Sales of Vacation Homes Fall During Recession

By Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY
(Feature Story on front page of the Money Section)

Since Suzanne Wegerland put her vacation home in Costa Rica up for sale last summer, she has had plenty of visitors. Such as the giant red and green iguanas that saunter across the patio, or the pairs of yellow-breasted birds that dip their beaks in her endless pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
But so far, no buyers. While she has dropped her price on the property, with its rambling five bedrooms and nearby rain forest, from $2.35 million to $1.5 million, she is experiencing firsthand just how dismal the market has become for vacation homes. She has enough money to pay her interest-only mortgage of $3,800
through July, but after that, there are no funds left.

“It’s such a beautiful place. You can sit on the patio and watch the birds, and to the left is the rain forest,” says Wegerland, 52, of Houston, who works in the oil and gas insurance industry.

She decided to sell the property because of unforeseen financial problems, such as medical expenses. “We’re about to lose it to the bank.”

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