Vacation Home: Luxury or Necessity? How COVID-19 Pandemic is Affecting People’s Attitudes

Back to news list

For some time, a vacation residence in a coastal or lakeside location were often regarded as a luxury by many Lithuanians. However, it seems that this opinion abruptly changed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and travel restrictions were enforced. Seventeen percent of the residents who are planning to buy a new home or to move to a new one, consider purchasing a second/vacation home in a coastal resort town or a rural homestead.

“This summer, travel restrictions forced many residents to change their vacation plans. Instead of spending their vacations broad, many chose to stay at home or decided to vacation in the coastal region of their home country or other resort towns or countryside farmsteads. It appears that the ongoing uncertainty brought about by the pandemic caused people to rethink their future holiday plans. For this reason, an increasing number of them are starting to look for a vacation residence since it became a necessity rather than a luxury.

This could have been the result of the fact that renting a desired vacation home in the coastal region was rather challenging in the summer months. Many were also deterred by high property rental rates which spiked due to increased demand,” said Julius Dovidonis, CEO of Realco, one of the largest real estate companies in Lithuania.

Strongest interest is among middle-aged people

The survey of Vilnius residents conducted in October by Spinter Tyrimai and commissioned by Realco has shown that middle-aged respondents (aged 46 to 55) made up the largest proportion (37 percent) of those who consider buying a vacation home.
For respondents aged 36 to 45, buying a vacation home has also become an important issue with 18 percent of them considering this option. It is interesting to note that as many as 15 percent of the youngest respondents aged 18 to 25 are also considering buying a vacation home.

According to Mr. Dovidonis, the desire to own a vacation home may have been further increased by the desire to achieve work-life balance more effectively.

“One quarter (26 percent) of the residents reported to have started considering the possibility to purchase a new home or to move to a new property due to the pandemic-related changes. For nearly half of them (49 percent), such plans were related to the considerations for remote working and related changes. Four out of ten respondents (42 percent) claimed that such plans were a response to travel restrictions and were also caused by the desire to spend quality vacation time in Lithuania.

In this context, when the pandemic locks people down in their home country, and remote working confines people to their homes, a vacation home can serve not only as a vacation spot but also as a great place to work. After all, with remote working, people can freely choose where they will carry out their work. An apartment in the coastal region or a farmstead in the countryside may be an ideal place for that purpose as the only thing you need is an internet connection,” Mr. Dovidonis said.

In light of the pandemic, the greatest interest in a vacation home was observed among housewives (27 percent), top-level or middle-level managers (26 percent) and students (24 percent).

Want to be as close to nature as possible

Although the pandemic has restricted foreign travel, it has not deterred people from planning vacations, even if that means spending holidays in their home country or seeking alternative options.

According to Mr. Dovidonis, the pandemic has further increased the recently observed trend of spending vacations in the coastal areas of the country. Owning a private home in this case becomes an option for those who want enjoy a long vacation or a short weekend getaway. Moreover, it can be a great place to spend quality leisure time all year round.

If we look at the real estate market in the coastal region, we can see that buyer activity, as usual, increased throughout the summer months and peaked in autumn.

Mr. Dovidonis, CEO of the real estate company Realco behind the Gates of Šventoji project, said that the interest in the apartments is still felt after the summer has ended. There has also been a great increase in the visitor traffic to the project’s website. In November, the number of visitors showing interest in the project increased ten times as compared to the same period last year.

Sharing his observations, he said that people usually have location-related requirements when it comes to their vacation home: they want their home to be as close to the beach as possible, in a quiet and peaceful spot and also, they want to see as much greenery and natural setting as possible through their windows. Another requirement that has been on the rise recently is the wish to have a fully finished and furnished home as people are less and less willing to waste their time decorating and furnishing their homes.

“These are rational and picky customers who prioritize a peaceful and cosy environment and want as little hassle as possible when it comes to choosing their vacation property. Our project is geared towards this particular type of customers. For this reason, we are now implementing a unique idea of designing an exemplary apartment using Lithuanian-made products only, with Lithuanian furniture and interior designers contributing to the project,” Mr. Dovidonis said.

The Gates of Šventoji residential complex consists of 16 low-rise buildings located near the Baltic Sea and the River Šventoji. The project offers 2- to 5-room apartments with a floor area ranging from 32 to 104 sq. meters.A survey of a sample of 1,210 residents of Vilnius was conducted on 15–29 October this year by Spinter Tyrimai.

Back to news list