The average age of a consumer looking to buy a second home is 50, said Chris Kelsey, president of Long Cove, a private community on Cedar Creek Lake built to give Dallas-area families a close-to-home getaway.
"A lot of people are wondering how the desires of consumers are changing now that we’re coming out of the recession," said Kelsey.
The whole second-home industry has been predicated on Baby Boomers, said Kelsey, although the industry is now crossing the threshold from Boomer to Generation X.
"Boomers are becoming grandparents," said Kelsey, who noted that their motivation for buying is often for extended family. On the other hand, Generation X is simply approaching the natural point in life where a second home becomes a feasible option.
What’s interesting, notes Kelsey, is the language used by the Baby Boomers compared to Generation X. Boomers often refer to their second home as a "vacation home," while Gen X typically calls it a "second home."
"This distinction is important to them because they don’t see their resort property as a place for vacation," said the Kelsey & Norden Resort Real Estate Survey. "Instead, they think of it as an extension of their regular lives, a second home where they are connected to a community of like-minded friends and can provide their kids an alternative experience to their urban or suburban neighborhoods. And with the shift comes a similar shift in vocabulary."
Kelsey added that Gen X is notorious for its distaste for gated communities and their dislike of inclusivity. "They may want a gated community, they may just not want to celebrate the fact that they’re in a gated community," said Kelsey.
And while they may not want to gloat about their status symbols, it seems that all second-home consumers want to ensure their second homes are large enough to accommodate. According to Kelsey, "If they’re buying a lot, they’re buying anywhere from 4,000-9,000 square feet."
However, one thing Kelsey noted is that these trends are very regional. For example, "some places were way overbuilt and they’ve had to chew though a ton of overbuilt inventory, other places like here [Dallas] not so much."
Regardless, second-home sales seem to be flourishing,
"Our most important overall ﬁnding is that our industry’s front line reports increased sales activity and optimism. Though modest, sales specialists are clearly expressing improvement in outlook and sales velocity from the same time last year. In fact, 64% of survey respondents report that their sales activity has increased since last year while only 12% report a decrease. Hearteningly, this appears to be across the board, with all major geographic concentrations registering increased sales activity," said the Kelsey & Norden Resort Real Estate Report.