Nation’s Stock of Second Homes


According to NAHB estimates, the total count of second homes was 7.5 million, accounting for 5.5% of the total housing stock in 2018, the most recent data available. As of 2018, the state with the largest stock of second homes was Florida (1.1 million), accounting for 14.5% of all second homes. South Dakota had the smallest stock, approximately 20,000 second homes, among all 50 states. Half of the nation’s second homes can be found in nine states: Florida, California, New York, Texas, Michigan, North Carolina, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

In-depth analysis of the county level data shows that the concentration of second homes is not simply restricted to conventional locations like beachfront areas. There were 932 counties spread over 49 states, where second homes accounted for at least 10% of the local housing stock. Only Connecticut and Washington D.C. were exceptions. 384 counties, 12% of all counties in the U.S., had at least 20% of housing units that were second homes.

Counties with at least half of their housing stock in second homes were widely spread over in 17 states.  Of these counties, six counties are in Michigan, five in Colorado, four in Wisconsin, three in Minnesota, two in Utah, California, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico, and one county each in New York, Idaho, Missouri, Maryland, New Jersey, Alaska, Texas, and West Virginia.. These national patterns are mapped below.

Of course, the geographic locations of second homes also correspond to population density. Counties with more than 25,000 second homes are mostly located in or near metropolitan areas, as shown in the map below. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL. The top 10 counties with the most second homes take up around 11% of second home stocks, most of which were located in Arizona, Florida, California, Massachusetts, and New York. Of the top 10 counties in regards to absolute numbers of second homes, only three counties (Lee County, Florida, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, and Collier County, Florida) had more than 20% of their housing stock in second homes. Half of the second home stock were located in 212 of nation’s more than 3,000 counties.

In terms of methodology, this analysis focuses on the number and location of second homes that would be qualified for the home mortgage interest deduction using the Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey (ACS). It does not account for homes held primarily for investment or business purposes.

NAHB estimates are based on the definition used for home mortgage interest deduction: a second home is a non-rental property that is not classified as taxpayer’s principal residence. Examples could be: (1) a home that used to be a primary residence due to a move or a period of simultaneous ownership of two homes due to a move; (2) a home under construction for which the eventual homeowner acts as the builder and obtains a construction loan (Treasury regulations permit up to 24 months of interest deductibility for such construction loans); or (3) a non-rental seasonal or vacation residence. However, homes under construction are not included in this analysis because the ACS does not collect data on units under construction.


6 replies

  1. A concern mentioned in the post using the 2016 data was about using non mortgaged secondary homes in the mix. Another concern was about using secondary homes that were rented out when vacant (thinking locally focused nightly rental services vs Air B&B “empires”)

    I am curious if this data was or was not included within the study.

    Our company’s focus is home owners that own three or more homes that are not rented out during times that the owner does not use the property.

  2. What is the length of time that the average American owns their second home before relocating?

  3. In the coastal areas near Santa Cruz, CA, 2nd home used by the owner as a get away either for pleasure or remote work has become a huge burden on local housing needs. Many if not most of the owners are from Silicone Valley just over the mountains. I would vote in favor of some kind of luxury tax that helps to fund homeless efforts. You could add a variable exemption if the property was rented for 3 to 6 months (no short term) of a year. Such a tax could disappear if the housing stock normalized. Any other idea? It sure seems to me that empty residences should be better utilized.

    • Fannie and Freddie have addressed your concerns with what amounts to basically a tax for second home financing -April 1,2022 is the effective date for loans sold to Fannie or Freddie so it’s on effect now

  4. The NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) in 2018 estimated there are about 7+ million individuals that own more than one home. Hmmm, I wonder how many have their 2nd home in another state other than where their main residence is located? Having 2 legal residences would qualify them to meet the voting requirements in each state (a utility bill in their name on it) knowing full well there would NEVER be an inter-state check of names like the intra-state vote counts that have been going on recently.

    In addition, how many college students applied to vote at 18 while living with mom and dad, then a year later go to an out of state university and live off campus with a utility bill in their name? They could easily then vote in their home state and then register to vote in the state where they attend school by meeting the application criteria of having a utility bill as proof of residence, knowing full well there will never be a check of voting rolls between 2 different states.

  5. Is there a database where businesses can get the contact information of homeowners who own more than one home in the USA? I am helping a Home Watch Company locate this information.

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