With spring flower bulbs starting to pop out of the soil like pastel colored lollipops, landlords whose homes are available on the rental market on Shelter Island are looking for tenants to emerge to sign leases.
Over the past three years, the rental market has evolved and it will undoubtedly continue to do so. Rentals, in general, flow with the lives and habits of consumers and it takes an astute and tenacious owner to be able to navigate the various twists and turns, whether caused by changes in the economy, changes in rental regulations or a worldwide pandemic.
Around this time in 2020, the pandemic was soon to be a full-blown crisis, which led customers to the serenity of a home to rent or buy on Shelter Island and the East End. With the sudden demand, rental prices in some cases doubled, and as the sale market soared, many rental homes went on the sale circuit, thereby depleting the rental inventory. The off season from 2020-2021 was also a boon to landlords, with customers seeking a quiet place to work and live away from the city.
The 2021 summer season continued to be robust, with more new rental homes coming to the market, of which many had been recently purchased or renovated by its owners hoping to defray their investment through renting at the market price.
As vaccinations have emerged as a lifesaver and people are more free to travel, customers who are usually scouring the web for a summer rental are focused more on reconnecting with family and friends in other locales. Currently, those who are looking to book a rental are, for the most part, price conscious which has resulted in the entry level rentals or the higher end rentals priced at pre pandemic rates being leased first.
Many landlords who found the past two seasons financially rewarding have sharpened their skills in being hand-on managers of their rental home, or in several cases have expressed a sort of battle fatigue and are planning to use their homes for their own personal enjoyment this year.
Before the pandemic, the rental season went in spurts after Labor Day, with most activity starting around mid April. It is possible that the market is trending back to waiting for customers to return from spring break activities before searching for a summer rental. There is still lower inventory, priced at rates introduced starting in 2020, and most with the creature comforts that customers came to expect with longer term leases, such as strong wifi, an office area and more updates.
Over the last five years or so, owners who also rent out their homes in the Hamptons have found Shelter Island a geographically convenient and more economical place to rent, while still making a return on their own Hamptons rental, and it appears this trend will continue.
It is still too early to know if the freedom to travel without fear of Covid will have an adverse effect on the rental market here on Shelter Island. In the meantime, the most successful rentals are priced to the market, ready to show, with accessible and decisive owners who keep their listings updated.