The Sunshine State has consistently ranked as a perennial favourite for holiday homes in the US. A recent report confirms this by rating two Florida destinations as top vacation home counties in the US. Lee and Collier counties, both in Southwest Florida, take first and third place in the hottest markets in 2021.
Higher sales in vacation home counties in the US
A National Association of Realtors report (NAR) looked at 1,205 counties and ranked them based on their second homes. Just 145 emerged as vacation home counties, destinations with at least 20% of properties classed as holiday homes.
The NAR found that sales of vacation homes outpaced those of other residential property in all 145 counties. In 2020, holiday home transactions went up by 16.4%, 5.6% more than other property sales.
This year, the increase was even higher with second homes experiencing a 57.2% uptick in sales between January and April.
Vacation home market fast fact: buyers are more likely to pay in cash – 57% of sales were all cash in the first four months of 2021 compared to just 22% of all sales.
Bigger share of US property market
The report also revealed that the share of the second home market has grown steadily since the outbreak of the pandemic. Vacation homes represented 5.5% of the total in 2020, but in the first four months of this year, their share increased to 6.7%. In April, it stood at 8%.
NAR attributes the rise in sales to Covid-19. More employees work from home, many students take online tuition and most people are looking for the security and leisure options found in typical holiday destinations. As a result, vacation home counties in the US have seen a rise in property sales.
Vacation home market fast fact: Lee County has the highest number of holiday homes in the US with a total of 90,792. Collier County ranks in third place with 58,406.
Lee County hottest market
In the ranking of the 145 vacation home counties, NAR found that Lee County in Southwest Florida was the country’s hottest market. The area is home to the popular holiday destinations of Fort Myers and Cape Coral and saw sales increase by 10% in 2020 and prices by 12.3%.
As well as a favourite for vacation homes, Lee County also ranks as the destination with the highest net migration in the US last year. Over 18,500 people moved to this part of Southwest Florida in 2020, a factor currently driving the busy market in the area.
Vacation home market fast fact: Condo vacation homes increased their market share in 2020 to 21%, up from 12% in 2019.
Collier County third hottest market
Taking two of the top five places, Florida dominates the best markets for vacation home counties in the US. Collier County sits in third position. According to the NAR report, sales of holiday properties rose by 4.6% last year while median prices increased by 10.2%. Both Lee and Collier have mid-range prices in the region of US$245,000.
(Source: National Association of Realtors)