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Summer Season Showing Robust Signs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Elizabeth Weedon
Phone: (888) 281-8660
E-mail: elizabeth@weneedavacation.com

Wellesley, February 1, 2002--A soft economy is showing no effect on renting on the Cape and islands this summer, according to Joan and Jeff Talmadge, the owners of www.weneedavacation.com, an innovative search site which advertises vacation rental homes on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, and where vacationers book directly with the owners. Prices are up, and so are the bookings, even for high-priced properties that begin at $4,000 a week.

And there is plenty of availability even in the most desirable homes. Overall, barely half of the available weeks in the heart of the summer are booked. While waterfront and waterview properties are more booked than non-water properties, many weeks in those homes remain available as well.

Because their clients are homeowners and realtors, the Talmadges have a keen view of the market, one that stretches back to 1997, and accounts for more than 1.5 million visitors to the fully searchable web site. Simple to navigate and pinpoint vacationers' individual requirements from a certain week, to an ocean view, to romantic getaways or a compound for a family reunion, www.weneedavacation.com has experienced an annual homeowner client growth rate of over 60 percent.

The Talmadges measure "property views," or the number of times a vacation home’s web page is seen. “That’s what our clients pay us to accomplish for them,” says Jeff Talmadge. There were 1.3 million views in 2001 alone, and judging by the traffic to date, they expect more than 750,000 property views in Q1 of 2002, or an average of over 380 views per month for each property listing.

"What our clients want to see is not only bookings, but a sense of the marketplace," says Jeff Talmadge who notes that 90 percent of his clients renew. "And, in turn, we want to measure our clients' moods as well of results."

Focusing on the nine summer weeks which represent 90 percent of the traffic as well as the main income base for homeowners, the Talmadges found that overall, rental prices increased a robust eight percent, or three times the consumer price index. "Clearly," says Joan Talmadge, "homeowners feel they're in a sellers' market."

Prices took the biggest leap in Nantucket, which went up nearly 16 percent, while the Vineyard showed the most modest hike, but still a respectable 4.2 percent. On the Cape, increases were highest in the Outer Cape and lowest on the Upper Cape. The site's Nantucket homes are the most expensive at over $2,944/week on average, with Upper Cape homes the least expensive at $1,837/week.

"Our homeowners appear to be a bit more cautious after banner years in 1999, 2000, and last season when prices soared," says Joan Talmadge. "Still, homeowners are confident, with only three percent of our clients lowering their price this summer."

The Talmadges also saw an increase in bookings, which represent the best measure because they indicate actual business transactions. And while the couple anticipated a substantial slowdown after Sept. 11, bookings jumped 63 percent during November and December. January was up 24% percent over last year.

Finally, the Talmadges' data shows an impressive growth in the prices paid to date for rental property on the Cape and Islands. In January, 2001, the average summer weekly rental price was $1,938. This year it is $2,267, an impressive 17 percent increase. In another indication of a returning economy, 20% of the bookings this year are for homes priced at more than $4,000 a week; only 14% of vacationers booked at that price range by this time last year.

"While we don't pretend to be economic forecasters, our data certainly bodes well for the upcoming season on the Cape and Islands," said Jeff Talmadge. "Restaurants, shops and hotels want to first know if people are coming this year. And by our indications, it looks to be a solid summer season."

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About WeNeedaVacation.com: Since 1997, WeNeedaVacation.com has been providing an efficient and inexpensive way of matching vacationers and vacation rental homeowners. The website lists more than 4,000 properties on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket. The WeNeedaVacation.com Vacation Planner also offers extensive information to the 175,000+ vacationers who use our site yearly, including information about beaches, events, dining, activities, and shopping. Our amazing staff collectively has over 100 years of experience as Cape & Islands vacation rental homeowners. We love the Cape and Islands, work hard to promote this special place, and proudly belong to 17 local Chambers of Commerce.

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Email: info@weneedavacation.com

Phone: (888) 281-8660