Mexico Tops List for U.S. Second Home Owners

Residential News » Residential Real Estate Edition | By Kevin Brass | August 13, 2010 2:43 PM ET

Despite the constant headlines about drug-related violence, Mexico remains the preferred destination for U.S. second home buyers, according to a new study.

Mexico was twice as popular as Central and South America, according to the 2010 Second Home Trend Report issued by North Carolina-based research firm E360, which surveyed existing second home owners.

"It's shocking to me that Mexico still came in number one, even with the negative press," said Chad Martin, global research analyst for E360.

Forty-five percent of the 612 respondents said they believe now is a good time to buy. Of those that were still wary, 79 percent indicated they would be "likely or very likely to purchase in the next two years."

"That's extremely significant," Martin said. "There are a lot of existing second home owners on the sidelines."

Existing second home owners offer a different perspective on the market than typical high net worth consumers, Martin says.

"If they already have a second home, they already have learning under their belts," Martin said. "I feel like we're surveying a more savvy second home market."

The survey found that 46 percent of the respondents were motivated by "lifestyle and vacation attributes" to buy second homes, while 41 percent pointed to purchases as an investment. Only 11 percent said they were looking to buy for retirement purposes.

A home with a water view remains the biggest clincher for closing a sale, the survey found. Elements like spas and medical facilities, although increasingly popular, were less likely to close a deal. And while the market may be more eco-conscious, "green-based second homes did not show the high appeal translating into a purchase motivation," Martin said.

In a similar fashion, golf is still popular, but the sport "has not clearly shown itself as primary appealing attribute as it translates to real estate buyers when compared to other second home attributes," Martin said.

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