to shift inward and to the things closer to us.”

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“The slowing down for many felt good. Our connections to nature, a simpler life, and the people that really matter to us strengthened. Rural and remote areas offer a chance to continue that sense of space, of getting away to unplug and live,” Carter told GOBankingRates. “A primary home serves a purpose, and the purpose of a vacation home is to feel something different. It’s not about going to tourist destinations any longer. People have done that. It’s now about escape and getting away from people. It’s emotional but also a real physical aspect due to the health crisis we just experienced,” he added. 

The new hot spots include Marion, NC, where the median home price in March was $344,500. The city, “an affordable alternative to nearby Asheville,” saw a 21.8% increase in second-home sales, according to realtor.com

Here are a few more places where second home sales are on the rise:

Sturgis, Michigan, located midway between Chicago and Detroit, saw a 21.8% increase in second-home sales and has a median home price of $187,900. Brainerd, Minnesota, two hours north of Minneapolis, has a median home price of $329,900 and saw a 21.8% increase in second-home sales.

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Ruston, Louisiana, home to Louisiana Tech, has a median home price of $242,000 and saw a 19.4% increase in second-home sales.

Hudson, New York, a two-hour drive from Manhattan, has a median home price of $595,000 and saw an 18.7% increase in second-home sales.

Kapaa, Hawaii, located on the east side of the island of Kauai, has a  median home price of $918,500 and saw a 17% increase in second-home sales.

Edwards, Colorado, a gateway to the Beaver Creek Resort, has a median home price of $534,500 and saw a 16.6% increase in second-home sales.

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Branson, Missouri, located in the Ozarks, has a  median home price of $256,200 and saw a 16.5% increase in second-home sales percentage.

Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, which caters to extreme-sports lovers, has a median home price of $162.450 and saw a 14.8% increase in second-home sales.

Rounding up the tally, Barnstable Town, Massachusetts, which includes the beaches of Cape Cod, has a median home price of $759,950 and saw a 14.2%  increase in second-home sales percentage.

“The pandemic will continue to shape how people live and the housing choices people make,” Carter said.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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