Vacation Rental Market 2005: New Hampshire’s Lakefront Rentals: Modern Changes Offer a New Path to An Old Tradition

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The unique experience of enjoying a relaxing summer vacation at a lakefront cottage hasnÂ?t changed much in generations. But according to Mark Borrin of Preferred Vacation Rentals in Center Harbor, New Hampshire, the process of finding that perfect rental has changed dramatically in recent years, giving vacationers more options, more control over their rental, and better deals Â? but only if they know where to look.

“Today’s renters have choices that no one was even thinking about a few years ago, and the smart renter can avoid popular trends to get a better deal this summer,” said Borrin, whose agency offers more than 300 properties in the Lakes Region, most with waterfront or beach access. While many are on the vast and popular Lake Winnipesaukee, there are numerous properties on other are lakes, such as Squam, Winnisquam, and Waukewan.

The changes are the product of internet-age technology, post-September 11th vacation trends, and good old fashion supply and demand.

Just a few years ago, the search for a vacation rental started with a phone call, maybe a visit to the local rental agency, or idly flipping through a catalogue of properties printed months beforehand. Decisions were made based on basic features like price, bedrooms, and lake access.

Today, the Internet has changed the search process, and Borrin says now 40% of clients visit Preferred Vacation Rental’s website before calling for a booking. No wonder, with pictures of every property online, where new homes are added instantly when they become available. Instead of basing a rental decision on number of rooms, the modern vacationer can search out narrow criteria like decks, docks, cottage color, beach size, or what lake it is on.

On the Web, families can choose from quaint cottages to modern contemporary waterfronts, or even popular Lake Winnipesaukee’s private islands. There is also an extensive selection of cottage communities, condos and townhouse associations which Borrin recommends for those who want to plan a vacation with their extended family—but not under the same roof.

While the properties are updated daily, reservations still must be made by phone. “We like the personal touch,” Borrin said. “There are often so many questions that are better answered over the phone before making a booking.”

Beyond technology, recent years have also brought new trends to the industry – trends that a clever renter can steer clear of to find the best deal. In years past, large expensive homes rented slowly and smaller 2-3 bedroom homes went first. But a reemphasis on extended-family gatherings after September 11th and a rebounding economy have made the large estates the first to go in 2005. As rental groups grow in size and length of stay, cottages of three bedrooms or less now offer the best deals.

“You can get a two-bedroom, one-bath home with beach access from $700 a week, and these are great for young families or small groups,” said Borrin, who recommends keeping an eye on homes just off the water for the greatest values. “Properties a quarter-mile from the water or more still have deeded rights to private beaches and, in many cases, docks, for families that are working on a budget.”

And renting a privately-owned home or cottage is an excellent value. For less than the price of a hotel, families can get a place with fully-equipped kitchen, their own dock, and privacy.

Sales are up 8% for Borrin’s agency this year, but even with new demand, the supply of properties available has increased at an even greater rate. The popularity of central New Hampshire has driven up local land value and waterfront property taxes, prompting more and more owners to rent their homes to cover their own costs. As the 2005 season approaches, the current inventory of over 280 homes will swell to over 320, cementing reasonable prices and wide choices for renters.

Borrin, whose father founded Preferred Vacation Rentals in 1967, has noticed the increased interest in the Lakes over the years. “There’s plenty to do here, and the crowds are modest in comparison to the hustle and bustle of other vacation areas,” Borrin said.

“Our region has some of the cleanest, clearest lakes in the world. We’re the place to come for a quiet, truly relaxing vacation in one of the most beautiful settings this country has to offer. The experience hasn’t changed much – just the path that takes you here.”

Preferred Vacation Rental’s specialized marketing services include waterfront, water access, and island vacation properties available by the week, month or year. Preferred is the largest firm of its type in central New Hampshire, and has been family-owned since 1967. For more information call 877-525-3764, or go to http://www.preferredrentals.com.

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Mark Borrin