Dogged demand for vacation homes continues

by Liz Hughes

Vacation home demand continues to be unrelenting, according to a new report from Zillow.

Demand has been trending up since the beginning of the pandemic, fueled in large part by employers offering more flexible work arrangements that allow employees to work from almost anywhere. 

The majority of the vacation towns impacted by the shift offer sunny weather and are located near lakes, oceans and mountains. Zillow said its page traffic for homes for sale in these areas increased over the past two years from 27.7% in January 2020 to 48.2% in January 2022.  

Astoria, Ore., had the highest rate of page traffic on Zillow compared to the rest of the U.S. and had nearly three times as many page views per listing as the rest of the country. Barre, Vt., was next on the list at 2.6 times more than the U.S., followed by Breckenridge, Colo., at 2.1 times, Portland, Maine, at 2.1 times and the Lakes Region of New Hampshire at two times. 

Unsurprisingly, home-value appreciation in vacation towns is outperforming the rest of the country, with homes in nine out of the top 10 most-popular areas appreciating faster than a typical home. Of the top 19 most-popular towns Zillow tracks, 16 have seen residences appreciate by more than 20% annually, compared to the typical U.S. home that’s appreciated at 19.9%. 

Vacation-home purchase applications increased almost 30% from 2019 to 2020. Counties with the highest share of vacation home applications were in Kane County, Utah, Nantucket County, Mass., and Grand Country, Colo. 

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