It might surprise you to learn that a third of all homes sold during the past year were second homes – those to be used as a vacation residence or investment property.  This was revealed in the “2008 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey,” conducted by the National Association of Realtors.  The survey showed that 12 percent of home sales were vacation homes, while 21 percent were purchased for investment purposes.

Even in a generally sluggish sales market, the appeal of owning a private vacation home is strong.  It provides a get-away retreat from the stresses of a busy work and home life. 

            “Vacation home purchases are largely tied to lifestyle consideration,” it was noted in the NAR report.  “Households seek to own an additional home in a desirable destination.”

            Other buyers see the current market as an opportunity to acquire homes as investments, sometimes at below-market bargain prices. The purchase of a home for investment is a dollars-and-cents decision resting in part on current cash flow from rental income and expectations of future profit gains.  The motivation to buy investment homes is partially driven by investors seeking to diversify their assets and generate income.

            Check with your loan officer to see if and how this may apply to your loan.


With the subject of global warming coming front and center in the news these days, architects are looking for solutions that will not only satisfy the tastes of the luxury homeowner, but will appeal to their environmental conscience as well.

            The new “green” home will be built from recycled materials such as Syndecrete — a lightweight concrete or sustainable woods such as bamboo.

            Solar power is making huge strides. The ugly solar panels that stick up from your roof top are a thing of past. Solar panels are now artfully set in among the roofing tiles. And with a grid-tied PV system you don’t have to worry about cold water on cloudy days. It will automatically switch over to your standard electrical system when the sun disappears.

Low-emissivity glass reduces interior heat and ultraviolet rays from the sun. In cool months, the inside is warmed by a combination of passive solar energy stored in the floors and walls and a hydronic radiant-heat system.

As our global environment calls for a life style that will consciously support the natural world around us, designers will continually create newer technologies that will meet our changing needs.

Wealthy Still Shopping for Vacation Homes

Last month the Harrison Group, a Connecticut-based marketing and consulting firm, conducted an Internet survey of 638 respondents with incomes of $100,000 or more. The company broke the group of respondents into four categories, ranging from “Upper Middle Class” (incomes of between $100,000 and $149,000, 123 respondents) to “Wealthy” (incomes of $500,000 or more, 119 respondents).

The survey found that more than three-quarters of respondents believed the U.S. was in a recession. The wealthy were the most pessimistic, with 81% agreeing that we’re in recession.

Yet the wealthy were also the most cheery about the real estate market. Of wealthy respondents, 40% said they plan to buy real estate over the next year. That compares with only 17% for the Upper Middle Class.

 The rich who plan to buy homes are mainly looking for leisure properties. One-third plan to buy a vacation home, while about a quarter plan to buy third homes.



Wall Street Journal , May 2 2008