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Vacation Homes Are Becoming Permanent Homes as Pandemic Lingers

Vacation Homes Are Becoming Permanent Homes as Pandemic Lingers

With the COVID-19 pandemic stretching into its ninth month, people across the country are embracing the new normal of working from home and turning vacation homes into their permanent residences.

According to a new report from Redfin, some of the most traditionally popular vacation home destinations are the hottest housing markets in the country right now.

Areas like Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Lake Tahoe, California; Bend, Oregon; and the Jersey Shore are suddenly the housing markets where people want to buy more than any other.

And they’re not just looking for a vacation home. According to Redfin, people are buying in the vacation locations and planning to stay there year-round now that so many companies have embraced remote work options.

According to Redfin’s report, the hottest county in the country in September was near Lake Tahoe. Per Redfin’s data, approximately 42% of the homes sold in El Dorado County, California went for above list price.

In fact, two of the top 10 were both located in that area. The two counties, El Dorado County and Placer County, are in the Sacramento area and were among the most popular destinations for homebuyers looking to relocate.

Many of the homebuyers searching in the Sacramento area were located in San Francisco, suggesting that people are no longer keen to pay the exorbitant cost of living to stay in the Bay Area if they don’t have to.

One other California area placed in the 10 hottest counties: the resort city of Palm Springs.

The second hottest county was Deschutes County, Oregon, home of popular vacation destinations Bend and Sunriver.

“We've always described Bend as a second-home town, but now we're seeing it transition into a place where more people are living full time because they're no longer required to go into the office,” local Redfin agent Angelica Webb said.

“We joke that it's becoming a `Zoom town.’ A lot of folks are moving to Bend without having ever stepped foot here,” Webb continued. “They've heard good things and want to get out of their cramped San Francisco or Seattle apartments, so they're coming here and buying awesome, 3,000-square-foot colonial homes.”

The Jersey Shore is proving to be a popular destination for buyers who are fleeing the pricey New York City market.

According to Redfin, three of the top 10 most popular counties for relocating buyers are located on the Jersey Shore: Ocean County, Monmouth County, and Cape May County.

"Where in Brooklyn can you find anything for $500,000? Nowhere," local Redfin real estate agent Anthony Gonzalez said. "New York folks are coming to Jersey for a year or two, buying a house on the water and working from home at the Jersey Shore."

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the counties that are seeing the biggest cooldowns are those large metro areas like New York City, as the realization that there are many jobs where you can work from anywhere is leading people to work from, well, anywhere.

According to Redfin, the counties that make up the NYC boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx are at the top of the list of counties that are cooling down.

Other cooling areas include Miami, Boston, and San Francisco.

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