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Sales of second homes soar to highest level since 2005

Investment-home sales, nearly half in cash, jump 64.5%

Sales of second homes, which include vacation and investment homes, soared in 2011 to their highest market share since the height of the housing boom, according to an annual report from the National Association of Realtors. NAR’s 2012 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey includes 2,241 responses from U.S. households who bought either new or existing homes in 2011. The association conducted the survey in March 2012 and controlled for age and income. Investors lead the surge in second-home sales. Sales of investment homes climbed 64.5 percent in 2011, to 1.23 million, from 749,000 the year before, the report said. At the same time, sales of vacation homes increased 7 percent to 502,000, compared to 469,000 in 2010. Combined, second-home sales accounted for 38 percent of all home sales last year (27 percent investment homes, 11 percent vacation homes), up from 27 percent in 2010 (17 percent investment homes, 10 percent vacation homes). That's the highest share since...