This year’s flabby rental market means late-season dealing is unusually tenant-friendly, as many new vacation-home buyers add to an already large inventory of rentable houses. Start looking in the following areas, and you may even get to negotiate. A little.
The Hamptons Vacancies dot the South Fork, from Amagansett shacks (as low as $9,000 for July) to oceanfront estates (a twelve-bedroom on Shinnecock Bay is $950,000 for the summer). The best selection, says Peter Turino of Brown Harris Stevens, is in the “under-$50,000 category,” which means a three-bedroom off the beach in Southampton or East Hampton. By now, one-month and even two-week sessions are on the table, notes Corcoran’s Ana O’Byrne. And if you want to be a Hilton, Rick and Kathy’s place off Wickapogue Road is $275,000 for July and August.
Wellfleet, Massachusetts There’s a reason shrinks descend on this Cape Cod town every August: The laid-back vibe gently takes care of displacement issues. Demand has been high, despite the red tide that’s wiped out the shellfish, but agents say there’s just too much inventory. Expect to pay at least $1,500 a week for a typical three-bedroom; some landlords are now cutting rates up to 20 percent. The shingled cottages are mostly taken, says Terry Gips of Cape Cod Realty, but larger homes are available by the week, especially in July.
Cape May, New Jersey The beachfront’s booked, says Andy Peck of Jersey Cape Realty, but several blocks’ walk from the ocean, you’ll easily find a two-bedroom for about $1,250 a week. Dozens of good five- to seven-bedroom houses are available, at $4,500 per week and up. Budget-conscious types can head north to the pleasingly scruffy Wildwoods, teeming with motels and rentals; see wildwoodsnj.com.
Northwest Connecticut and the Berkshires Latecomers aren’t unusual here, where the Memorial Day–to–Labor Day season doesn’t really hold. So, says broker Juliet Moore of Elyse Harney, there are still “gorgeous” houses, like a three-bedroom on Lake Wononscopomuc that’s $25,000 for the summer.
Fire Island Renters have been opting for smaller houses, leaving those in the $18,000-to-$25,000-per-month range—especially, says Moore, in Dunewood and Lonelyville. If you’re flexible about dates, you won’t have a problem finding a couple of free weeks, though August may be trickier than July.
A Guide to 2005 Summer Rentals by Price