It’s not just main-residence single-family homes that have been selling like hotcakes. With restrictions on foreign travel and a renewed focus on quality of life, sales of vacation homes have also skyrocketed throughout the area.
Traditionally, vacation homes along the Pinellas beaches have always been in high demand with snowbirds. Owners and renters alike would flock to the area during the “season” of February and March. Savvy sellers would list their property before or during that time, hoping to capture the attention of northern visitors who fall in love with our sunny climate. Many renters, tired of trying to secure a place for the next year, would turn to buying their own 2nd home from a comfortable list of available properties.
However, as with everything, the pandemic changed the real estate landscape. Over the last year, many people purchased second homes as a safe getaway from the challenges of the health crisis. For professionals working from home and students taking remote classes, the appeal of moving out of cities and into areas with a better lifestyle has created a larger pool of homebuyers in the area. This increased demand has everyone scrambling to find available listings. Condos and homes along the beach are snapped up as soon as they hit the market.
According to a monthly survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the share of vacation home sales to total existing-home sales rose to 5.5% in 2020 and to 6.7% in the first four months of 2021. Vacation home sales were up 57% year-over-year during January-April 2021, compared to the 20% year-over-year change in total existing-home sales.
This shows there is still high demand for second and getaway homes in 2021, even as we start to recover from the pandemic. While we hope to see a rise in second-home sellers as life returns to normal, ongoing low supply and high demand will continue to challenge buyers. On the other hand, sellers who decide to put their homes on the market will likely see a good return on their investment.
If you’re one of the many people who purchased a vacation home in the past, you have many options. If you choose to sell it, there are still plenty of buyers in the market. If you want to keep your second home, enjoy it! Current market conditions show that it’s a good ongoing investment.