The potential market for vacation homes, including full ownership and private residence and destination clubs, has declined substantially from 2007 levels, reflecting losses in net worth and a negative 12-month outlook for the economy and personal income among the wealthiest 10% of US households surveyed in March 2009 by The American Affluence Research Center.
The American Affluence Research Center has studied this market every 2 years since 2005. The Spring 2009 Affluent Market Tracking Study #15 includes relevant comparisons to the 2007 survey results.
Only 4.1% of the respondents indicated serious consideration of the acquisition of a wholly-owned second home during the next 12 months versus 9.8% in 2007. Intent to consider a time share or a private residence or destination club totals less than 1% and is essentially unchanged from 2007.
About 6 in 10 of the affluent market indicate no familiarity with either the private residence or destination club concepts, despite the growth in the numbers, the marketing expenditures, and the media exposure of companies offering these concepts. This represents little or no change in the level of concept familiarity over the past two years. Just over one- third indicated familiarity with the private residence club concept, with 3 in 10 indicating familiarity with the destination club concept. This represents some modest improvement from the 2007 study for both.
Concept familiarity is highest among the higher income and net worth groups. For the private residence club concept, familiarity is about 45% among both the $200K+ income and $1.5M+ net worth segments. For the destination club concept, familiarity is about 40% among the same 2 segments.
Among those indicating familiarity with the private residence club concept, 72% did not name a brand or company with which they are familiar. The other quarter named a hotel-affiliated brand most frequently. Some brands/companies not participating in the business were incorrectly named, thus indicating some confusion about the concept.
Among those indicating familiarity with the destination club concept, 82% did not name a brand with which they are familiar. As some brands/companies were named incorrectly, this indicates some confusion about the concept. Exclusive Resorts was the most frequently and correctly named brand, but by fewer than one in five of those naming a brand.
Among those indicating familiarity with the private residence club concept in the current survey, 12% did not check any of the listed brands (compared to one in five in 2007) as ones they had heard of. Those checking one or more brands averaged 2.9 brands, with 4 of the hotel-affiliated brands checked most frequently.
Among those indicating familiarity with the destination club concept, over half did check at least one of the listed brands as one they had heard of. This was a slight improvement over the 2007 survey. Those checking one or more brands averaged 1.6 brands, with Exclusive Resorts checked by almost two-thirds of the respondents. This is relatively consistent with Spring 2007 results. Ultimate Escapes did not have the recognition of its predecessor Private Escapes.
Over 28% of the sample reported full ownership of a second home with just over half (56%) of the homes used throughout the year and just under half (44%) used primarily on a seasonal basis. An additional total of 15% reported partial access to a vacation home, primarily through a time share, but also through private residence and destination clubs.
As might be expected, the ownership for wholly-owned second homes was most prevalent among the $6M+ net worth group (64%) and the $1.5M to $6M segment (34%). Vacation home ownership was also higher among age 60+ and those with an income of $200K+. Time share ownership was most prevalent among those with an income of $200K+ and those with a net worth of $1M to $1.5M.
The value of the second home generally increased with increases in income, net worth, and the value of the primary residence. The second home at an average value of $781,000 is typically valued at about two-thirds that of the primary residence ($1.2 million).
Second homes used year-round apparently fell by “only”11% in average value, compared to the values reported in the 2007 survey, while those used seasonally declined by 35% in average value.
The survey respondents indicated a negative 12 month outlook for business conditions and personal household income. They also reported declines in their net worth, as a result of substantial declines in the value of their primary home and their investments/savings during the past two years. Together, these factors have contributed to a general attitude toward reducing or deferring expenditures in all areas.
The intentions to acquire a new vacation home are consistent with the overall mood of the affluent market. Over 80% of the survey respondents reported that they had made a general effort to reduce or defer expenditures during the past 12 months, would make a conscious effort to do so during the next 12 months, or had both done so in the past and would continue to do so in the future.
The survey is representative of the population of the most affluent 11.2 million households in the U.S. that account for almost 40% of total personal income and two-thirds of the personal wealth of all Americans.
The 640 men and women included in the national survey have an average annual household income of $290,000, an average primary residence value of $1.2 million, an average net worth of $3.1 million, and average investable assets of $1.4 million. This survey of the affluent market has a maximum margin of error of five percentage points at the 95% confidence level.