4 things driving second home buyers (and what agents can do about them)

Published Date: January 5, 2023

A family takes a tour of a luxury home as they pursue their goal of buying a vacation home.
There's no denying that today's challenging macro environment has impacted second home sales. Despite a weak Q3, however, demand for luxury second homes continues to be well above pre-pandemic levels.This sustained demand means agents have an opportunity to understand what motivates their buyers and act swiftly to close more second home deals. Here are four key trends noted by both second home buyers and current owners — plus, four tips for agents to address them.

1. Location beats price and home size

In Pacaso's 2022 Second Home Attitude Report, we found that 70% of aspiring second home buyers view location as the top factor in their buying decision, followed closely by price (66%) and home size (48%). These factors are top of mind for 67% of existing second home owners as well. Current second home owners, however, are more likely to prioritize the appeal of a neighborhood compared to aspiring second home buyers (45% versus 30%).Agent tip: With location and price being top considerations for buyers, consider sharing these 25 best places for a second home to help your clients choose a location that suits their needs, lifestyle and budget. As an agent, you'll be able to guide them, whether it's buying a home sight unseen or purchasing a home in another state.

2. Second home owners and buyers embrace a road trip 

Pacaso's second home report found that owners and buyers prefer a home that they can travel to easily. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed have (or expect) a commute to their second home of four hours or less. Current second home owners, however, are more likely to have slightly longer commutes — 43% of owners drive more than four hours to their home. Ownership status aside, an overwhelming 87% of second home owners and buyers want to drive to their second home over flying or taking the train.Agent tip: Commutes and locations aren't the only thing buyers need to keep top of mind when buying a second home — educate your clients on critical steps like financing, negotiating offers, budgeting and picking the right home amenities.

3. Second home owners use their homes only a few times a year

Both second home owners and buyers feel nearly the same about the number of trips they make to their second home — 71% of those surveyed in Pacaso's report plan to visit their second home less than seven times a year. Current second home owners prefer infrequent, longer vacations. In the survey, 67% spend only two or three-plus weeks in their vacation home. Ownership status aside, a combined 65% of owners and buyers expect to spend two weeks or fewer for each stay.Agent tip: Ask your clients about how much they plan to use their second home. If they are only expecting to use their home for a few weeks of the year, consider introducing them to alternative options like co-ownership, where they pick the amount of ownership that suits their needs. New certifications like the Pacaso Second Home Specialist can help you become an expert in this model. 

4. Buyers dream of living by the water

With the shift toward remote work, buyers are looking to balance work and life outside of their primary home. Pacaso's report found that 61% of prospective buyers want their second home to be near the water and only 11% want a second home in the city. Nine of 10 surveyed say they prefer to own their second home within the U.S.Agent tip: Learn the pros and cons of buying a beach house so that you can help your clients choose the perfect location for their seaside retreat. If they're open to going beyond the beach, homes near a lake or homes that include private docks are popular alternatives.

More options for owning a second home

Buyers have clear expectations for their second home, especially with the location, size and the amount of time they spend on vacation. A co-ownership model like Pacaso could be the best solution for your clients. With a select number of buyers coming together to co-own a luxury home, Pacaso offers more opportunities for maximized space, preferred destinations and amenities, and selecting the right amount of ownership for your client's needs.This post originally appeared on Inman.com.

headshot of writer Tony Huynh

Tony Huynh

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