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Maine Retains Vacationland Title But Rest of U.S. Is Catching Up

TUESDAY, AUG 20, 2019

Americans may not be taking enough vacation time, but that hasn’t stopped us from building more vacation homes. The number of vacation homes added since 2010 increased three times faster than the number of housing units, according to a Social Explorer analysis of Census data.

More than 5.3 million housing units have been built in the U.S. since 2010. Almost 800,000 of the houses were classified as vacation homes, according to the 2013-17 American Community Survey.

Maine retained its “Vacationland” title, with 128,000 housing units — 17 percent of the total — dedicated to vacation use. The state added more than 21,000 homes to its inventory; about 13,800, or 64 percent, were vacation homes. The number of seasonal or vacation homes rose 225 percent in Penobscot County, a polygon that extends deep into northern Maine. About 1,700 of the county’s 2,300 new housing units were designated as vacation homes, according to the Census Bureau.


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Vermont kept its grip on the No. 2 spot. Almost 15 percent of homes in the Green Mountain State are vacation homes. Roughly 60 percent of the 11,700 housing units added to the state’s inventory were used as vacation spots, according to the Census data. Franklin County, which borders Lake Champlain and the Canadian border, registered a 54 percent increase in the number of vacation homes added during the period.

New Hampshire increased its vacation home penetration to 11 percent. Alaska ranked fourth, with 10 percent of its housing units dedicated to recreational use; Florida, where 9.8 percent of housing units are used for vacations, was No. 5.

While some of the highest concentrations of vacation homes were in predictable counties such as Summit County, Colo., and Nantucket County, Massachusetts, the places with the largest percentages of vacation homes were primarily located in counties that include national forests and parks. Almost 85 percent of housing units in Hamilton County, N.Y., are vacation homes built deep in the heart of the Adirondacks. Forest County, Penn., ranked No. 2 for vacation home concentration; roughly 79 percent of its housing units, located in the Allegheny National Forest, were used for seasonal purposes. About 78 percent of housing units in Daggett County, Utah, were designated as vacation homes. The county, which includes part of the Ashley National Forest on the Utah-Wyoming-Colorado border, ranked third for vacation home concentration.

Author: Frank Bass

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