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Ranking the Nation’s Top Targets for Second Homes

Pacaso has released its third annual Top Second Home Markets Report, identifying the leading luxury second home and investment property markets for 2023, and highlighting the top markets to key in on for 2024. The report reveals the top 10 counties across the U.S. that saw the biggest annual increases in second home transactions and the largest year-over-year appreciation for homes priced above one million dollars.

In the list of top 10 markets for second homes and investment property transactions this year, Newport County, Rhode Island, takes the lead with an impressive 64% surge in second home transactions in 2023, marking a significant increase from 2022.

Coming in at second place on the list is Volusia County, Florida where the average media sale price came in at more than $4.1 million and experienced a 19% year-over-year increase. Taking the number three spot was York County, Maryland, where the average median home sales price was just under $2.1 million, and reported a 16% year-over-year increase. Occupying the number four spot was Fairfield County, Connecticut, where the median home sales price reported was a shade above $2.2 million, and experienced a 14% year-over-year rise in transactions. Rounding out the top five was another Maine County, Cumberland County, where the average median home sales price was approximately $1.7 million, with a 14% year-over-year rise in transactions.

The aforementioned Fairfield County, Connecticut (14%) and New York’s Westchester County (10%) stood out as New York City suburbs, showcasing the enduring appeal of metro-adjacent locations. On the West Coast, Douglas County, Nevada (13%), and Island County, Washington (11%), experienced significant year-over-year increases in second home transactions. Douglas County, nestled on the southeastern border of Lake Tahoe, while Island County, home to Whidbey Island, draws attention for its Pacific Northwest landscape.

"In today's dynamic real estate landscape, it's no surprise to witness metro-adjacent counties like Fairfield and Westchester, leading the charts in second home transactions,” said Pacaso CEO and Co-Founder Austin Allison. “With the onslaught of hybrid back-to-office policies by several companies, home buyers are seeking the perfect blend of spacious, nature-centric living, all while maintaining the convenience of a short train ride to the city.”

Looking forward to 2024, the markets Pacaso has measured as keeping an eye on include Volusia County, Florida, which reported a 47% year-over-year increase in average second home value. Volusia also experienced a surge in second home transactions, registering a 19% growth and ranking as the second-largest year-over-year expansion.

Other counties experiencing significant appreciation trends include Washoe County, Nevada, home to Reno, which witnessed an impressive 26% increase in value from 2022, credited to its proximity to Lake Tahoe, absence of state income tax, and the appeal of less-crowded ski resorts like Mt. Rose. Meanwhile, Brunswick County, North Carolina, the state's southernmost county, experienced a parallel 26% appreciation. Notably, Jefferson County, Colorado, a Denver suburb, saw an impressive 37% appreciation. Summit County, Utah, home to the popular year-round destination Park City, demonstrated an impressive 18% increase in second home values from 2022 to 2023.

"Expedia recently highlighted the phenomenon of 'destination dupes'—budget-friendly alternatives to popular locations—that have left a lasting impact on the travel scene," added Allison. "It seems this trend is extending into the real estate realm, with locales providing more affordable housing options while offering comparable amenities, access to outdoor activities, scenic beaches, and charming towns, akin to their more famous counterparts. Consider Bald Head Island, North Carolina, as a dupe to South Carolina's Kiawah or the Charleston barrier islands, Mt. Rose as a substitute for Tahoe's ski resorts, and even Golden, Colorado, as an alternative to the expected Colorado mountain towns."

Following Volusia County, Florida and coming in at second on the list of markets to watch in 2024 is Atlantic County, New Jersey, where the average sales price reported was just above $2.8 million, a 41% year-over-year change. Ranking third on the list of 2024 markets to watch was Jefferson County, Colorado, where the average home sold for a little over $2.7 million, representing a 37% year-over-year change. Indian River County in Florida took the number four spot, where the average home sold for a shade under $3.2 million, a 30% year-over-year increase. Rounding out the top five markets to watch out for in 2024 was Washoe County, Nevada, home to Reno, which reported a 26% increase in value from 2022, and an average home sales price of just over $2.4 million.

Click here for more on Pacaso’s top luxury second home markets.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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