Economy Fuels Vacation Rental Industry,
Triggers Interest In Primary Home Rentals And Second Home Purchases

  • Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of vacation rental owners report the same or higher bookings compared to last year
  • More than half (54 percent) of owners say due to the economy they need to rent their vacation home to cover costs more now than in the past
  • Approximately 15 percent of vacation rental owners have rented their primary residence to travelers
  • 12 percent of vacation home owners bought or considered buying another second home in 2009

AUSTIN, TX, August 18, 2009 — Despite the challenging economy, nearly two-thirds of vacation rental home owners are reporting bookings this summer are about the same or higher than last year, according to HomeAway, Inc. – the world’s leading online vacation rental marketplace – which today released the latest edition of its quarterly “HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report.”
In fact, approximately 31 percent of vacation rental owners had an increase in bookings this summer, while another 31 percent report bookings remained the same as last year.

“It’s clear that travelers are seeing the value that vacation rental homes and condos provide over hotels as they continue to travel in this economy,” says Brian Sharples, chief executive officer of HomeAway®.

More Vacation Home Owners Generating Income by Renting Out Homes to Travelers

The quarterly report revealed second home owners, including those who purchased homes for personal use, only plan to use their homes less than 50 days a year. “This represents a real opportunity for those owners to rent out their properties for the rest of the time to help cover costs and generate extra income,” Sharples says.

Due to the current economy, about 54 percent of owners say they need to rent out their vacation home more than they have in the past to cover costs, the report shows.
In addition, approximately 15 percent of vacation rental owners have also rented out their primary residence to travelers– a trend that is becoming more common during special events such as the Super Bowl or the presidential inauguration earlier this year. For instance, there was a substantial spike in the number of vacation rental inquiries on for the greater Washington, D.C. area prior to the Inauguration.

“With an increased demand for accommodations and limited hotel rooms during major events, HomeAway is seeing more homeowners renting their primary homes to travelers to make a little extra money,” Sharples says. “HomeAway has worked to make the process easier by offering more flexibility with shorter-term listings in addition to the traditional annual subscription to accommodate those homeowners.”

Homeowners who rent their home for 14 days or less in a given year don’t have to pay any taxes on the rental income, making short-term rentals an attractive way to generate some extra income.

Property Owners Find Opportunity in Falling Home Prices

The HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report indicates that due to the economy and the resulting downturn in the housing market, some vacation rental owners see an opportunity to purchase additional rental properties at attractive prices. About 12 percent of owners surveyed say they are considering purchasing or have already bought another second home this year. Of those who have bought or are considering buying, nearly half (46 percent) were motivated by a drop in home values and the ability to generate income by renting to vacationers. Their primary reasons for purchasing another second home in 2009 include:

For people looking to invest in a vacation home, HomeAway identified the top markets where consumer demand for vacation rental properties significantly exceeds current inventory levels. While it’s not surprising that beach destinations were in high demand this summer, Boston ranked fourth on the list and represents the only urban area in the top 10. This follows a similar pattern to the first-quarter HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report in which the most underserved markets were dominated by coastal beach areas, with the exception of New York, N.Y.

The top 10 underserved markets during the second quarter of 2009 were:

Special Deals Continue Into Fall and Winter

To attract travelers, the majority of owners (61 percent) plan to offer or are already offering some type of deal or incentive to travelers this fall and winter. In fact, 76 percent of owners who offered deals this summer plan to do so again in the upcoming seasons.

In the second quarter of 2009, travelers waited longer to book their vacation rentals. The average booking window became shorter each month, dropping to as low as 72 days in July, a 37 day difference compared to the same time in 2008. In some popular fall and winter destinations like Hawaii, bookings are strong and made early, leading to limited availability in some areas. According to the report, the following destinations are among the most sought after for popular holiday travel periods:

To view the complete HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report, click here.

For information contact:
Eileen Buesing
Director of Global Public Relations
HomeAway, Inc.
Office- 512-493-0375