With the end of 2022 approaching, NAHB’s Eye on Housing is reviewing the posts that attracted the most readers over the last year. In May, Na Zhao reported on concerning the size of the second home housing stock.
According to NAHB estimates, the total count of second homes was 7.15 million in 2020, accounting for 5.11% of the total housing stock. This represents the most recent data available. As of 2020, the state with the largest stock of second homes was Florida (1.04 million), accounting for 10.8% of all second homes. South Dakota had the smallest stock, approximately 19,225 second homes, among all 50 states. Half of the nation’s second homes can be found in eight states – Florida, California, New York, Texas, Michigan, North Carolina, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.
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 891 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. Across the nation. 363 counties, 11.2% 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 15 states. Of these counties, six counties are in Michigan, five in Colorado, four in Wisconsin, three in Minnesota, two in Alaska, Utah, California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, and one county each in New York, Idaho, Missouri, Maryland, New Jersey, and Texas. 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. The top 10 counties with the most second homes account for around 10.5% 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
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 by individuals using the Census Bureau’s 2020 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.