Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Families Rent Their Vacation Homes in Difficult Economic Times

By Elaine Porterfield, msnbc.com contributor
As the recession grinds on, people everywhere are looking for new sources of income. And that appears to include the owners of second homes renting out beloved vacation getaways in increasing numbers, say Internet firms who market stays at holiday homes for private owners.
At HomeAway, Inc., the largest such site in the country, they’ve seen their vacation rental listings grow about 22 percent from 433,295 in 2009 to 527,535 in 2010, and they appear to be climbing at similar rates this year, according to Alexis de Belloy, senior vice president of the company's U.S. brands, including HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and VacationRentals.com.
De Belloy, like others in the business, said there is no precise research on why second-home owners are listing their properties for rent in increasing numbers, but the economy is likely the major driver.
Results from a recent HomeAway survey offer some clues. Twenty percent of holiday homeowners new to the rental market cited economic conditions — including the need to generate additional income — as the reason why they started renting out their vacation home, de Belloy said.
Those homeowners said factors such as recent job loss, the inability to sell a home or the risk of foreclosure factored in their decision, he said.

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