Cape Cod is often touted as one of the Northeast’s premier summer destinations. These days, rental landlords don’t want to hear that.

Rental vacancies surge this season in popular Massachusetts tourist destination Boston Globe report. The reasons for the downturn in the short-term rental market are unclear, but theories abound.

The Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors reported a 20 percent drop in occupancy this year from last year. Its chief executive, Ryan Castle, pointed to falling demand as a reason, from a drop in “retaliatory” travel to the post-pandemic world opening up to more international destinations.

Listing prices can also put tenants off. Long-term camping on Cape Cod is already expensive, averaging $525 a day last summer. This summer, however, the average price spiked even further, reaching an average daily price of $619.

Some pointed to supply and demand issues. Paul Niedzwiecki, president of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, said advance hotel bookings have not diminished as much as rental occupancy rates have this summer. However, the number of short-term rentals registered was up by nearly 4,000 from two years ago, although some of this may be related to increased compliance with property registration.

Other theories include poor traffic and unreasonable demands from Airbnb hosts. In the eyes of some, the neighborhood’s reputation has taken a hit because it is too expensive and does not cater to low-income groups.

However, the landlord’s loss is the tenant’s gain. Slowing demand as excess supply floods the market means tourists heading to wealthier areas may be able to strike deals that make up for pricey lobster rolls. Some rental owners have even reduced their prices by 25%, or lowered their check-in time requirements.

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