Posted July 6 2010, 2:57 AM PDT by Noelle Bortfeld

Vacation Homes: looking better all the time

Posted in Market News by Noelle Bortfeld

Whether you’re in the market for a lakeside cottage, a mountain cabin, a ski chalet or an island retreat, the vacation home market is warming up.  If you have strong credit scores, this could be the right time to take the plunge.

According to a January 10, 2010 article in The NY Times, “Lenders now appear willing to finance second homes, but borrowers must be patient, eminently qualified and strategic about their house choices.”  In general, you need a strong credit score and a substantial down payment to qualify for a mortgage on a vacation home.

Vacation home sales on the rise
According to the National Association of Realtors, vacation home sales recovered in 2009. NAR’s 2010 “Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey” indicates that in 2009, vacation home sales rose 7.9 percent nationally to 553,000, up from 513,000 in 2008. Around one in ten residential home purchases in 2009 were vacation homes, about the same share of the market as in 2008. In addition:

  • Half of all vacation homes purchased were in the South, 21 percent were in the West, 17 percent were in the Midwest and 12 percent were in the Northeast.

  • Seven out of ten vacation homes purchased were detached single-family homes.

  • The overwhelming majority of vacation homes were more than 100 miles from their owner’s primary residence.

  • The median price of a vacation home increased by 12.7 percent from 2008, possibly because more vacation home sales were occurring in higher-priced markets.

In short, the numbers for 2009 are a good indication that the vacation home market picture is looking brighter all the time.


This article was written by Noelle Bortfeld.



  • Here is the Sound Transit link to the commuter train at the Mukilteo station:

    Posted July 26 2010, 5:46 AM by Leanne Finlay

  • I work a 3-county area, King/Snohomish/Island. Many of my long-term clients are looking for second homes, which may become a later permanent home for some. I have also found that some of my working clients are considering a train commute, and buying a permanent home in a more "vacation" home area, and renting a low-priced apartment in the city.

    For those who are thinking "I want to live somewhere more rural, yet easily accessible to the city, but I can't afford an arm & a leg" ... I highly recommend considering Whidbey Island. You'll be surprised at the variety of choices you will have in all price ranges.

    Posted July 26 2010, 5:43 AM by Leanne Finlay

  • The second home market in Southern Utah is divided into two segments; winter homes in St. George and summer mountain cabins. The winter home market has been improving with the reduction of the glut in larger second homes. While the mountain cabin market here in Southern Utah is still very depresssed. Many of our mountain cabin market come from either northern Utah or Las Vegas. The Las Vegas market continues to be difficult which have kept mountain cabin market very slow. There is a great invintory of mountain homes at great prices.

    Posted July 08 2010, 5:09 AM by Mike Davis

  • In Whitefish, Montana we are seeing similar things happening. Our market has become very attainable with prices the lowest we have seen since 1999. I recently did a search for clients looking for a second home and came up with 209 listings under $200,000 within the Whitefish and Kalispell areas. The beauty of the Flathead Valley is hard to beat and at these prices, untouchable!

    Posted July 06 2010, 5:39 AM by Bonnie Hannigan

  • Working in a vacation market like Leavenworth, I've rarely run into clients buying vacation homes who had difficulty qualifying for a loan. We're more likely to have difficulty with the property qualifying for a loan. This comes in all shapes . We have run into low appraisal issues, "condo-tels" that don't qualify for conventional financing (or condos that underwriters think are condo-tels) and new condo projects that haven't sold enough units to qualify for conventional loans.

    While we haven't seen the price drops that bigger markets have, economic uncertainty has really reduced the number of sales in our market. (Moving in the opposite direction of the national numbers.) In Leavenworth, we're likely to see a record supply of homes on the market this summer which is great news for buyers.

    What are other agents seeing in their local vacation markets?

    Posted July 06 2010, 3:17 AM by Geordie Romer | Leavenworth WA