Vacation rental prices surge as pandemic-weary people begin to travel

Pandemic travel deals are long gone, summer tourists are quickly learning.

COVID-19 all but decimated the travel industry, with plummeting plane ticket and hotel costs due to shelter-in-place orders. But now, there’s a surge in both interest and cost for holiday hot spots as the US begins to remove restrictions.

“In 2017, you might have gotten a place for $2,300. And now they’re up to like $4,500 a week,” real estate agent Wendy Allyson told USA Today of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, rentals this summer. 

The price spike is not only linked to Americans looking to escape their homes for greener pastures. Experts said there’s been a cut to inventory caused by homeowners deciding to stay in the properties they would usually rent out.

“Some people say their children are home from college or working remotely,“ Allyson said. “Normally they would rent it out for rental income, but now they are letting their children use it or maybe they’re even selling it.”

The combination of factors is causing record-breaking rates of sold-out accommodations. While a boon for proprietors hard hit by the blow to the travel sector, summer vacations may not come to fruition for cash-strapped people this year.

“It’s going to be hard for travelers to find great deals right now,” Steve Hart, CEO of property manager franchiser Property Management Inc., told USA Today. 

Experts recommend that those who didn’t book well in advance open their minds to lesser-known destinations in order to save money and time.

“If people are willing to go back to cities, their rates and occupancy are generally more flexible than some of those like beach or mountain destinations,” Melanie Brown, director of data and analytics for Key Data, told the publication. “Just staying flexible on the dates and the type of destination you’re looking for could help.”