Why Is There a Surge in Cabin and Vacation Homeownership?
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Why Is There a Surge in Cabin and Vacation Homeownership?

Here's what you should know about current trends for cabin and vacation homes within today's unexpected real estate market, plus reasons why many are making purchase decisions in wilderness settings.

Written by Rose Morrison


 Photo: Lance Reis / Unsplash


Imagine waking up to views of snow-capped mountains as you log onto your computer for a virtual team meeting. Owning a house in the woods or mountains is no longer a luxury for the lucky few. Today's surge in cabin and vacation homeownership is notable amid the rise of remote work and a keen desire to reconnect with nature.

You could make money on the side with renters while blocking off a few weekends each year for personal respite with your loved ones. Coupled with impressive investment potential, easy mobile bookings and the draw of simpler living, it's not hard to wonder why market conditions are as hot as they are. 

Here's what you should know about current trends for cabin and vacation homes within today's unexpected real estate market, plus reasons why many are making purchase decisions in wilderness settings.


The Great Escape: Cabin and Vacation Home Market Trends

Some recent reports indicate a decline in vacation home purchases in popular locations throughout South Carolina and Arizona — however, other real estate trends tell a different story. 

Buyers are still very much interested in investing in secondary residences to live in part-time or to rent out. While beach houses remain the most popular, a 2022 survey said 19% and 14% of homebuyers purchase second homes near lakes or mountains, respectively. Two-thirds prefer they be within four hours of their primary residence. 

With mortgage rates finally expected to drop below 6% by the end of 2024, real estate experts anticipate a 30% increase in housing inventory. This is excellent news for those interested in purchasing a cabin or vacation home. 

Likewise, many anticipate the recent settlement by the National Association of Realtors — which has nixed the 6% commission fee — will shake up the market further. For instance, sellers will no longer have to pay the standard broker and buyer's brokerage commissions, which experts say have driven home costs exceedingly high over the years. 

So where are people buying cabins and vacation homes? Although Red Lodge, Montana, ranks number one as the best mountain town to own a home, nine Colorado towns made Architectural Digest's top 50.


What's Prompting the Cabin and Vacation Home Market?

Several factors could influence your decision to purchase a cabin as your second property. Generally, few would ever regret their decision, at least for investment purposes. Here are five reasons cabin and vacation home ownership have taken off. 


Remote Work

Telecommuting for work was already rising in 2017, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed the labor market for good. Although many companies have since issued return-to-office mandates, 22% and 17% of employeescontinue working entirely remotely or on a hybrid schedule. 

In addition to improving work-life balance, the ability to set up one's laptop from anywhere at varying hours has caused a seismic shift in work and travel. About one in five people plan to take their work on the road during summer vacations, while four out of five intend to extend their trips. If digital nomads can work from anywhere, why not in a cabin or vacation home belonging to you?


Investment Potential

Real estate will always be your best investment opportunity. Your property may appreciate over time if you hold onto it long enough. In the meantime, you can reap the rewards of rental income as consistent cash flow.

Rental income allows you to pay off the mortgage faster. You'll see regular bookings if you purchase a cabin vacation home in the right location and spruce it up to vacationers' standards. 

Fortunately, homeowners with second properties can usually deduct rental expenses — such as maintenance fees, renovations and furnishings — during tax season to offset some of those costs. 


Nature Connection

A strong connection between you and nature does more than promote physical and mental health. It instills gratitude for the environment, builds social connections and nurtures creativity. There's a reason so many artists and writers flock to the mountains to spark fresh ideas. 

Some people cultivate spirituality when they spend time in nature. Often, natural environments connect you to something much larger than yourself, generating a greater sense of belonging in the vast world.

It's common to feel disengaged when constantly connected through digital landscapes. People who opt for cabin vacation homes remedy distractions and negativity with greater stability and serenity, allowing you to press the reset button on your life.


Health and Wellness

Escaping to the great outdoors is often welcome if you're glued to your desk most days. Despite 62% of workers emphasizing the importance of paid time off, 52% don't actually take all the time their employers give them.

Outdoor enthusiasts and skiers may feel more inclined to get away with a cabin or vacation home where it snows. For instance, you might consider the Syracuse area — which receives 92 inches of snow annually — to buy your second property. With close proximity to the slopes, these locations are typically best.

Just as cabin vacation homes prompt outdoor exercise, outdoor settings also promote better mental health. According to one study, 98% of participants experienced improved mental health outcomes when they engaged with nature. The wilderness, increased physical activity, and eliminating noise and air pollution all factored into more positive well-being.


Quality Time with Loved Ones

Owning a cabin or vacation home gives you a greater incentive to spend quality time with your family. When work stress mounts and you get sucked into everyday responsibilities, it's easy to lose sight of what matters most. 

Block off a long weekend for a romantic, mountain-bound anniversary trip with your spouse. Cabin settings are also conducive to outdoor recreation with young children. 

For example, your vacation home might be near white-water river rafting or have a dock you can fish off in the early evenings. Take advantage of your surroundings and create positive memories for a lifetime.


Should You Purchase a Cabin or Vacation Home?

There's no reason not to pursue a secondary residence if you have the flexibility and financial health to make a purchase. Whether you intend to live lakeside or in the mountains full-time or take advantage of rental potential, cabin and vacation homeownership is an excellent investment opportunity. 


See Also: Is Investing in a Cabin the Right Choice for You?

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