RealTrends Q32021 BrokerPulse sees brokers still optimistic about the market, wary of competition and wondering when inventory will rise.

2021 RealTrends Brokerage Compensation Report

For the study, RealTrends surveyed all the firms on the 2021 RealTrends 500 and Nation’s Best rankings, asking for annual compensation data for the 2020 calendar year.’s Sean Black on the transaction revolution

Real estate is on its third revolution, from the digital revolution of the early 2000s to the information revolution kicked off by Trulia and Zillow to today's transaction revolution.


The RealTrends BrokerSource and HousingWire OpenHouse newsletters deliver twice weekly information on trends, strategies, analysis, people, and news shaping the real estate industry.


Vacation home sales outpaced existing home sales

In the 90s, entertainers like Puffy and Jay-Z had people imagining owning a vacation home was just something wealthy people did for fun. In 2020, the pandemic showed buying a vacation home is serious business. 

Last summer, vacation home sales rose 16.4% and outpaced the 5.6% growth in total existing-home sales, according to National Association of Realtors. Credit to the vacation-home craze largely goes to the pandemic, as people moved to vacation-home hotspots to get out of the city and have more space. In a year where people adjusted their work and home lifestyles, a vacation home provided a work-from-home environment, students schooled virtually, and limited social interaction.

Vacation properties more than just for fun 

It’s more than just another get-away spot, these homes are investments , said Caleb Midgett of Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty in Destin, Florida. Midgett noted a recent property sale at Watersound Beach, Florida, went to a buyer who not only had an interest in personal enjoyment but rental income in the future. 

“We see this a lot, as people are tired of looking at investment statements and [decide]to put their money in investments their families can enjoy,” Midgett said.   

In the months of July through September 2020, the number of homes intended to be used for vacation climbed to 109,100, a 44% gain from the 75,600 figure during the same period in 2019, according to NAR estimates based on monthly Realtors Confidence Index Survey.

Secondary homes become cash deals 

Many of those who bought a secondary home paid cash. From January-April of this year, cash sales rose to 53% compared to less than 50% in previous years. 

Those who financed their home put down at least a 20% down payment. 

Sixteen had counties that were in the top 1% for vacation homes. Florida has two counties in the top five (Lee and Collier). Oscoda, Michigan; Swain, North Carolina, and Dukes, Massachusetts were also in the top five. 

Urge for get-away homes dropped

Demand for secondary homes fell for the first time since April of last year according to a recent Redfin report. The number of buyers who locked in mortgage rates to purchase a second home nationwide fell 11.1% in June. 

However, other agents don’t see purchases of vacation homes falling off again. 

Nicole Carstensen, a sales associate of Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty of Charlestown, Rhode Island said the trend of buying these secondary homes is here to stay. 

“It has not died down, those looking [realize that] being close to home with a short commute to a vacation home allows for more use, the ability to work from home, [and are] close to airports if needed,” she said. “People want out of the cities and a peaceful retreat.” 

As the year continues, the vacation-home trend is one to keep an eye on. 

Most Popular Articles

There’s a new brokerage model emerging

In this edition of RealTrending, Steve Murray, senior advisor to RealTrends, talks about a new brokerage model emerging, the DOJ and FTC investigations and the role of institutional investors and iBuyers.

Oct 18, 2021 By

Latest Articles

Zillow calls timeout on iBuying, but competitors won’t

Zillow called a timeout on purchasing homes through the end of 2021. It will keep trying to sell existing home inventory, plus renovate and try to resell homes it has purchased under contract

Oct 18, 2021 By