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Selection of vacation home rentals getting sparse


By Brooke Rogers

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    DALLAS (KTVT) — If you’re holding out on making summer travel plans, you may be out of luck if they involve a vacation home rental.

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, short-term rentals have been surging, and they’re even hotter this summer.

A three-hour drive from DFW, Broken Bow, Oklahoma is the second fastest-growing travel destination on VRBO. And while it may have scenic views and activities galore, what it doesn’t have is available lodging.

“The demand definitely has been off the charts,” said realtor Monica Maynard Wood, who owns two properties in Broken Bow. She said occupancy over the last two years has gone from around 50 percent to 95 percent.

“They’ve now been exposed to a different type of travel,” she said. “They’ve now seen how easy it can be to hop in a car and go somewhere. That’s kind of hard to come back from.”

The trend started right when COVID-19 did.

According to an industry data firm, the average length of stay for rentals skyrocketed by 58 percent during the pandemic.

Realtor and Broken Bow owner Kelly Viehbeck said she learned the hard way to black out dates so they can use their own home.

“We made that mistake last year. We left, and before we knew it, our calendar was booked up for months. And so we were locked out, and we couldn’t go back,” she said.

Both owners said demand has driven prices up.

“I would say for sure we’ve gone up probably 25 percent, 25, 30 percent,” said Viehbeck.

And they don’t see it slowing down.

“I think it’s really shifted, and I don’t see it shifting back,” said Maynard Wood.

So while you may be too late for a rental this summer, the experts said their advice is to look at your calendar now.

“Start planning now for your fall vacation or even further, looking at spring break next year,” Viehbeck said. “Just go online and see what’s available now and get it booked so you can get in.”

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