A large portion of our business at Feiner Real estate is matching tenants up with great summer rental homes in Chilmark and Aquinnah . Over the last few years with the incremental decline of our economy there has been some notable changes which persisting year after year have become trends for. For starters, Chilmark and Aquinnah homeowners have not been raising rental rates. During the late 90’s into early 2002 rates were going up almost annually. I believe they almost doubled since 1995. Now we are seeing homeowners concerned about maximizing their occupancy and in some cases offering discounts to tenants who take longer period rentals. This is common in rentals of almost all prices and is often due to homeowners leveraging their homes during the period of prosperity. Additionally, we are seeing prospective Chilmark and Aquinnah tenants are shopping around utilizing all the various web-related tools such as the rent-by-owner websites. This growing trend has hurt the rental agencies which once serviced all the rental homes and which provided the majority of income to the agencies and brokers that serviced these homes.
Now with the latest economic news or recession, there is further pressure on Chilmark and Martha’s Vineyard homeowners to fill their vacancies and I believe we may for the first time see real erosion of rental rates in some sections of the market. Most notably will be the higher end ($6000 to $25,000 per week) as more renters bring their budgets under control trying to cut costs and be frugal. We should also see bigger discounts from owners on long term stays and increased motivation by homeowners to accommodate the needs and desires of their tenants.