If there’s a competition to find the most popular place to buy a second home in Florida, then the west coast of the state is like Tom Brady: lots of wins.
In a new report from Rocket Homes, all nine counties in the Gulf Coast region make the top 15 of a list of the most popular places to buy a second home in the state. The top three for most vacation home mortgage applications, the report from the mortgage firm found, are Lee, Collier and Sarasota counties. Pinellas is No. 6 and Charlotte County is No. 7, while Hillsborough, Polk, Manatee and Pasco close out the top 15.
While ranking the counties, Rocket declines to provide the specific number of vacation home mortgage applications per county, citing its publicly traded status. The ranking does include the percent growth (or decrease) in vacation home mortgage applications. Pinellas, Charlotte and Polk, for example, all posted decreases in applications but remain in the top 15. The biggest gains were in Collier and Pasco counties. (See chart.)
Beyond the most popular counties, the report found some other data nuggets, including:
• The largest share of Florida vacation home purchase applicants came from Florida, making up 18% of all applications for second homes in 2020 in the state. That’s up 11% from 2019;
• New York, no surprise, given recent trends and anecdotal evidence, is the No. 2 spot for applications — but the gain has slowed, increasing 1% from 2019 to 2020;
• Residents of Michigan are No. 3 on the list, totaling 7% of the overall group but a 5% drop from 2019;
• The rest of the top 10 includes Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Massachusetts and California. Georgia and Illinois each both posted the largest year-over-year gains in vacation home mortgage applications, at 20%. Applications from New Jersey residents dropped 28%, the report adds.