Austin Allison Shares His Real Estate Secrets

The co-founder and CEO shares his thoughts on how Pacaso’s secondary home co-ownership model creates accessibility for a larger demographic—and on what’s trending in 2022.
Austin Allison

In 2020, former Zillow executive Austin Allison co-founded Pacaso, a modernized real estate platform designed to make the dream of second home ownership a reality for more people. While Allison is based in California, Pacaso currently offers properties in over 29 top destinations in the U.S. and beyond, including Malibu, Palm Springs, Napa-Sonoma, Aspen, West Palm Beach, Miami, Jackson Hole, and Marbella, Spain, with plans to expand.

How does Pacaso help people achieve second home ownership?

Pacaso makes it possible for people to own the second home of their dreams for one-eighth of the cost. We’ve replaced the decades-old practice of DIY co-ownership with fully managed LLC co-ownership, professional property management, and a smart scheduling system to make owning a second home more enjoyable and less expensive. Co-ownership helps buyers increase their purchasing power and shop for homes that would be otherwise out of their price range. It also empowers a sphere of buyers—those who may have been priced out of the market—to become second homeowners.

What is the difference between co-ownership of a Pacaso property and a timeshare?

With Pacaso, you own a true real estate asset, not simply a block of time. And because it’s a real estate asset, its value will move with the market—any equity realized is yours. Additional differences include that you can use your home year-round, the resale process is streamlined, and Pacaso limits the number of shares per home to eight, so you and just seven other owners, at most, will have access to the home, while a timeshare unit may be shared by 52 other people in a resort/condo.

Who might consider owning a second home?

Many families aspire to own a second home, but few realize that dream. In fact, 3 out of 4 Americans with a household income over $150,000 aspire to own a second home. The largest barriers are second home purchase price and purchase justification—it’s hard to rationalize buying a whole home you’ll use less than six weeks a year or taking on the part-time job of managing your second home. To solve this, we created Pacaso to empower people to own a share, from one-eighth to one-half, of a second home and experience true real estate ownership.

What’s happening now with the secondary home market?

Across the nation, second home rate locks increased throughout the pandemic, peaking in summer 2020 and again in spring 2021, but falling 26.6% this past summer. Despite this recent cooling of the pandemic-fueled second home surge, overall market share of second homes is still up from pre-pandemic levels and I suspect in 2022 second home sales will continue to outpace pre-pandemic levels given the permanent shifts in the way people live and work, and also where they choose to get away from it all.

Any market trends you predict for 2022?

I predict a new wave of second home markets in 2022. We saw double-digit price growth across the entire U.S. and intense interest in second homes in places like Boise, Idaho, and Eagle County up in the Colorado Rockies, in 2021. This widespread demand is creating a new wave of second home markets with more moderate median home prices but the same types of amenities and outdoor recreation options typical of their more famous counterparts.