Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Weekend Getaway, your Second Home

Just the word “weekend” is wonderful. It conjures up a whole list of possibilities other than work. Sleeping in for some, others rise early getting into their favorite hobby at the crack of dawn. Staying up late with friends and family. Kicking back. Add “Get Away” and it gets even better. Owning the place for your weekend getaway is sweet. Now is a great time to consider getting a place "up north".

Second-Home Sales Accounted For One-Third of Transactions in 2007. One out of every three homes in the United States today was bought as a second home. We're in the midst of a second-home ownership boom, fueled by such factors as the shrinking American family, older and wealthier households, and new technologies for working from home.

And now you're thinking about taking the plunge. Maybe you're looking for an alternative to other investments and will rent or resell the house. Or maybe a cabin by your favorite lake or river is calling to you. And if you're thinking ahead toward retirement, you may want to find a manageable, well-located home now.

The combined total of vacation- and investment-home sales declined with the overall market in 2007, but still accounted for 33 percent of all existing- and new-home sales, which is close to historic norms, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the findings suggest different cycles for each of the sectors over the past two years. “Investment-home sales declined sharply in 2006 as speculators disappeared, leaving the market to serious buyers, with the pattern continuing in 2007,” he said. “Vacation-home sales rose to a new record in 2006 because there was a pent-up demand from buyers who couldn’t find a property as a result of tight supplies in preceding years.”

Yun said lifestyle factors and strong demographics remain positive for the vacation home market. “Investment considerations are secondary for vacation-home buyers, so there is some dormant underlying demand,” he said. “A peak of population is moving through the prime years for buying recreational property. It is welcoming to see investment sales returning to pre-boom sales activity.”

Curious About Your Fellow Second-Home Buyers? NAR’s 2007 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey revealed the following information:

The median price of a vacation home was $195,000 in 2007, down 2.5 percent from $200,000 in 2006.

Fifty-nine percent of vacation homes purchased in 2007 were detached single-family homes, 29 percent condos, 7 percent townhouses or rowhouses, and 5 percent other.

Sixty-five percent of vacation home buyers and 71 percent of investment home buyers purchased existing homes, while the remainder purchased new homes.

The typical vacation-home buyer in 2007 was 46 years old, had a median household income of $99,100, and purchased a property that was a median of 287 miles from their primary residence.

Most second-home owners are married couples; 83% of vacation-home owners, and 75% of investment-home owners.

In listing the reasons for purchasing a vacation home, 84 percent of buyers wanted to use the home for vacation or as a family retreat; 30 percent to use as a primary residence in the future; 26 percent to diversify investments; 25 percent to rent to others; 16 percent for the tax benefits; 14 percent for use by a family member, friend or relative; and 6 percent because they had extra money to spend.

Vacation-home buyers plan to keep their property for a median of 10 years; 38 percent plan to keep their vacation home for 11 years or more. Investment buyers plan to hold their property for a median of four years, with 29 percent planning to keep for six years or more. However, 10 percent of investment buyers plan to sell in one year or less.

Buyers must be enjoying the second-home experience. 21% of vacation-home owners go on to buy one or more additional vacation homes, and 34% of investment-home owners go on to buy additional investment properties.

Eight in 10 second-home buyers consider it a good time to invest in real estate, compared with 59 percent of primary residence buyers. Forty-four percent of vacation-home buyers and 57 percent of investment buyers said they were likely to purchase another property within two years.

NAR’s 2007 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, conducted in March 2008, includes answers from 1,965 usable responses. The survey controlled for age and income, based on information from the larger 2007 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, to limit any biases in the characteristics of respondents.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Home and Cabin

Home or Cabin? How about both?
With an ever increasing number of our buyers hoping to find a seasonal home or full time residence vs. a weekend cottage, the need for well insulated dwellings with finer finishes is increasing. Many of the individuals looking to retire to our area do not want to give up all the creature comforts they may enjoy in their current home, and would also like to embrace the classic up north lodge "feel". There are some great properties out there that fill both needs! Here are three great examples.

Classic AuSable Log Home
This 1920's era log home was moved to it's current location in 1993 and place on a brand new walk-out foundation. Since that time, all of the major mechanical systems have been upgraded to modern code, including all electrical, plumbing, hot water heating and insulation making this a wonderful year round vacation home or full time residence. The hand carved logs end in remarkably tight dove tailed corners. The property includes a 3-car full log garage, 230' of frontage on The Flies Only section of The AuSable River's Mainstream near Grayling and over 5 acres of heavily wooded land. The current list price is $475,000. Click the image for a virtual tour of the property or go to it's location on our site for more details. E-mail Chad Brown for additional information or for answers to your questions about this property.

Log Sided North Branch Beauty
This terrific home began as a charming little cabin, but the current owners did a wonderful job with a major addition and renovation and created an fantastic year round residence. Stainless steel appliances, modern electrical and heating systems and a sweeping view over The North Branch of The AuSable River all make this a terrific blend of modern amenities and up north charm. Currently listed at $389,000. Click the photo for more detailed information. E-mail Mark Bear with questions on this listing.

Little Manistee Full Log
Built in 2006, this very charming full log cabin offers a full walk-out basement, main floor master bedroom, wonderful wrap around deck and stunning river views over The Little Manistee River. A very private wooded setting within easy reach of the amenities of Manistee. A seperate full log guest cottage provides great space for visiting family and guests. A brand new listing at $338,000. Click the image for more detailed information or e-mail Brian Pitser with any questions.