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Real Estate, Viewed As Safe Haven For Investment Dollars, Sees More People Seeking Third-Home Ownership

The run-up in real-estate prices in recent years has fueled the perception that property is a relatively safe haven for investment dollars. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which tracks home-price changes nationwide, reports average prices of single-family homes surged nearly 13% last year, the largest 12-month increase since 1979.

Due to second-home ownership jumping significantly in the past decade, and a desire to retire in multiple locations and an interest in being nearer to relatives, more people are picking up third homes.

Economists say no one systematically tracks the third-home market nationally, but brokers from California to Florida say more of their clients are buying a third piece of property.

The National Association of Realtors does track second home purchases and reports a surge in people purchasing second homes. About 445,000 second homes were bought last year, up 24% from the prior year.