Demand for second homes in drive-to destinations is surging. Nationwide, these convenient locations are benefiting from a rise in the YOLO (you only live once) mindset as people across the country look to get away and enjoy life as safely as possible during the pandemic. Developers and builders can take advantage of the boom by understanding second-home buyer preferences and a renewed focus on lifestyle in their communities.
Record-breaking demand for drive-to destinations. In July 2020, the Sierra Tahoe MLS logged its highest residential dollar volume in history, up more than 200% year-over-year. Sales at Long Cove, an upscale masterplan on Cedar Creek Lake south of Dallas reached an all-time high in June and again in July. Pending home sales in Bend, Oregon rose 150% year-over-year in July. And in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, sales doubled compared to the same time last year, fueled by demand from New York and New Jersey.
Family refuge in less than four hours. Most second-home buyers, particularly those with school-age children, prefer to drive less than four hours. They desire a getaway to “invest in family,” as well as a place of refuge for the future.
The new “primary” home means longer stays. Because parents can work remotely and children can learn remotely, homeowners now measure second-home stays in weeks and months, rather than days. This use pattern flips the traditional weekend second-home model on its head. Now, households may stay at their second home for most of the time and travel back to their primary home on occasion. Elements such as high-speed internet, home offices, and learning spaces for children have become just as important in second homes as primary homes.
Buyers want to move in soon, which means a priority on a finished home. Today’s buyers are less interested in purchasing a homesite and spending years designing and building a custom home. Resort developers across the country tell us buyers prefer finished product so they can experience their second-home lifestyles right away. We recommend developers in second-home destinations focus on completed homes that are ready for purchase. For to-be-built homes, the build process should be simple and short and include design elements consumers want most. We are tracking consumer preferences and offer great resources to keep you on top of the latest trends.
YOLO in addition to FOMO. Last week, we featured FOMO (fear of missing out) as a reason that buyers are rushing to purchase new homes. The psychology of “you only live once,” or YOLO, is driving the surge in second-home sales. Households who may have otherwise waited have decided now is the time to buy, often using funds that would otherwise be allocated to more traditional vacation travel. Today’s buyers are showing more interest in lifestyle and use than rental potential and future appreciation. Developers who emphasize the lifestyle in their marketing programs will experience stronger sales.