Real Estate: Island rentals get shorter

CARRIE ANN SALVI PHOTO | Hannah Dinkel shows the files on residents wishing to rent their homes.

Hannah Dinkel’s real estate office on Bridge Street has a drawer packed with files of homeowners wishing to rent their homes.

According to her website, there are 48 rentals available for August through Labor Day. In Ms. Dinkel’s opinion, more people are signing on for shorter rental periods, paying a premium price generally for one or two week periods. Ms. Dinkel also said that in her experience “The whole of real estate sales and rentals is weaker than last year.”

Susan Cincotta, a broker at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s agency on Grand Avenue has had a different experience, and said the market is “better than last year” although she also has rental inventory in all price ranges. Ms. Cincotta said that “there is an increased supply due to more homeowners deciding it makes sense to rent their homes due to the economy.” She also agreed that renters are frequently looking for a week or two instead of the traditional Memorial Day to Labor Day rental. “Landlords have been accommodating shorter term rentals, and have rented their homes as a result,” she said. Ms. Cincotta said she still expects a lot more activity in our “resort area.” She said “the hotter it gets in the city, the more calls she gets for rentals.”

Broker Georgiana B. Ketcham, with offices on Grand Avenue and South Ferry Road, agrees that short-term rentals have been keeping her very busy. She said that due to the economy, spending has been cut in half for vacationers, resulting in the transition from seasonal and monthly rentals to weekly rentals. Griffing & Collins co-owner and broker Janalyn Travis-Messer, said that her North Ferry Road office is “just as busy as last year and last year was excellent.” She said she has a multitude of customers who are repeat rentals. She does still have properties that have not been rented, “Why? I don’t know. There are always last minute rentals that happen.” Ms. Travis-Messer said that many of her rentals are now wanting to look at purchasing a home and have been presenting offers. Ms. Cincotta agreed that it is often a natural progression for renters to start with a short-term rental, upgrade to a longer-term rental and then eventually proceed to purchasing a home.

Penelope Moore, senior vice president and associate broker for the Corcoran Group on Bridge Street agrees, saying that a lot of her “repeat tenants are renting to learn more about the Island while looking for the perfect home or buying opportunity.”

She said her rental business has been very active from Memorial Day through the beginning of July. She too still plenty of “really good rentals” for August and beyond. “You never know when the season begins and you never know when it ends.”

Ms. Moore said that since 2006 when rental prices were not negotiable, the increased inventory has resulted in an inconsistency in pricing. She agreed that landlords are starting to be more willing to negotiate rental prices and terms.

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