May 23, 2013 – Cape Cod and Islands vacation rental bookings on WeNeedaVacation.com so far this season are keeping pace with last year at this time, with modest increases particularly on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Overall for the entire region and including the spring, summer and fall seasons, bookings are 1.7% ahead of last year.
Summer/high season bookings on the Cape are up a modest .4%, while those on Nantucket are up 5.5% and the Vineyard 4.1%. Fall bookings are continuing to gain in popularity, as they have consistently for the past 5+ years, this year up 11.2% overall for the 3 regions (Cape Cod up 10.1%, Nantucket up 16.9%, and the Vineyard up 18.6%). This year’s spring bookings overall, however, are actually posting a 3.7% loss over last year, due primarily to the 6.2% decrease in spring bookings on the Cape, versus Nantucket’s 4.4% rise and the Vineyard’s 7.8% rise.
Homeowners listing on the website have increased their prices for the second year in a row since the 2011 season, last year up 3.6% over the previous year’s and this year a modest 1.6% increase over last year’s.
A recent survey of real estate professionals with multiple listings on WeNeedaVacation.com reflects a similar assessment of the season so far. Blake Decker of Pretty Picky Properties, based in Brewster, states, “From our vantage point, the overall vacation rental market on Cape Cod is strong in 2013. While rates have had modest increases as compared with 2012, guests have booked their properties significantly earlier than in past years.” Edith Delker of Edith Delker Real Estate on Nantucket reports that rentals have been considerably stronger than last year, as does Michelle Sylvia of Robert Paul Properties based in Osterville. Jody Sylvia of ERA Cape Real Estate in Yarmouthport commented that the booking season started out quite strong but slowed down considerably during March and April. She wonders if vacationers are becoming less tolerant of the bridge traffic and high prices that Cape rental owners are demanding. She cautions owners to be aware of the vast amount of competition they have and to be more disposed to negotiate their prices as the rental season nears and they still have vacancies.
Given the recent improvement in the US economy, particularly in the stock markets, it’s somewhat surprising that the Cape and Islands vacation rental market isn’t even stronger than booking numbers currently indicate. There is, however, a high inventory of homes to rent, and the website is continuing to activate new listings at a high rate, even at this late date in the booking season. Gas prices are still high, and it appears that many vacationers are continuing to exhibit economic caution when contemplating their vacation plans.