Market Insights: Top 10 trends of second-home buyers |

Market Insights: Top 10 trends of second-home buyers

Daniel Webster JohnsonSpecial to the Daily
Special to the Daily/Bob Bloch

Researching, developing and writing these top 10 trends has been a blast. I could not have taken on this project without my fellow members of the National Association of Realtors and the support I have received as the 2010 Resort & Second Home Property Specialist of the Year.The first eight trends are: #1 Encore Careers, #2 Emphasis on Fun, #3 Cash is King, #4 Easy Access, #5 Long-term Horizons, #6 Several Decision Makers, #7 Lifelong Learning and #8 Community Engagement (to read about these go to and search for “Market Insights”). The final two trends are common all across the ski resorts in the western U.S.A.

Over the 15+ years I have lived in Breckenridge, having a feeling of being safe and secure is common among all the property owners. Yet there is something special happening in 2011 that makes this important enough to make a 2011 trend. More than ever, buyers are asking about crime rates, the possibility of a major fire and the availability of security services. Why the surge in interest? I believe it relates to the earlier trends: #3 Cash is King and #5 Long Term Horizons. Cash buyers want to know they are investing in an asset that is safe, which is one reason they are taking money out of the stock market and banks. And the buyers are thinking multi-generational. When your focus is on children and grandchildren, security becomes paramount.Those who live in Summit County know the good news is we do feel safe and secure. The only concern is the possibility of fire. The great news is the community and fire departments have come together to be fire-wise. This is a subject that the Summit Daily News has reported on in-depth. In a nutshell, Summit County is being proactive.

Remember trend #2 Emphasis on Fun? A key element of this trend is that homes are getting smaller. Few “McMansions” are being built. Buyers are looking for smaller properties that are much, much better quality. A top-quality townhome that has exquisite design/finishes in the best location wins out over an extra-large home built to impress others. Buyers will sacrifice size, but not quality. As a matter of fact, they are being very specific with comments such as, “We want a smaller, top-shelf home.”This trend is right across-the-board. If buyers of condos cannot find a unit with the quality they want, they will renovate if they can afford it. I know Cornerstone Builders, one of the contractors that works with my client who specializes in condo renovations, is the busiest the company has every been. When I chat with Rob Oderman, the owner, he says, “What recession?”As you know, most weeks I use a property to illustrate the points made in Market Insights. This week the property is Mountain Thunder Townhomes #205, which is a ski-in home with three bedrooms, on the market for $1,109,000. In regard to security, this property has an on-site security service, a 24/7 front desk, and well-positioned security cameras. As the photos show, the design/finishes are superb. It is only 1,627 sq. ft., yet feels much larger and is extremely livable.

If you are selling, I suggest you view other properties that are your competition to know the level of quality available that the buyers can choose from. For those who are buying, don’t trust that the property looks nice. Make sure to hire an inspector to evaluate the overall security and quality of the property.Daniel Webster Johnson is a broker associate at Resort Brokers Real Estate in Breckenridge. He can be reached at (970) 393-3300 and/or

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