Monday, April 19, 2004

Second Homes

More Americans than ever are buying or considering buying second homes. Increasing wealth and an aging population will do that. Recent estimates put the number of second homes in the U.S. at 7 million -- over 5 percent of the U.S. housing stock. Precise definitions do not yet exist; some people like the label "vacation homes" and it is unclear what occupancy characteristics define a second home.

Investors may want to consider the most likely locations of the next wave of second home development. The mountain states are a good bet, providing open spaces and recreational opportunities. Access to remote places will also improve as the airline industry continues to grow specialized niche carriers and services. Expanded broadband access will also make a difference.

Two or more cars per household in the U.S. were a luxury half a century ago and are common now. Two homes per household as a household staple is not far off.