Orlando vacation homes have been around as far back as recorded time. Ok maybe the first “holiday” homes weren’t quite the vacation homes we’ve come to know today, and maybe they were once reserved for the rich and famous, but not anymore.
In 1960 the Census Bureau began tracking seasonal or occasional use housing units. The “Occasional” term turned out to be more for migrant workers so the Census created the more appropriate term of seasonal to explain vacationers. The “Seasonal” term was the first insight in to Americans passion for vacation homes. In 1960 there were 58 million homes in the U.S. of which 2 million were classified as Seasonal or vacation homes, so roughly 3% of all homes were being used for some sort of secondary use. In the latest Census data, from the 2000 Census, there were 115 million homes recorded in the U.S. of which 3.6 million were classified as vacation homes, again roughly 3% of all homes likely being used for vacations.
One of the earliest vacation homes, and arguably most well-known, in modern times was built in 1890. Although it was initially built to be a submarine barracks , it wasn’t long before President Taft turned it into a vacation home to be used on his way to inspect the Panama Canal in 1913. Can you guess where it was? The home really became famous in 1946 when a physically exhausted Harry Trumen was sent for some well-deserved rest and relaxation….in fact it turned out that the president enjoyed it so much he returned so often that it became known as the Little White House. Today the Little White House is a museum located in the Truman Annex of Key West Florida.
Today Florida is known as the vacation rental capital of the world, perhaps getting its roots from Presidents Taft and Truman’s days in Key West. Although it is likely that Europe has considerably more vacation rentals, the U.S. still holds claim to the greatest regional density of vacation rentals. Its no surprise that the state with the highest number of vacation homes is Florida, with 484,000. Astonishingly the next closest state is California with 232,000 vacation homes and the more traditional locations of the Outer Banks and New Jersey account for less than half of that.
Now that we’ve established Florida as one of the leaders in vacation home accommodations we should probably narrow down which areas of Florida offer the best opportunity to find a vacation home. There are several enormously popular destinations that the vacation home market thrives including the Panhandle, Central and Southern Gulf Coast, Florida Keys and Central Florida the home of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. which may have the greatest number of vacation homes in any one destination. The Disney World Resort area is estimated to have roughly 20,000 vacation homes and is growing at a healthy pace. People from all over the world enjoy the sun and fun of theme parks, swimming pools and easy access to both coasts, which makes the Central Florida Vacation Home market so robust. And here’s a secret, while Orlando is known as the vacation destination, most of the Disney World Resort sits in the neighboring county of Osceola and nearly all of the vacation homes surrounding Disney World Resort are in Kissimmee Florida.
So if you are planning a trip with the family I highly recommend trying a vacation home, after all if the Presidents enjoy them so can you. If you would like to purchase a vacation home take note that you are among millions that have discovered the wonders of having a home away from home. As for the right location, I suggest starting in the area of the world that you love the most. If you need some guidance or recommendations please let me invite you to Central Florida, the vacation capital of the world.
Jeff Chase, Broker