Maine is well known as a destination for second homes, whether it be on a lake, along the ocean or in the mountains. National sales statistics of second homes for last year have just been released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) indicating that while 2015 recorded the second highest level of sales in the last 10 years, vacation-home sales were lower (surprisingly) than in 2014. Actual numbers were 920,000 vacation-home sales nationally, compared with 1,130,000 in 2014.
Sales estimates are based on a national online survey of more than 2,000 adults in the United States who purchased residential properties last year.
The share of vacation buyers paying cash jumped to 30% to 38% while the median household income of those buyers increased from $94,380 in 2014 to $103,700 in 2015. The distance of 200 miles away from their primary residences remained unchanged. Buyers plan to own their properties for a median of seven years, an increase from six years in 2014.
Single family homes were the most popular, representing 58% of all sales compared to 54% the year before. 40% of all properties were in beach areas. Nearly half of all vacation homes (47%) were bought in the south, up from 41% in 2014.
More than one-third of buyers planned to use their properties for vacations or as family retreats (37%), 16% purchased for future retirement plans, and only 7% purchased to generate income through renting – a from 11% in 2014.
While this level of detail is not available in Maine, 2015 sales results reflect increases in single family homes with both owned oceanfront and lakefront versus the prior year. Sales of oceanfront homes increased 9.9% while lakefront homes increased 14.0%.
This trend is continuing in 2016. During the first quarter of this year, sales of oceanfront homes are up 21.6% and lakefront homes are up 33.2%.