NEW YORK (MainStreet) Are you wasting your weekends? With your crazy schedule, it's just too hard to plan ahead, and last-minute getaways can be expensive disappointments. The best retreats are booked, and the leftovers leave a lot to be desired. It seems more and more Americans are solving their diversion dilemma by snagging a vacation home bargain. Excluding institutional investments, vacation home sales rose nearly 30% last year to an estimated 717,000, up from 553,000 in 2012, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
"Growth in the equity markets has greatly benefited high net-worth households, thereby providing the wherewithal and confidence to purchase recreational property," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun says. "However, vacation-home sales are still about one-third below the peak activity seen in 2006."
The NAR reports the median vacation home price was $168,700, a nice number but up 12.5% from $150,000 in 2012.
There report indicates there are some key similarities among successful vacation home buyers:
- Cash purchases are common, as 38% of buyers scored their getaway homes in an all-cash transaction.
- Of the buyers who financed their purchase with a mortgage, large down payments are typical. The median down payment for vacation home buyers was 30%.
- And perhaps the biggest inside edge for vacation home buyers: 42% of the homes purchased last year were distressed houses either in foreclosure or purchased in a short sale.