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Flagstaff Ranked in Top 10 for Second Home Sales

People buy second homes for many reasons. The second home can be a getaway beach house or a mountain home for enjoyment year-round. Some consider them an investment or a place to spend retirement years in the future.

Smart/Asset, a personal finance website, did a study to determine the number of secondary homes sold and ranked Flagstaff eighth in the nation for secondary home sales.

Flagstaff realtor Blake Cain says second homes made up about 25 percent of his sales last year. “We have people coming from Scottsdale and the Valley looking to get out of the heat at 7,000 feet, fresh air and ponderosa pines and golf communities. If not buying in a golf community, they want to enjoy the outdoors, hiking and biking, a lot of stuff to do in the summer and in the winter Arizona Snowbowl is open for a full season.”

Cain said his customers are usually between 30 and 50 years old. The price of secondary homes range from in the millions in a golf community to a $200,000 for a get-away condo.

Cain said location is another reason why people choose Flagstaff. It is near Sedona and Scottsdale. Las Vegas is not far away, and the Grand Canyon is nearby.

Cain, who works for Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, has spent eight years in Flagstaff.

Ellen and Michael Lemonier own a second home in Flagstaff and love it here. “We are from the Valley and first and foremost it is an easy place to go when the heat gets to you in the summer and it is close by all year around,” she said. Another reason they chose Flagstaff for their second home is that she and her husband are growing older and Flagstaff has a good hospital and health care.

She says there is always something to do like festivals and other activities and Northern Arizona University keeps the atmosphere young.

And finally, they like the people.

“People in Flagstaff seem more authentic. To me, it is what you see is what you get,” she said.

AJ Smith, vice president of financial education for Smart/Asset, says her company does studies to help people think about their personal finances. “If buying a second home is a goal for you, what would it take to get there?”

Smith says vacation spots next to metropolitan areas with access to beaches dominated the top 10 list.

Another popular place to buy another home is in large cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. All came in the top third of the report. And income is one of the main reasons people buy a second home. The income of an average home-buyer buying a secondary home is $197,400, while those buying a primary home is about $74,000.

The median home value in the United States has risen from $194,500 in 2015 to $205,000 in 2016.

This means the person buying a secondary home has an income equal to 2.6 times larger than the income of a person buying a primary home, Smith said.

In the past, Smart/Asset has done studies on how much a person will need for retirement, what retirement communities offer the most value and what credit cards are best for an individual.

She says she believes better informed people make better decisions. FBN

By Patty McCormac, FBN

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