While the portion of overall home sales that are second homes is growing, a new Web site offering to connect these homeowners with prospective vacation renters launched this month.
HomeAway.com includes more than 60,000 vacation rental home listings, and is a consolidation of vacation rental sites CyberRentals.com, GreatRentals.com, A1Vacations.com, TripHomes.com (formerly Rent101) and Holiday-Rentals.com.
Second-home sales accounted for about 40 percent of all residential transactions in 2005, the National Association of Realtors reported in April, eclipsing the 36 percent level reported in 2004. The trade group reported 3.34 million second-home sales in 2005, up 16 percent from a revised total of 2.88 million in 2004.
Vacation-home sales increased 16.9 percent last year to a record 1.02 million from a revised 872,000 in 2004, while investment-home sales rose 15.7 percent to a record 2.32 million in 2005 from an upwardly revised 2 million in 2004, according to NAR.
HomeAway.com lists homes, defined as anything from condos to castles, in 90 countries across six continents, and the company expects the number of property listings on the site to grow to 100,000 by the end of 2006.
“The increased availability and popularity of vacation rentals over the last few years provides a unique opportunity to create the most economical and efficient marketing channel for property owners and managers and a single site for travelers to find the perfect vacation rental home,” HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples said.
Property owners and managers can automatically update property listings across all sites for a $299 annual fee. The company uses traditional and online media to attract travelers to HomeAway.com and the European sites.
Austin, Texas-based HomeAway has received capital from its founders and venture capital firms, Austin Ventures and Redpoint Ventures.