Vacation home sales took a dip this summer

Second home rate locks fell 26.6 percent but pricing is still hot, second-home startup Pacaso said.

Vacation home sales took a dip this summer
Pacaso CEO Austin Allison (LinkedIn)

Vacation home sales cooled this summer but pricing was still hot.

Overall, second-home rate locks, a proxy and leading indicator for sales, fell 26.6 percent year over year during the summer as buyers eased off pandemic-fueled purchases, according to data compiled by the second-home startup Pacaso. Of the 50 top second-home markets, 46 saw a decline in transactions.

Pacaso selected the top 50 vacation home markets by identifying counties where the percentage of seasonal homes and median home values were at or above the top 20th percentile.

At the peak, in the fall of 2020, vacation home sales were up more than 103 percent year over year.

Vacation home pricing was still scorching. All but one of the top second-home markets — Lee County, Florida, home of Sanibel Island — saw double-digit price increases this summer.

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Kauai County in Hawaii stood out, with massive gains in both second-home rate locks and prices. Second-home rate locks were up 23.5 percent and prices were up 83.3 percent. It is the only one of the top 50 second-home markets with a median price of more than $1 million.

Rate locks on the estimated 10 million vacation homes in the U.S. remain above pre-pandemic levels, Pacaso said. Second-home rate locks represented 4.3% of all rate locks in the summer of 2021, up from the average quarterly market share of 3.8% from 2017 to 2019.

Pacaso, which facilitates luxury second-home ownership by allowing prospective owners to buy as little as a one-eighth share of multi-million properties, grew to a $1.5 billion valuation in just a year. In recent months it has drawn criticism from disgruntled homeowners who say the startup peddles a faux-luxury experience and prioritizes profits at the expense of community.

The company expanded into South Florida in September and has plans to grow its business overseas, beginning with Spain later this year.

The firm counts SoftBank, Greycroft, Global Founders Capital, Crosscut and 75 & Sunny Ventures among its largest investors.

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