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The Weekend Poll: Who has it made in the shade?

It used to be assumed that a vacation-home owner was in a better position than vacation renters. Given the price declines of recent years, that's not necessarily so. Who fares better now?

This is a non-scientific user poll. Results are not statistically valid and cannot be assumed to reflect the views of Washington Post users as a group or the general population.

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  July 2, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Buying , Poll , Weekend Poll  
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How about an "it depends"? We've done the math, and the tipping point always seemed to be about 1 visit/month -- more than that, and it's better to own; less than that, you're better off renting the occasional condo or hotel room and then banking the rest of what you would have spent on mortgage.

Of course, that also presumes that you would actually invest the extra money and not find something else to spend it on. If you can invest $1K a month vs. pay $1K in mortgage, you're likely to come out ahead in the end, because with a mortgage, you're only actually "investing" the principal (which is a reeeeeally small portion of the $1K in the first few years). The interest is just money out of your pocket. But if you'd have just spent the whole $1K on other stuff anyway, then buying can be decent forced savings.

For us, we are keeping our eyes out for a place that we can ultimately retire to in 20-ish years. I like the idea of basically pre-paying a chunk of my retirement living expenses now, while I have decent cash flow. I also recognize that, personally, it would be easier to "save" through a mortgage, which I have no choice but to pay, than by just deciding that I'm going to cut back my budget to commit another big chunk of $$ to a generic investment account. It may not be the "smartest" or most economically efficient way to do it -- but at least when I'm having a bad day at work, I can visualize that little place and remind myself why I'm doing what I'm doing.

Posted by: laura33 | July 2, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

If you own your own vacation home in a place you love to go to, and it's not an undue stress on your budget, it can be a wonderful respite from big-city stress and traffic. Like everything else, it has to fit your personal ideas of how you like to spend your time. It might mean you can't afford to vacation elsewhere very often, but off-setting that, you can invite friends and family to visit and enjoy a week at the beach or wheverever. Sometimes it's not about showing an eventual profit, but just spending your money to enjoy your time on this earth. That is worth something in itself.

Posted by: WiseOldWoman | July 3, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

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