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Second home and investor mortgage applications accounted for 14.1% of all applications in February

As a follow-up to my recent post about the rise of the second home, here is a chart (via the WSJ) showing second home and investor mortgage applications as a share of all applications in the US. In February of this year (2021), second home and investment properties accounted for 14.1% of all applications. This is a record number going back to January 2010.

What’s also interesting about this chart is that, but for COVID, it shows a general decline over the last decade. I’m not sure what the split is between vacation and investment properties, but can we conclude that pre-COVID Americans were becoming less interested or perhaps less able to own a second home? And could the reason be that instead of owning a second home, more people simply started relocating permanently?

There is also an obvious seasonality to these applications. Each of the above valleys tend to correspond to the spring and summer months. It’s almost as if every fall/winter we start thinking to ourselves, “Right, winter. Let’s look for a place somewhere else.” Is it that, or are there other forces at work here?

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