May 13, 2023 - Real Estate

Buying a vacation home is out. Trading homes is in.

Illustration of two keys, passing through a phone and trading places.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Home-swap networks are growing as owning a vacation property has become less attractive.

Driving the news: Last month, San Francisco-based Kindred announced it raised $15 million to expand its members-only business into Europe.

  • The platform, which includes listings in Denver, has more than 2,500 homes in over 50 cities across North America and will debut in major overseas cities such as London and Berlin later this year.

The big picture: Across the country, demand for second homes is down more than half from pre-pandemic levels, fueled by high costs, a cooling short-term rental market and a pullback in remote work, per a new Redfin report.

Zoom in: Colorado mountain properties are still hot, but Denver is feeling the decline, Scott Castro, a local investment property specialist, tells Axios.

  • "No one wants to buy a second home right now" because of elevated interest rates, Guide Real Estate's Castro says.
  • Local officials cracking down on short-term rental rules have also hampered interest, he says.
  • Some people who bought vacation homes during the pandemic boom are now turning them into long-term rentals to pay the bills, Castro says.

Between the lines: The way people travel has changed, boosting the "sharing economy" that's now flush with Airbnb-style rental marketplaces.

How it works: Kindred has a "give-to-get" model. You earn credits toward booking a place by hosting a member in your own home.

  • The intrigue: There are no nightly rental fees. For each trip, members cover the cost of cleaning and a service fee capped at $25 per night.
  • Membership is pay-as-you-go, and there's a waitlist to join, as homes are accepted based on supply and demand across locations.

The bottom line: Sharing is caring — and one way to offset pricier vacations during what's expected to be a record-setting travel season.


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