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Retirement and Second Homes: 2020 Buying Trends

Thursday, Jul 2, 2020  |  admin  |  Latest News


Our friends at ideal-LIVING magazine recently published a report on the buying trends of retirement and second homes in 2020. It outlines the top reasons people are purchasing these types of homes, how the pandemic has changed their decision process, and the top lifestyle and amenities affecting their buying decisions. The survey results were enlightening.

We’ve highlighted several of the key trends and took a deeper dive to see how Harbor Club compares to each.

Top reasons to buy a retirement or second home in 2020

It’s not surprising that taxes continue to be a significant factor for relocation. New state and local tax deduction limits are driving many affluent residents from higher-tax states to those with lower taxes. The majority are moving out of northern states, such as New York, New Jersey, and Illinois, to states in the south, like Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. One survey respondent stated that “What we saved in taxes, we now fund our lifestyle.” It makes sense, especially when you factor in the low cost of living in the South. 

And speaking of the South, a mild winter was another major factor for relocation. Out of all of the survey respondents, 71% wish to escape the snow and cold weather for good.

When it comes to lower taxes, a lower cost of living, and a warmer climate, Harbor Club gets high marks on all. The state of Georgia is one of Kiplinger’s top, tax-friendly states for retirees. Georgia is also widely known for offering great value for its low standard of living. What’s more, our location affords us wonderfully mild winters where snow is a rarity.

How the pandemic has affected buying behavior

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the buying behavior of those in the market for a retirement or second home. Since many home buyers are unable to visit communities physically, they’ve turned to other online resources. These include online virtual home tours and “real-time” Facetime and Zoom visits. Remarkably, 16% of survey respondents stated they were willing to purchase a home remotely. Also, it seems that speed is of the essence. Over half of the respondents said that their moving timeline has changed and that recent events have reinforced their decision to relocate. 

At Harbor Club, our real estate team is stepping up to accommodate the increased demand for homes in our community. Buyers are not only coming from out of state, but they’re also escaping more urban areas to enjoy a more relaxed, suburban lifestyle on Lake Oconee. What’s more, many are taking full advantage of historically low mortgage rates

Top lifestyle and amenities that are affecting their buying decisions

Perhaps fueled by the pandemic, the most ideal community benefit was having a hospital nearby (65% of respondents.) The second most important factor was having an airport close to home (49% of respondents.) On the latter, it seems odd since so few of us are traveling right now. However, our guess is that retirees are looking forward to traveling once the pandemic has subsided. 

As far as the top home features are concerned, buyers are primarily looking for first-floor living (81%). Following that is a large, open kitchen (62%) and just shy of being a tie is a maintenance-free lifestyle (61%). 

Once again, Harbor Club easily satisfies all of these lifestyle needs. St. Mary’s hospital is an excellent, full-service facility that’s only a three-minute drive from our location. Also, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is a little over an hour’s drive away. Plus, many of our homes are built for first-floor living, and every one of them has a large, light-filled kitchen. Even better, there are several neighborhoods in our community where yard maintenance is included. 

Take a look at our new video to see how Harbor Club is accommodating the changing needs of today’s home buyers. You can also easily view all of our current listings online. We’re happy to schedule a tour (virtual or otherwise) for those who would like to see and learn more. Just give us a call. We’re happy to help and look forward to sharing our award-winning, Southern Living-Inspired Community with you soon.