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Sullivan County Releases “2008 Second Home Owner Study”

monticello.jpgThe Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management has issued a study on second-home owner characteristics and behavior in Sullivan County. The 2008 Second Home Owner Study compiles the results of a survey completed in fall 2007 that was mailed to nearly 16,000 addresses of owners of residential property who had recorded mailing addresses outside the county.

Legislator Jodi Goodman, who chairs the Legislative Planning, Environmental Management & Real Property, said, “This study is a tremendous asset for Sullivan County. It will help us understand more clearly the makeup of our second home community, and also what these part-time residents would want or need to become full-time residents. These findings are not only important for the County as we plan our future capital projects and quality-of-life programs, but also for our business and medical communities as they develop their own business plans and expansion efforts.”

The study report offers a comprehensive examination of this housing sector in the county to gauge concerns and tenure of second home owners (SHOs).  The analysis focuses on the following aspects of second home owners in Sullivan County: (1) current demographic profile, and how it is changed over the past years; (2) insights on how SHOs got information about Sullivan County and why they bought here; (3) property location and use patterns; (4) evaluation of community attributes and quality of services; (5) travel behavior and frequency of stays; and (6) purchasing behavior and philanthropic giving among second home owners. 

Using the above findings as a point of departure, the report also looks at how future demographic trends that could impact the second home owner market. As the largest age group among Sullivan County SHOs is 55-64, it is important to anticipate how aging may impact second home ownership in the county.  Local taxes are a concern among second home owners. Therefore, every thing else being equal, factors that could impact second home ownership in the future could be raising taxes, declining health, and death of a spouse.    

“This study is critical to long-term planning and coordination with the real estate community, developers, and municipalities, to keep this sector stable as demographic cohorts change over time,” noted Dr. Bill Pammer, Commissioner of Planning and Environmental Management. Pammer also noted that the Division of Planning would be conducting the second home study every five years as opposed to ten to monitor trends more closely given projected changes in the baby boomer population. 

The report offers a detailed analysis of quantitative and qualitative data gleaned from survey responses, augmented with census information and research on nationwide trends in second home markets and the county’s last survey of the second home population from 1997.

(Dov Gor4don – YWN Sullivan County News Desk)

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