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Finding A Second Home With “Quarantine” Potential


Finding A Second Home With "Quarantine" Potential

The second home market never seemed to recover from the Great Recession of 2007-2008. That is until Covid-19 hit and suddenly house hunters from New York to Texas are swarming the market in search of that ideal second home escape. A term dubbed “city shopping” has never been more prevalent with urban dwellers looking to head out for the summer or to possibly make that permanent move to exchange crowds for wide open spaces.

So where are the people wanting to reroute? The most popular places that people have their sights set on are ones that can utilize outdoor spaces. Do these outdoor spaces have access to water for swimming, boating, and sunbathing? Ding ding ding. These are the hot ticket items in terms of small-town escapes.

As a realtor, I have experience in this type of buyer as just the other day I showed a couple from New York a home while they were going from city to city trying to decide where to move. They had previously been to Miami and after trying Dallas out for a couple of weeks, would be on to Asheville. And while this seems like an ideal plan for finding a place to spread out and get some fresh air while surviving this global pandemic, the new towns on your wish list may not want you. In fact, some communities such as Martha’s Vineyard are cancelling VRBO and Airbnb’s due to lack of bed supply in their local hospitals.

Jessica Carson of the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy in New Hampshire says that recent findings may point to mass exit from the cities to areas popular for “second shelters” might be spreading COVID-19 in areas that otherwise might not see a severe increase in cases.

“In the nation’s 199 rural counties where seasonal housing accounts for 25 percent or more of all housing units, average cases per 100,000 are more than twice as high as in other rural counties,” Carson said.

She concludes that these numbers can be explained by the higher number of visitors that are “escaping” to these areas for vacation or a change in scenery. These areas are also popular amongst older aged populations that seem to have the most trouble with fighting the virus. It is also important to understand that these second home communities typically consist of people in the higher income range so has access to insurance and access to transportation and can get tested easier.

So, what can we do as responsible consumers in the real estate space? I suggest having your entire family (or whomever is vacationing with you) get tested before you leave. And here’s the real key. Wait until you get the results to leave for the trip. I just heard of a family of five that all got tested before they left for their seasonal and found out the day after they had arrived that they were all positive! They had already been out in the community for a day.

Are you like me and have a high-risk child or spouse to think about? This can make leaving your home base especially stressful as you are yearning for a change of scenery but keep imagining the worst-case scenario for your loved one. For now, three of my five children have been working from home in our Michigan house, however, because my husband is high risk, we are too afraid to join them. We did check the number of respirators and beds in the local hospitals to try to weigh the pros and cons, but for now, we just don’t feel comfortable.

So, what’s the takeaway? If you are planning to buy, rent, or sell a home with more “quarantine” potential, what do you say we do it safely? Wear a mask, sanitize, and get tested before you get in the car and go. We are all in this together which means we should be protecting people in Dallas and beyond and whether they are a member of our immediate family or simply someone we pass on the street en route to the grocery store.

Hopefully, we will all be together again soon!

Christy Berry

Christy BerryJuly 7, 2020