NAR: Vacation-home sales surged in 2013

sjones@thesunnews.comApril 4, 2014 

The National Association of Realtors has just put out some information that will warm the hearts of Grand Strand Realtors who don’t already know it.

According to NAR, vacation home sales surged in 2013, up 29.7 percent to an estimated 717,000 from 553,000 in 2012. Sales of owner-occupied properties were up 13.1 percent to 3.7 million.

While the exact numbers of vacation-home sales aren’t know along the Grand Strand, overall home sales in 2013 were about 20 percent above 2012 levels, according to statistics from SiteTech Systems, which tracks the area’s real estate market.

Area Realtors said that retirees were prominent among the buyers in 2013, and at least some of them were buying several years before they planned to retire and wanted to rent their new properties out in the meantime.

NAR said that nationwide, vacation-home sales accounted for 13 percent of all real estate transactions last year, their highest market share since 2006.

At the same time, though, investment sales fell to 20 percent of all transactions across the country in 2013, a trend that was reflected along the Grand Strand. Investor sales tallied 24 percent of all sales in 2012, according to NAR.

The return of more normal markets and an increase in prices calmed investors’ fervor for real estate in 2013, said Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist.

NAR said the median investment home price was $130,000 in 2013, up 13 percent from 2012. Distressed sales accounted for 42 percent of vacation-home sales, which had a median sales price of $168,000 overall last year, up from $150,000 the year before.

The association said the typical vacation-home buyer was 43 years old and had a median household income of $85,600. The properties they bought were a median distance of 180 miles from their primary residences, the NAR reported.

The big majority of buyers, 87 percent, said they want to use their new vacation homes for vacations or as a family retreat and 31 percent plan to use it as a primary residence in the future.

Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.

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