Airfares hit a record high last year and that's changed the behavior of people, particularly of vacation home buyers.

Remember the movie Dirty Dancing? It was about people in the New York metro area who would go up to the Catskills for vacation, which is just a short distance from NYC. People in big cities used to vacation just a short distance from their homes almost exclusively. Pittsburgh had Seven Springs, as just one more example.

But airline deregulation changed that equation. Suddenly, people took their vacation wherever a deal was across the country. They were no longer tethered to resorts that were close to home. And decades of relatively low domestic fares slowly sucked the life out of vacation destinations near big cities.

Now we've come full circle and people's vacationing habits are going back to that earlier era.

The Wall Street Journal
reports vacation home sales are picking up significantly in metro areas that are within a couple hours of big cities by car. The same buyers who might have bought in distant climes in the past are now buying nearby vacation homes.

So people from the Northeast who would have looked at Colorado or Utah are now buying in New England or upstate New York. And this is a pattern being played out around America.

I think it's no accident that our behavior has changed now that we are on the verge of having three full fare airlines dominating most air travel, when none of them seem to have an interest in offering reasonable fares for leisure travel.

So here's the opportunity I see: As people modify their buying patterns, if it still works for you to buy a vacation home in a remote locale, those prices will be very depressed versus the prices at vacation areas closer to urban centers. That creates opportunity if it fits your lifestyle.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off. View More Articles

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