Homes Sweet Homes

By Cathy Lubenski

November 16, 2007 3 min read


Retirees have vacation places, plans to 'age in place'

By Cathy Lubenski

Copley News Service

The number of baby boomers owning vacations homes is booming. David Lareah, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, said the market continues to be dominated by the generation born between 1946 and 1964.

According to a survey commissioned by NAR, the typical vacation homeowner is 59 years old, earned $120,000 last year, and purchased a property that's 220 miles from their primary residence.

About six in 10 of the survey respondents own two or more homes in addition to their primary residence, and are interested in purchasing additional homes.

The survey indicated that minorities are becoming more active in the market. Minorities account for 11 percent of vacation home purchases from 2003 to 2005. In 2002 and earlier, the minority-owned second home rate was 6 percent.

Other findings:

- Eight out of 10 second-home owners drive to their property.

- Half of the homes are in the same state as the owners' primary residence.

- Eighty-three percent of the owners are married couples.

- Three-fourths purchased their second homes for personal use; a third wanted to diversity their investments.

- Eighteen percent plan to use their second home as a primary residence in retirement.

- The typical owner spends 39 nights a year at the property.

- Thirty-two percent want to be near an ocean, lake or river.

- Thirty-one percent want to be close to the mountains or other natural attractions.

The survey was based on an eight-page questionnaire that sampled 45,000 households, with 416 responding.


More baby boomers are electing to age in place. Retirees and the soon-to-be-retired remodel "to continue living in their homes safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age or ability level," Butler said. "The majority of our customers are baby boomers, although we're also seeing strong growth within the Gen-X market as well," he added.

Baths and kitchens, which get the most return for the investment, are still the most popular remodeling projects. Vince Butler, NAHB chief economist, said these rooms are where homeowners spend the most time.

For tips on remodeling, hiring the right contractor and other information, log on to

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