||University of Minnesota Extension conducted this survey to profile second homeowners and estimate their impact in eight counties of Minnesota’s Central and West Central lakes districts. Those responding to the survey tend to be well-educated (65 percent have a bachelors or graduate degree), predominantly in their 50s and 60s (65 percent of all respondents), and earn a household income above the state average (59 percent earn $100,000 or more annually). A majority of respondents have owned their property for more than 10 years and plan on moving permanently to their second home.
The social and economic impacts of second homeowners on the communities near their second homes are significant. We estimate that households have a median annual spending of $3,252, for common categories of household spending, in the county where their second home is located. This estimate is based on survey responses and assumes the shares spent in the second home communities hold for year-round purchasing patterns. The largest components of spending reflect median expenditures in the categories of grocery/liquor ($64 a month), dining and bars ($40 a month), home maintenance ($50 a month), entertainment/recreation ($34 a month), and gas/auto service ($50 a month). On average, respondents utilize their second homes 93 days of the year.
The survey also asked about second homeowners’ level of community involvement and attachment. Respondents clearly feel very attached to their second homes, but less attached to the communities near their second homes. Moreover, people responding to the survey are quite active in the communities where their first homes are located (81 percent belong to a community, civic or other organization there) and less so within their second-home communities, where only 17 percent belong to with a community organization.
Second-home communities could benefit from the talents and leadership skills seasonal residents bring and should undertake strategies to welcome and integrate them, especially in preparation for their permanent transition to the community. Given that 56% of respondents intend to move permanently to their second home, 46,000 permanent households could migrate to the study area, primarily over the next ten years, if that high percentage of second homeowners sticks with their plans.