Get Me Out of Here! Pandemic Leads to Vacation Home Boom

For sale signs beckon buyers to homes along Park Avenue in Richmond, Va., Friday, Aug. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to stay home much longer than they ever could have anticipated. Whether they are working from home or finding it difficult to find a fun weekend activity, many Americans have been investing in vacation homes within driving distance of their primary residences. According to Jeff Tucker, senior economist at Zillow, “[Home shoppers] would [now] get a lot more time to actually enjoy the natural amenities of the locations.”

Since many Americans are staying home more, they are using the money they would have spent on concerts, sporting events and international travel to purchase vacation homes. In fact, according to an Oct. 13 article by Nicole Friedman in The Wall Street Journal, “Home sales around the country have risen to the highest level since 2006.”

This rise in home sales comes even though home prices have started to increase in some vacation spots. For instance, in Panama City, Florida, “pending sales in the end of September rose almost 24% year-over-year,” said Zillow. Other areas that have shown a boost in sales include the Jersey Shore; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Lake Tahoe, Nevada; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; and Park City, Utah.

During off-seasons many of these new homeowners plan to rent out their residences, another incentive to make the purchase. Emily Rush, a 27-year-old project manager for a market research firm near Philadelphia, who bought her first home in Ocean City, Maryland, stated, “It felt like a safe investment because if I eventually return to the city, I will still have a great rental property or vacation home.”

In a report by Zillow, “newly pending home sales are up in 90% of the markets analyzed.” As the effects of the pandemic continue to impact the way we work and live, an uptick in vacation-home sales will also remain the trend.

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