Vrbo and Savills release global research on second homes

AUSTIN, Texas – Nov. 12, 2019 – New research on second homes from Vrbo® and global real estate adviser Savills reveals that more owners are purchasing second homes with the intent to use it as a vacation rental than for their own use, with just under half of all homeowners buying a second home primarily for use as a short-term rental.

“The second home market has changed significantly over the last decade,” said Paul Tostevin, director, Savills World Research. “Once a discretionary purchase primarily for own use, today’s global market is driven by income returns.”

The full report is available here. Key findings for US second home owners include:

  • Intent to Rent: For the second straight year, more owners purchased a second home with the intention to use it as a vacation rental than for their own use. In 2019, 42% of US owners are buying a second home for use as a vacation rental, up from 26% 10 years ago.
  • Domestic Preference: Second home buyers in the US have historically been focused on domestic second homes. This year, 6% of American second home owners have a property outside the US, down from 16% in 2018. Of American second home owners who plan to buy another property, only 4% plan to do so outside of the US. This is most similar to French owners, 89% of whom own second homes in France.
  • Buying, Not Inheriting: Nearly 50 years ago, 40% of second homes were inherited or gifted. In 2019, less than 5% of US home owners reported inheriting or being gifted their second home, and the market is now dominated by cash buyers and those who take out a mortgage.
  • Essential Amenities: When choosing a vacation home, 64% of second home owners buying across all countries surveyed placed the highest importance on having access to the internet. After internet access, 47% of US home owners consider central air conditioning to be essential whereas 55% of Greek, 25% of Portuguese and 19% of Italian homeowners consider a balcony or terrace as essential, and 30% of British homeowners value access to a swimming pool.

“A third of American owners rent their second homes primarily to help cover the cost of the mortgage and taxes, and nearly 40% use rental earnings as a secondary source of income,” said Bill Furlong, vice president of Vrbo, Americas. “We’ve seen many second home owners turn their property into an income-generating asset by listing it on Vrbo where millions of travelers book vacation rentals each year.”

For this report, Savills Research surveyed 7,800 homeowners who list their properties on Vrbo in 10 major markets (UK, US, Spain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, New Zealand and Brazil) and 6,800 travelers in the same 10 countries who use Vrbo to book vacation homes.


Media Contacts:

Nola Lu, Vrbo, nlu@vrbo.com

Niki Riley, Savills Press Office (UK), +44 (0)20 7016 3843, nriley@savills.com

Michael Lassiter, Savills Press Office (US), mlassiter@savills.us



About Vrbo

In 1995, Vrbo introduced a new way for people to travel together, pairing homeowners with families and friends looking for places to stay. We were grounded in one purpose: To give people the space they need to drop the distractions of everyday life and simply be together. Since then, we've grown into a global community of homeowners and travelers, with unique properties around the world. Vrbo makes it easy and fun to book cabins, condos, beach houses and every kind of space in between.


Vrbo is part of Expedia Group and offers homeowners and property managers exposure to over 750 million visits to Expedia Group sites each month. To learn more, visit www.vrbo.com.


About Savills

Savills is a global real estate services provider listed on the London Stock Exchange. Savills operates from over 600 owned and associate offices, employing more than 35,000 people in over 60 countries throughout the Americas, the UK, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, offering a broad range of specialist advisory, management and transactional services to clients all over the world.



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