Realtors anticipate booming rental market this summer

The 2013 rental season is shaping up to be a plus for the local economy. And with the trickle-down effect, that should be good news to the many cleaning companies, equipment rental companies, restaurants and stores in the area that depend on the tourist season to make their living. According to many local rental agencies, their numbers are up from last year and people have been booking earlier than ever.

“It’s very good,” said Annette Marine of Wilgus Associates in Bethany Beach. “Rentals are up from last year.” She said about 50 percent of their renters are returning customers, with the other half being new customers coming to them through online resources and other venues.

Greg Murphy of Crowley Associates said bookings this year were “outstanding, actually.”

He said they are seeing bookings about a month ahead of the normal curve and they have seen more people coming from the areas of northern New Jersey and the areas hit by Hurricane Sandy. He explained that Crowley proactively reached out to those renters to rent early and get their summer rentals booked in the Bethany Beach area.

“[Other agencies] are seeing the same thing,” he said, adding that they often talk with each other to see what they can offer renters. He added that the later weeks in July and August — often the prime summer booking weeks — are already booked and that many people booked earlier than normal, even in west-side communities, such as Bethany West.

“We are seeing bookings a lot earlier and quicker. It’s going to be good for the economy this year,” he surmised.

John Kleinstuber, Broker and owner of Kleinstuber Realty in Fenwick Island, agreed that things are “looking real well, generally speaking.”

He also said renters who would normally rent in New York or New Jersey are starting to come to the Delaware beaches for the first time.

“That’s actually helping things,” he said. “It’s going to be a very good rental season.” He said almost all of their rental homes are already rented, which has been the case for the last two years.

“We are in a very limited area. ... There are only about 850 homes, and 200 or so get rented out. The past two years have been very good years for us. We have had about 95 percent of the properties rented, and that is certainly holding true now — maybe even quicker this year.”

Tim Fisher of ResortQuest by Windham Vacation Rentals, said they, too, are about on par with last year, “which was a great year.”