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Vacation units drive spike in rental market

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Vacation units coming onto the long-term rental market have driven a spike in new leases this year.

Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty reported that new leases signed during the first quarter were up 40 per cent on each of the past two years.

And even with the dampening impact of shelter-in-place and Covid-19 restrictions, the market is still up 28 per cent in the year to date, the realtor said in its July newsletter.

Kenneth Richardson, a long-term rental agent at Coldwell Banker, told The Royal Gazette: “Obviously we have seen an increase in Airbnb and short-term rentals empty with the landlords concerned about the long-term effect that Covid-19 will have on their occupancy rates.

“Therefore these landlords are looking at alternative revenue, so long-term rentals of one year or more are looking attractive to them.”

Landlords were anxious to generate income from such properties in the middle of the devastated tourism season, especially with the strength of recovery in air arrivals also uncertain for next year. He added that much of this inventory was in one-bedroom units that have been in short supply on the market for several years.

Rental properties are also being snapped up faster: Coldwell Banker said that days on the market had fallen by nearly 50 per cent over the past two years.

With the economy hit hard by the pandemic ­— along with household incomes — there is evidence that some are trying to trim expenses by seeking bargains in the rental market.

The realtor reported very strong demand for studios and one-bedroom apartments up to $2,000 per month, and two-bedroom units up to $3,000 per month, especially in the central parishes. Quality of inventory in mid-range properties around $4,500 per month was a positive influence on the market, the realtor added.

Properties that have modern fixtures and fittings and are well maintained, if priced right, in excellent condition and in a good location, can rent in 48 hours to two weeks, Coldwell Banker said.

Residents opting not to travel, while also doing more work from home, also seems to have encouraged activity at the higher end of the market.

Adam Birch, another Coldwell Banker rental agent, said: “Since shelter-in-place, we have seen a spike of people in the $8,000-plus range seeking properties with larger yards, pools and views, since travel has been suspended and they are spending more time with the family.”

Adam Birch, of Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty (Photograph supplied)
Rental market spike: Kenneth Richardson, of Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty (Photograph supplied)

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Published July 20, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 20, 2020 at 9:20 am)

Vacation units drive spike in rental market

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