Second-Home Destinations Becoming Retirement Hot Spots | John Burns Real Estate Consulting

Second-Home Destinations Becoming Retirement Hot Spots

In the mid-2000s, the American Dream extended beyond a house and yard to a second home with access to a golf course, clubhouse, and resort pool. New master-planned communities in weekend destinations as diverse as central Oregon, the Texas Hill Country, and the Delaware coast sprouted and thrived. However, demand vanished for these lifestyle communities in the wake of the Great Recession.

Ten years later, the same sun shines on these destinations, but on different real estate buyers. Aging demographics, a recovery in net worth, and the ability to stay connected are transitioning weekend destinations into communities of retirees and pre-retirees. These lifestyle destinations are no longer reliant on selling the dream of second-home ownership, but on selling the dream of happy retirement.

Communities currently experiencing this shift share some common traits:

  1. They are located within a three-hour drive of major metro areas where friends and family live.
  2. They offer a combination of active and passive outdoor recreation activities, from trails and open space to golf and boating.
  3. They contain onsite amenities like pools, game rooms, and parks, which are key for attracting visits from grandkids.
  4. They foster a sense of community.
  5. They are relatively close to services such as grocery stores and hospitals.

Traditional weekend destinations that meet these criteria are transitioning from second-home communities to retirement hot spots. They will experience additional demand from Innovators (Americans born in the 1950s) whose priorities now center on time spent outdoors and time spent with grandchildren. This immense group totals about 40 million, possesses $18 trillion in net worth, and is phasing into retirement.

As the Innovators reprioritize their lifestyles with less of a focus on work, a new opportunity is emerging for weekend destinations. Master-planned communities in drive-to recreation spots across the US are already experiencing demand from these households. However, these buyers also require new homes and new designs oriented toward maximizing their retirement.

John Burns Real Estate Consulting offers an expert understanding of this demographic shift and its potential to change the landscape of weekend destinations throughout the US. Our products can help you maximize this growing opportunity.


  • What do you feel is most important to Innovators (Americans born in the 1950s) considering homes in weekend destinations?
  • If you were considering a home for retirement, how far would you move from your current home?
  • How likely would you be to retire in a destination where you enjoy vacationing?

Click here to submit your answers


Chris Dorociak If you have any questions, please contact Chris Dorociak at (858) 281-7218 or by email.