A second or vacation home has become the dream and goal of an increasing number of families.
A vacation residence on or close to the beach, by a lake or in the mountains holds great appeal to families who can afford it, according to several brokers. An increasing proportion of brokerage business now involves second homes.
"When we're contacted by an out-of-town family, often referred by other brokers, we 'schmooze' them with information, giving them an overall perspective on our area and a realistic view of second-home opportunities," one broker said.
This is an active time of year for second-home sales. Many families recently enjoyed a summer vacation at a favorite resort location and are hot on the idea of acquiring their own vacation residence.
Among the vast number of vacationers, only about 5 percent actually own a vacation home, according to the U.S. Travel Data Center.
But that percentage is growing, particularly now with moderating prices and favorable financing opportunities.
"We are seeing an aging of the baby boomers," said Scott Dring, a spokesman for the Travel Data Center. "As their level of income continues to rise, we'll see a continuing increase in the percentage of vacationers who own a second home."
The general trend is to establish a vacation residence in a locale accessible by auto and within one day's driving time.
The Travel Data Center estimates that the majority of vacations this year will include two or three nights and involve trips no more than 300 miles away. Some units in new second-home developments are expensive. For example, a new residential resort community is being developed on Catalina Island, 26 miles west of Los Angeles Harbor. The development, Hamilton Cove, will include 330 single-family residences, town houses and condominiums.
These Mediterranean-style villas are not attainable second homes for the average family. Prices range from $500,000 to $1 million. Homeowners' association dues are now estimated at about $550 per month.
What happened to the simple little low-cost cabin on the beach, lakefront or in the mountains?