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Vacation Homes Emerge as Hot Market

Vacation communities across the United States are showing big signs of a rebounding real estate market, reporting soaring sales at levels that have not been been seen since the days of the housing boom, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The increase has been driven by deep discounts and cash purchases, analysts say.

"We haven't felt energy like this in a long time. Buyers sense that they've been on the sidelines long enough," says Ned Monell, a real estate professional with Sotheby's International Realty in Palm Beach, Fla. Palm Beach posted a nearly 40 percent annual increase and a 54 percent increase in homes under contract.

The following is a sampling of vacation-home communities that saw an increase last year (percentage is the increase in home sales from 2009 to 2010):

–ª Barnstable County, Cape Cod, Mass.: 9 percent

–ª Hilton Head, S.C.: 13.6 percent

–ª Mercer Island, Wash. (waterfront): 181.8 percent

–ª Palm Beach, Fla.: 39.3 percent

National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun attributes the increase to gains in the stock market and an overall improving economy. He says prices in these areas have come down so much that there's been high demand for these properties among buyers, particularly in areas with stable labor markets.

Source: "Market for Vacation Homes Is On the Rise,"The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 10, 2011)

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