By Christopher Seufert @Adobe Stock

The summer rental market on the Cape has cooled and then some as reported by The Boston Globe:

In the not-too-distant past, the three rental properties Christine Peterson and her husband manage in Brewster and Barnstable would be booked for the prime summer weeks by February.

But last summer, their Cape-style home in Brewster sat empty for an entire week in July, the first time in 15 years that had happened. “It was unlike anything before,” she said. And as June draws to a close, the four-bedroom dwelling, a few miles from Linnell Landing Beach, still has a week open in July.

It’s a marked shift from the intense demand that Cape Cod and the Islands experienced during the pandemic, when people snatched up second homes, real estate prices and rental rates soared, and visitors typically booked lengthy stays well into the fall.

“You could have booked your house three times over, which was great. Your rates could go as high as they could go,” said Peterson, 42. “Last year was where it took the dip” but “this year is definitely even slower.”

As summer settles in, the vacation rental market is providing a reality check for those who hoped last season’s downturn was a blip after three pandemic-fueled boom years.

Lots of people bought second homes on the Cape during the pandemic. That means more short-term rentals this summer.

On Cape Cod, it’s the question of the summer: Why are so many vacation rentals empty?

The message from real estate professionals and local officials: Those days are over.