An independent study released today by Centex Destination Properties conservatively estimates that 25 percent of affluent households expressed interest in second-home ownership over the next two to three years.

Second-home attributes most sought by respondents are low upkeep/maintenance, proximity to shops and restaurants, walking paths, and outdoor activities such as hiking and bicycling.

Among the surprises, according to CDP researchers, was the relatively low interest in championship and private golf courses, tennis courts, or nearby ski areas; a willingness to drive much further (almost 40 percent of respondents would travel more than four hours); and a desire to tune out and relax, rather than treat the second home as an extended office. In fact, 57 percent of respondents viewed second homes as a place to get away from business pressures. 

The Internet survey contacted a nationally representative sample of more than 30,000 households with incomes of $125,000 or more. Of that number, approximately 15,000 participated in the survey, of which 7,307 expressed an interest in purchasing or building a second home over the next two to three years – a conservative estimate of one in four.

The respondents had a median age of 45 years (about 30 percent were Gen Xers under the age of 40); 78 percent were married; and 87 percent already owned their own home. Within the past year alone, 63 percent took some action to investigate second-home ownership, whether talking to a spouse about it (51 percent); requesting literature (25 percent); talking to a salesperson (21 percent); or actually visiting a second-home/vacation community (19 percent).

The most desirable locations sought by respondents are those offering a year-round temperate climate, followed by those with a distinct change of seasons. The top five most popular destinations nationwide were: Naples/Marco Island (Fla.); the southern New Jersey and Delaware coasts; the Florida Keys; the southern South Carolina coast; and Maui.

The survey also reveals that the average purchase price respondents were willing to pay for a second home was $350,000 for a detached (single-family) home, and $295,000 for an attached dwelling (i.e., condominiums or townhomes).

The primary market for potential second-home buyers–defined by CDP as ages 35-65 and incomes of $125,000-plus–is projected to double from 5.8 million in 2000 to 11.4 million in 2009, according to data from San Diego-based Claritas Inc.

Centex Destination Properties is the Second-Home/Resort arm of Centex Homes.

The Second-Home/Vacation Property National Study was conducted for Centex Destination Properties in October 2003 by Carmel Valley, Calif.-based American LIVES Inc.

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