Following the Market: Hot Places for Second Homes

by Chicago Agent

Where do Chicago buyers choose to get away?
By Stephanie Sims

Maria Davies

Maria Davies

With harsh winters and hot, sticky summers, Chicagoland residents often want somewhere to escape to. But the big question is: where to? Chicago Agent asked Maria Davies, president of the Chicago Council of FIABCI and Realtor with Coldwell Banker with almost 20 years of experience, where exactly buyers are looking for second homes.

Chicago Agent: Where are Chicagoland buyers most looking to buy a second home? Are there any particular areas buyers seem to be looking in the most?
Maria Davies: There is no one special place. There are no “hot markets” just now; where a buyer buys depends on his or her reason for buying. Second home buyers aren’t necessarily driven by what’s “hot.” For instance, if the reason for the purchase is to give a child a home, particularly a student, then near whichever university the student attends is where the parents will purchase the home. If for a pied a terre, then usually Streeterville, New East Side or the South Loop. If for an eventual retirement home, then Lincoln Park, River North, Gold Coast, South Loop or New East Side.

CA: Are there any popular markets for second homes outside of Chicago, or even Illinois, which Chicago buyers are gravitating to?
MD: Texas and Colorado. There are some very affordable, very nice Del Webb developments near Austin, Texas, with all the bells and whistles. Steamboat in Colorado is more affordable and equally nice as some of the more expensive areas like Aspen or Vail.

CA: Has the market for second homes changed in the last few years at all due to the recession and housing market?
MD: Absolutely! Many people bought second homes up until 2008 for a variety of reasons: retirement homes; for an investment; an in-town-home; etc. As the home values declined, many buyers were left with no equity in them, and they decided to postpone retirement. Because of a decline in the rental market, they remained vacant. Many became distressed properties. All of these factors contributed to the decline in the number of second home purchasers.

CA: Are there a lot of buyers looking for second homes right now?
MD: Overall, second home buyers represent between 10 to 15 percent of buyers. The trend peaked in 2008, and has now slowed considerably.

CA: Do you see any of the popular areas for second homes staying popular for a while as second home markets? Do you have any predictions as to which markets may be up-and- coming for second homes?
MD: If there is or will be a “hot” market, it will probably be a trophy building like the Aqua – which is the winner of the 2011 FIABCI Prix d’Excellence award – or the Trump Tower.

Maria Davies has been a successful Realtor for almost 20 years. For the past few years, Davies has maintained An interest in International Real Estate, first serving and chairing the International Committee of the Chicago Association of Realtors, then joining FIABCI. She now serves on the board of FIABCI USA, and is a member of the Membership Services, Nominating and Marketing Committees; she is the President of the Chicago Council of FIABCI USA.

ABOUT FIABCI: The International Real Estate Federation, FIABCI, is a business organization of real estate professionals in 68 countries which represents approximately 100 national real estate associations and holds a special “consultative” status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations Organization (ECOSOC). FIABCI is a non-political entity whose objective is to help its members add an international dimension to their businesses and helps members acquire knowledge, develop networks and optimize business opportunities throughout the world. For information, log onto the website at FIABCI.org or contact Alyssa Nightingale 631.367.8599.

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  • Diana Garber says:

    Am I missing something? No where did I see mention of the very popular Harbor Country area of Michigan just 1-1/2 hours from Chicago, or the
    slightly further 2nd home areas of Wisconsin in Kohler and vicinity.
    Both of these areas have been wildly popular for more than 25 years.
    Hundreds of Chicagoans flock to these areas every weekend and especially
    holiday weekends.

    In reference to Aqua, we agents are getting lists of properties from
    mortgage lenders with buildings (not people) that are not qualifying for mortgages and Aqua is among them.

  • Chicago Agent says:

    Hi Diana, thanks for your comment. We talk about Harbor Country in our cover story, found here: https://chicagoagentmagazine.com/beyond-chicago-hot-spots-cool-market/

    But in our interview with Maria Davies, she focused on Chicago neighborhoods and places even further than the surrounding areas of Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana, because those areas have a consistent level of interest from Chicagoland buyers for second homes. Buyers looking for second homes within Chicago and cities/states a plane ride away, however, have changed with the market and what the buyers are now looking for.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Pam Proctor says:

    I agree and I am happy to read that the Harbor Country real estate was included in a previous article. My last 5 sales in Michigan have all been to Chicago buyers looking for a get away place on or near the Lake Michigan shores in the New Buffalo to St. Joseph areas. I also am licensed in IN, primarily working in the South Bend market. our major 2nd home market is the condo or villa for ND home game weekends along with housing mom and dad buy for their kids going to Notre Dame. Both the lake and the ND 2nd home market has slowed with the economy, but it hasn’t stopped!

  • Michele Bertrand says:

    How do I advertise my home to the Chicagoland residents as an option for a second home. I am having trouble with this. See my home 2 hours west of Chicago. http://www.bertrands.us

  • Cheryl Henry says:

    We have a home in the Apostle Islands (on southern shore of Lake Superior) and are motivated sellers (retiring to AZ). It is a premier home with 180 degree view of Lake Superior. IS there a specific blog or website you recommend we should post our home so people in the Chicago area have a chance to view this fabulous home.
    It is listed with Apostle Island Realty – Pilot House
    thank you,

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