One significant effect of this year’s coronavirus pandemic has been a booming market in vacation homes.

While many households are struggling financially, there are also many that are taking the opportunity to find second homes away from larger metro areas. For remodelers in more remote or popular vacation areas, this represents a great opportunity.

Demand for second homes was up more than 100 percent in October 2020 vs. 2019, according to analysis of mortgage data by Redfin. That was the fourth time in the last five months demand increased by at least 100 percent year-over-year. The same data shows that demand for primary homes is up only 50 percent. Home prices are up 21 percent in what Redfin defines as seasonal home communities, compared with a 14 percent increase in other areas this year.

Industry experts credit several pandemic-related reasons for the increase, such as historically low mortgage rates. Other factors include that distance learning and working from home means people don’t need to be in town to work and learn, as well as travel restrictions limiting other vacation options. Some have speculated that these homes could eventually become primary homes as the owners opt to become year-round residents of these smaller towns.

The biggest gain is in communities within four hours of major metros or “drivable” destinations to make a short trip practical as they move back and forth between the two homes. Despite that, families are looking for homes that allow longer stays, rather than just a weekend getaway. According to John Burns Real Estate Consulting, today’s buyers represent a major shift, looking toward lifestyle benefits rather than the investment or rental opportunities of the vacation homes.

We know from extensive research from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies that the first year after someone buys a home is a significant time for remodeling. That should prove to be even more true as these new homeowners try to bring their vacation homes up to the level they need for everyday living.

Making sure to rethink your marketing to reflect the desired features of these second homes will be key. Show that you have experience providing those types of remodels with pictures and information about these features in your print and digital marketing

  • Home offices – With many families working and learning from their new second homes, they are going to need dedicated home offices and classrooms. “Zoom rooms” for private video calls are gaining popularity in primary homes and make a lot of sense for a vacation home as well, especially if space is limited.
  • Private spaces – With families extending their trips to second homes beyond weekends, small bathrooms and shared bedrooms probably no longer get the job done. Many homeowners will be looking for additions or creative solutions to redesign their existing space.
  • Larger kitchen – Again, the kitchen that may have been acceptable for a weekend trip where many meals were eaten out isn’t going to cut it anymore. From additional food storage to better lighting to more preparation space, there are plenty of needs that can be addressed with a kitchen remodel.
  • Energy efficiency – New homeowners are probably looking to upgrade old appliances, inefficient insulation and drafty windows, especially if they plan on living in the home for long stretches of time. Connected home features that allow homeowners to monitor the HVAC and other systems remotely also are a smart upgrade.

Ready to target these new second-home owners? Contact RT Marketing today to see how we can help improve your marketing!