Today, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced that 40 percent of all existing homes sold in 2005 were either second/vacation homes or investment property.

I spent some time on the phone this afternoon with Paul Bishop, NAR manager of real estate research who expressed surprise at the enormous number of second/vacation and investment homes that were sold last year: 3.34 million second-homes were sold in 2005, up 16 percent from an upwardly revised total of 2.88 in 2004. Bishop says the wealth and advancing age of baby boomers (the oldest of whom are hitting their peak earning years) is propelling this surge.

I’ll be exploring the second home phenomenon in my column that I’ll be writing for next week. If you sign up for the free weekly newsletter, you’ll get it as it’s hitting the syndicate.

Own a second home? If you own a second home (either a vacation residence or an investment property) I’d love to hear more about it. Has it been a good experience or bad? Have you lost money or made a fortune? You can email me or post your thoughts on this trend on the blog.