With interest rates on the floor and work-from-home slowly becoming work-from-anywhere, buying a second home, or a vacation home makes more sense than ever. As families have been forced to spend so much time within the four walls of their urban dwelling, vacation homes are becoming the best way to escape the pandemic-ravaged city life. A second home could be the cherry on top of a cake of more balanced work days and a home office away from the city and closer to nature.
And this is precisely what Google search trends show. The raging pandemic may have hit the travel industry hard, but certain types of vacations are on the rise. Rural bookings have been surging on popular travel site Airbnb, as vacationers opt for a more secluded getaway they can drive to. Likewise, second home buyers have been increasingly active in popular vacation home destinations.
- Interest of second home buyers in vacation homes reached a five-year high, after increasing 235% over July 2019 and 103% over August.
- Searches for houses for sale in Big Sky and Fort Bragg are up 177% and 143% y-o-y, the most impressive increase of all vacation destinations analyzed.
- Cape Cod, the Hamptons, Lake Tahoe and many other top luxury vacation destinations are not just rebounding, but experiencing increased interest compared to two years ago.
Interest in 2nd Homes More Than Doubles Over 2019
Google search trends for the terms “buying a 2nd/second home” and “buying a vacation home” have been surging over the last few months. Indeed, the popularity of the search terms are reaching five years highs — climbing 235% over July of last year and 103% over last August after experiencing subdued interest for four years.
Interest in Big Sky & Fort Bragg Surges Along with Southern Destinations
As home prices rose leading up to the pandemic, buying interest in top vacation markets was falling. But few things work better than an unfortunate lockdown to reignite the appeal of second homes in the best vacation spots throughout the country.
Interest in “houses for sale in Big Sky, MT” is up 177% over last year, and above the interest levels of the past five years. Fort Bragg has a similar story, with “homes for sale in Fort Bragg, CA” up 143% over 2019.
The southeastern destinations of Key West, Myrtle Beach, Destin, Blue Ridge and Kissimmee were all experiencing waning vacation home interest for years prior to 2020. However, interest in second homes in these destinations has returned to relative highs of five years ago and exceeded those highs in some cases.
It’s not just these markets either. Top luxury vacation destinations are experiencing increased interest as well.
Searches in Cape Cod, The Hamptons and Lake Tahoe Reach Two Year Highs
The sudden shift in searches for second homes is impressive. But the skyrocketing demand registered in luxury destinations is truly striking. Demand in many luxury markets was on a downward path during the earlier part of the year. But the surge in interest during summer reached levels not seen in the last two years. Lake Tahoe, CA, Nantucket, The Hamptons, Cape Cod and Jackson Hole, WY all followed this trend, with recent interest in buying a home soaring.
Others returned to their pre-pandemic levels by mid-summer, including Aspen, CO, Park City, UT, Palm Springs, CA and Newport Beach, CA.
Hover over the graphs for each location to see the evolution of interest as reflected by Google search trends:
After staying put for so long, all these destinations are appealing — more so if you happen to have a place to vacation in one of these cities. But if you’re in the market for a second home, just keep in mind that many people are too it seems.
Google keyword research was based on a list of the most popular second home locations in the U.S. Searches were combined to include both “house” and “home” keyword searches. Online search volumes represent 2019 vs. 2020 interest metrics from Google Trends.
“Buying a second home” and “buying a vacation home” compared five years of average interest in Google search trends.
For luxury second home locations we compared 10 of the most popular places combined with “house” or “home” in Google Trends, category: real estate. We analyzed the average interest by day over the last three years.
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