By Jill Ralph. The vacation-home sector in the United States is larger than most analysts -- and subsequently, most home builders -- believe, according to results of a survey conducted in fall 2002 by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Census results show that there are 9.2 million homes held by owners in addition to their primary residences.

The typical second-home owner is 61 years old, earns a median income of $76,900, is married, and purchased the home for recreational use.

Here are some other key findings:

  • U.S. Census Bureau reports there were 3.6 million vacant seasonal homes in the third quarter of 2002, up from 3.1 million in 1990.
  • Seventy-six percent of vacation-home owners prefer to be near an ocean, river, or lake; thirty-eight percent close to mountains or other natural attractions.
  • Investment-home owners (33 percent) prefer to be near their primary residence; (21 percent) close to family members; and (10 percent) close to a job or school.

Published in BIG BUILDER Magazine, January 2003